This fall, Y Combinator, a prominent startup incubator in Silicon Valley, is kicking off a road show. Partners at the firm and Y Combinator alumni are visiting six different universities in cities across North America starting this week, to scout for promising startups and impart advice to budding engineers and entrepreneurs. According to a blog post, Y Combinator will hold office hours for one-on-one meetings, as well.
Y Combinator’s team will make its first stop at the University of Waterloo in Canada, which boasts top tech talent thanks to a funding and mentoring legacy left by BlackBerry, whose headquarters are located nearby. The firm will then continue on to the University of Michigan, Brown University, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Columbia University; Y Combinator is also setting up an event in Boston for students who attend schools in the region. The Boston visit will be a homecoming of sorts for Y Combinator, as well: It formed in nearby Cambridge, home of MIT, before following the sweet smell of venture capital out west to the Bay Area.
Earlier this year, Fast Company talked to Y Combinator president Sam Altman about his firm’s plans to establish a footprint beyond Silicon Valley:
[Altman is] talking passionately about Y Combinator’s role in pushing VCs to act differently. With top investors increasingly taking cues from the mix of companies at YC’s Demo Day, “figuring out what YC should do,” as Altman puts it, has cascading impact. “If we start funding more science companies, then other people will start funding science companies,” Altman reasons. “To finish my rant on VCs,” he continues, “these partners have $5 million salaries. They don’t want to risk losing that. If they invest in another iPhone app and it doesn’t work, they’ll keep their salaries going. But if they lose money on an ambitious technology company, that’s seen as pretty dumb.”