One surprising hack to get into YC!

by Sam Altman5/11/2015

People often ask us what they can do to improve their
chances of getting into YC.  The truth is
there isn’t much other than “have a good idea, a market that may become huge,
and a great team”.

However, there is one thing that helps, and so we’re making
it official.

If you’ve worked at a YC company, and get a good
recommendation from the founder of that company, we’ll give your YC application
extra consideration.  References are very
helpful in any decision about who to work with—there’s so much value in
understanding how someone performs and improves over years on a job. 

You certainly don’t need to do this, of course.  Most of the founders we fund are totally
unknown to any YC partner and have never worked at a YC company.  The fact that we are willing to look at people
totally unknown to us is key to why we do well, and not something we’ll ever
stop doing.

(If you’re an engineer interested in working at a YC startup,
go here:


  • Sam Altman

    Sam Altman is the CEO of OpenAI. He was the president of YC from 2014-2019. He studied computer science at Stanford, and while there, worked in the AI lab.