How a software glitch at Y Combinator, led to 15,000 founders being accepted

Y combinator

Tech founders of 15,000 start-ups were ecstatic on being accepted to the Startup School, a free online course for entrepreneurs by the prestigious Y Combinator. However, it was short-lived and the admissions we rescinded, with the accelerator attributing the colossal mistake to a software glitch .

The story doesn’t end here. Y Combinator then took a U-turn and accepted all 15,000 applicants for a course which normally only hosts around 3,000.

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Several founders took to Twitter to share how events unfolded. They said the Y Combinator sent out emails on Monday accepting them to the Startup School, only to follow up hours later with a rejection email. In the apologetic follow-up email, Y Combinator blamed its earlier acceptance message on “an error… in the software.”

After founders described the ‘epic fail’ and the ‘roller coaster’, Y Combinator said it would accept all the companies which had applied to the Startup School.


“Our goal has always been to help the maximum number of startups, but we were concerned that our infrastructure for Startup School would not support all the companies that applied, which was more than 15,000 startups.

“After today’s mistake, though, it seems like the only right thing to do is to let everyone in. We’ve decided to use our error as a forcing function to find a way to make Startup School work for all founders who applied.”

Startup School, a free, 10-week course that educates founders about how to grow and manage their startup, is not connected with the core accelerator programme. Last year, 13,000 applied to the Startup School but only 2,800 companies were accepted.

This year, not all 15,000 participating companies will receive all Startup School perks. Only the smaller, originally accepted batch of companies will have access to Y Combinator’s network of advisors, such as its president Sam Altman.

However, all 15,000 participants will be competing for the $10,000 grant that is given to 100 startups that complete the course.

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