by Garry Tan5/24/2023
To help you make a startup that matters, it helps to have people who have been in the idea maze — trying to get product-market fit, finding it, and holding on to it – to get you through that maze yourself. If you’ve been in there at all, you know how hard it is to even find product-market fit, let alone keep it.
I’m proud to say our newest group partner is Tom Blomfield, who has been there not once but twice, and twice emerged with a billion-dollar company.
I first met Tom in 2011 when he went through YC with GoCardless, an online payments processor for the Direct Debit system and Tom’s first billion-dollar company. I was a YC partner at the time, and office hours with Tom quickly proved that he was an extremely smart, direct, yet empathetic founder.
In 2015, Tom went on to create Monzo, one of the first app-based challenger banks in the UK and his second billion-dollar company. In 2021, he returned to YC as a visiting group partner for the most recent three batches.
When it comes to group partners, we look for the most experienced founders to mentor startups throughout the batch. While most people spend their career building up that experience in one area, Tom has domain expertise in multiple — B2B software with GoCardless, and consumer/viral marketing with Monzo. He has a unique set of skills as someone who led as both a technical co-founder (at GoCardless) and CEO (at Monzo), and the rare experience of scaling not one, but two, massively successful companies.
Today, the YC community is made up of more than 90 billion-dollar companies and that number is always growing. Tom leverages his experience to advise alumni at every stage of their startup – whether it’s just figuring out if an idea works, putting a board together, growing a team to thousands of employees, running multiple offices, or later-stage fundraising. There’s not a startup that he can’t give useful advice to, always drawn from his own experience.
The traits I saw in Tom as a founder in 2011 have proven to be extremely beneficial as a group partner. He’s direct with founders while having empathy for the difficulties of being one. He helps founders see that the smallest ideas can lead to world-changing companies, and he provides them with the optimism needed at the lowest points in the founder journey.
We now have the largest number of group partners in YC history. We’re increasingly finding that our best alumni are coming back to be group partners to shepherd in the next generation. Tom is no exception. His experience has already proven invaluable to the YC community, and we’re so thrilled he has joined as a group partner!
Garry is the President & CEO of Y Combinator. Previously, he was the co-founder & Managing Partner of Initialized Capital. Before that, he co-founded Posterous (YC S08) which was acquired by Twitter.