Y Combinator Adds 2 Female Partners to Help Fund More Startups

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With four new partners total, YC will bring more startups into its accelerator.

By Betsy Mikel (Editor, Women 2.0)

Looking for funding for your biotech startup? Y Combinator just might be ready to bring you under their wing.

Y Combinator is expanding its partner roster with two goals in mind: Bring more varied expertise to the table, and bring on more partners so they can fund and accelerate even more startups. Sam Altman — who has been a part-time partner since 2011 and is taking over as president this summer — recently announced the addition of four new partners, including YC’s current outreach director Kat Manalac and Science Exchange founder and CEO of Elizabeth Iorns.

Kat Manalac will take on a full-time role as partner of the organization. In addition to her partner responsibilities, she will still continue her outreach to prospective founders. Science Exchange founder and CEO of Elizabeth Iorns is also joining Y Combinator as part-time partner.

"I'm looking forward to finding new ways to share the stories of our alumni," said Manalac. "In the last batch alone we had such a fantastic mix of founders. We had men and women from 24 different countries, and the oldest and youngest founders YC has funded. Their companies ran the gamut from b2b to e-commerce, non-profit to hardware."

According to the blog announcement, Iorns’ Ph.D. in cancer biology and expertise in life sciences will come in handy as Y Combinator has started to receive applications from more biotechnology companies applying that they’re currently unqualified to judge.

“She’s been an informal advisor to a number of Y Combinator companies, and they all praise her startup expertise,” said Sam Altman.

"I'm excited about helping to discover, mentor and grow companies that may be slightly different than the stereotypical YC company," Iorns said. "Science Exchange is definitely an example of a company that is really different from the majority of companies that YC funds so I really want to use that experience to help other companies in similar situations."

The other new part-time partners include Stripe CEO Patrick Collison and AeroFS CEO Yuri Sagalov.

Y Combinator has grown more competitive with each round, so expanding their number of partners will help the accelerator offer more opportunities, funding and guidance to more startups. As YC prepared to send out their summer 2014 interview decisions, Altman wrote on his personal blog that one of the worst parts of his job was rejecting companies.

“Although we had nearly 20% more applications than a year ago, it was really striking how much higher the average quality of applications was for this batch compared to any previous batch,” Altman said. “Most of the partners independently mentioned this to me.”

Photo credit: Y Combinator via Paul Miller on Flickr.

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About the author: Betsy Mikel is the managing editor of Women 2.0 and runs the content consultancy Aveck. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and a lifelong obsession with French language and culture. When she's not biking all over every city she visits to find its best taqueria, you can find Betsy on Twitter at @betsym.