If Y Combinator is the next PayPal Mafia, then Paul Graham is Silicon Valleys godfather.
Graham is the cofounder of Y Combinator, the investment firm that plugs seed money 18,000 on average into early stage startups in exchange for mentorship and access to its ever-growing network of alumni.Its the latter benefit thats truly made Y Combinator a Valley powerhouse–YCs vast network of influential entrepreneurs that includes breakout Valley stars such as the founders of Dropbox and Airbnb.We attempted to capture this network on our list of the Most Innovative Companies in Business with this fantastic infographic. Early on, Graham envisioned this network as a “replacement for the traditional corporation.”
“You know what’s great about the YC network?
It gives the benefit of being part of a large company without being part of a big company,” Graham says. “The problem with doing a startup–even though it’s better in almost every other respect–is that you don’t have the resources of a big company to draw on. It’s very lonely; you have no one to give you advice or help you out. In a big company, you might be horribly constrained, but there are like 1,000 other people you can go to to deal with any number of problems. Now [with YC] you have 1,000 people you can go to to deal with problems, and you don’t have all the restrictions of a big company.”