ACQ2 by Acquired

We're joined by Posterous co-founder, former YC partner and current Managing Partner of Initialized Capital Garry Tan to go deep on how YC changed the game for company creation and seed investing, how they thought about building the "cult" of startups, and what lies ahead as the early-stage world continues to globalize and evolve more quickly than ever.


Topics Covered (among others):
  1. How the recruiting challenge for early-stage startups led to outside-the-box thinking 
    • Peter Thiel’s “crazy” (but not actually crazy) offer to Garry to join Palantir
    • Leveraging “cult” startup culture into a magnet for specific types of people
  2. Y Combinator’s path from fringe to mainstream 
    • Insight that those same cult recruiting techniques could be applied at a meta-level to recruiting company founders themselves
    • Initial strong reactions to YC, and knowing they were on to something
    • The beginning of “influencer investing” with Paul Graham’s essays + Hacker News
  3. The blooming of Seed as an asset class alongside and around YC 
    • The landmark deal with SV Angel and DST / Yuri Milner to “auto-fund” every YC company starting in 2011
    • YC scaling from ~10-12 companies per batch to 70-80 and now 200+ per batch
    • Starting Initialized Capital within YC, and then spinning it out into one of the largest independent seed funds
  4. Influencer investing and startup evangelism going mainstream 
    • The impact of The Social Network movie
    • Exporting the ~”YC message” to the entire world: you can start a startup
    • The power of direct, bi-directional access to people via the internet

What is ACQ2 by Acquired?

ACQ2 is Ben and David's conversations with expert founders and investors. Acquired the stories of great companies — and ACQ2 dives deeper into the lessons we can learn from them, often with the protagonists themselves.