6 Female YC Founders in Forbes' 30 Under 30 List

Congratulations to YC’s female founders recognized by Forbes Magazine in its new 30 Under 30 list

Katy Ashe - Noora Health

Alexandra Cavoulacos - The Muse

Katelyn Gleason - Eligible API

Nancy Hua - Apptimize

Joanna Huey - Casetext

Olga Vidisheva - Shoptiques

Cindy Wu - Experiment.com

If you are interested in learning more about their startup experiences, read their stories here: http://www.femalefounderstories.com/

Inspired to start a startup or go work for one? Apply to Y Combinator’s Female Founders Conference on February 21 in San Francisco. Hurry, the deadline to apply is Monday, January 12.

Why I Love Startup School

I realized on the way to Startup School that this was the tenth one I've emceed. We've done one every year since 2005 (plus two this year in NYC and London).

It struck me throughout the day how happy I was to be participating in this magical event that, despite so many changes in Silicon Valley and the world of startups in the past decade, remains practically unchanged. The authenticity that Startup School has feels so rare to me these days. I want to bottle it up and save it.

Y Combinator held the first Startup School just after the very first Summer Founders Program (as it was called then) in the fall of 2005. It was modeled on the Spam Conference Paul had organized at MIT: cheap, no-frills, and amazing content and people. And, of course, little to no introductory remarks.

We partnered with the Harvard Computer Society and on a rainy, muddy Saturday, a great group of speakers (including Steve Wozniak!) came together with hundreds of bright-eyed attendees at Harvard University. The event was free to attend. We simply wanted to educate people because we knew more might view it as a career option if they knew more about startups.

If you were there, you probably remember how electric the vibe was within that windowless auditorium. Chris Sacca’s talk seemed to spark a mini-startup revolution that very day. (Too bad this was before the days of video cameras in phones and streaming video. We don’t have much to remember it by.) Kevin Hale of YC was at the first Startup School and he told us it’s what inspired him to start Wufoo and apply to YC’s second batch.

Over the years Startup School’s audiences have grown, and we’ve gotten bigger and bigger venues to hold all the people who want to come. Talks are live streamed so anyone can view them. We have an amazing team to handle all the event logistics and planning. (A lot goes into hosting an event for 1700 people.) This year, we even had carpeting on the stage and comfortable leather chairs for the fireside chats instead of flimsy Ikea folding ones. And more women are attending-- hooray!

But not much else has changed. It’s still a free event with a no-frills approach and amazing speakers and content. We don’t promote it heavily to the press, and few reporters seem to want to come to work on a Saturday anyway, so there’s not much publicity around the day (and few link-baity news articles). To me, that makes it feel even more special. Like we’re at ground zero of startups that day, and only we in that auditorium know it. It felt that way at Harvard in 2005 and still does.

What really struck me yesterday though is how Startup School brings forth Silicon Valley's fundamental goodness. The speakers and the audience were genuinely happy to be there. The speakers had all come in on a Saturday, for free, just to help future founders. They spoke with extraordinary candor, and the audience were eager to hear everything they had to say. For ten years Startup School has felt this way. I hope we never lose that.

What Twitter Followers Tell Us

Twitter recently allowed all its users to see data about their followers. I almost tumbled out of my chair when I discovered that mine were 19% female and 81% male. I expected 70% would be female.

Y Combinator's Twitter followers are 85% male and 15% female. We asked many other prominent individuals and companies in the startup world and all their ratios were similar.

I feel like this new feature is letting us measure something we could only guess at before: the gender ratio among people interested in startups.  

And what the numbers suggest is that it won't be enough just to encourage women who are already interested in startups to start them. The fundamental problem is that not enough women are interested in startups. So if we want to see more female founders, this is something we need to address. I have some ideas about how to do that, which I'll be working on in the coming year.

Father's Day contest: Win a 1 year subscription to Picwing

I LOVE Picwing's new photo printing service: you just email photos to Picwing (from your phone or computer), and you're done; they automatically get printed and sent to your friends and family on your distribution list. I use it to keep my family back east updated on my 4 month old son-- every 2 weeks they get a new package of photos in the mail!

This week Eddie & Enrique are running a Father's Day contest-- just email any photo of your dad (like mine circa 1982) to dads@picwing.com and you could win a free yearlong subscription. Details are here: http://www.picwing.com/dads_rule