Startup School: Advisor Edition

by Adora Cheung2/28/2019

On May 4, 2019, we’re hosting a free 1-day workshop for people whose full-time job is to inspire, teach, and advise founders or would-be founders. We want to help anyone who runs a formal program for founders. This includes professors of entrepreneurship to directors of university accelerators to heads of co-working spaces.

To attend, apply by March 31st here.

Our mission at Startup School is to bring the cost of access to knowledge, community, and tools to start a startup down to $0 for all founders, regardless of who or where they are. In the future, we hope founders will get everything they need to start a startup just by logging in to a Startup School account.

We’ve made progress towards this in the past couple of years through educational content, events, workshops, and our annual 10-week MOOC. Last year, we expanded Startup School considerably—well, accidentally. But it ended up being an incredibly fortuitous accident. Over 10,000 companies started the MOOC and 5,600 graduated 1. Of those who graduated 100 were given $10k equity-free grants, and another 65 companies were accepted into the YC Winter 2019 batch, which makes up almost 30% of the startups presenting at our upcoming Demo Day! 2

This year’s MOOC will start in late July and it will also be an open admission–everyone who applies will be accepted. We expect to have at least two tracks: those who are looking for co-founders and those who have a team and idea ready to go. You can go to to sign up to get notified when applications open in May.

That said, we want to do a lot more this year. Specifically, we want to figure out how to expand high quality mentorship to as many people as possible.

Last year, we were fortunate to have 150 YC alum step up and advise around 20 teams each. We’re extremely grateful for their efforts. Now, we need to experiment with new ideas to accommodate our scale. That’s why we’re hosting this 1-day workshop for startup advisors. We see anyone who helps founders as a fellow ally and want to share some of what we’ve learned advising over 2,000 YC startups with them.

The purpose is threefold:

First, some programs have been using Startup School content to help them teach founders: whether it’s just replaying the lectures to a class or repackaging it in some way and integrating it into their own classes. We love this and want to help others do this well and maybe even build software for them – a MOOC-in-a-box, if you will.

Second, we’ve learned accountability and support in the form of weekly updates and group office hours is key for new startup founders. In the past we’ve trained people on how to facilitate these, and now we want to formalize that training.

Third, advisors who attend the workshop will be given access to software to interact with YC and help their startups apply to Y Combinator. It will both provide a direct line to recommending startups for YC and allow advisors to get help from one another.

To attend, apply by March 31st here.

We’ll consider recording/streaming version based on overflow/demand.

If you have any questions, you can email us at


1. This is up from the previous year, where we had 3,000 companies participate with 1,500 graduated.

2. Startup School helped confirm that there are many more good companies to fund out there. And as long as there are good companies to fund, YC will continue funding them.


  • Adora Cheung

    Adora was a Group Partner at YC and cofounder and CEO of Homejoy, which was funded by Y Combinator in 2010. Before that, she ran product at Slide.