Brief: Y Combinator Ignites More Innovation through New Non-Profit, YC Research Funding, to “Benefit of the World”


“Our mission at YC is to enable as much innovation as we can.  Mostly this means funding startups.  But startups aren’t ideal for some kinds of innovation—for example, work that requires a very long time horizon, seeks to answer very open-ended questions, or develops technology that shouldn’t be owned by any one company. We think research institutions can be better than they are today.  So we’re starting a new research lab, which we’re calling YC Research, to work on some of these areas,” blogged YC Combinator’s Sam Altman.

YCR will start with one group that will be announced in the near future and will grow to include more groups, if all goes according to plan. The new non-profit YCR will encourage openness, enabling researchers to collaborate freely with people in other institutions.  Why, or rather Y, research?
y combinator research“We’re not doing this with the goal of helping YC’s startups succeed or adding to our bottom line.  At the risk of sounding cliché, this is for the benefit of the world.  As we’ve seen throughout history, new technological breakthroughs help all of us.  Fundamental research is critical to driving the world forward, and funding for it keeps getting cut,” blogged Altman.

Personally donating $10 million, Altman seeks to raise more money for specific groups.  In addition to salary, researchers at YCR will also receive Y Combinator equity as part of their compensation.

Who are possible candidates?

y combinator“YCR researchers will be full-time YC employees (instead of us making grants to other organizations).  We’ll especially welcome outsiders working on slightly heretical ideas (just like we do for the startups we fund) and we’ll try to keep things small—we believe small groups can do far more than most people think.  Also, smallness usually means less politics, which has plagued science in recent decades,” noted Altman in his blog. “The researchers will have full access to YC and the YC network.  YC has a very high problem flux at this point—we fund hundreds of companies per year.  Compensation and power for the researchers will not be driven by publishing lots of low-impact papers or speaking at lots of conferences—that whole system seems broken.  Instead, we will focus on the quality of the output.”

For more details regarding YC Research, please click here.

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