Silicon Valley incubator Y Combinator is gaining global interest among entrepreneurs, says its co-founder Paul Graham. Bloomberg reports that the organization is expected to admit about 70 startups from 22 countries, including such places as Croatia, Denmark, Israel, South Korea, Switzerland and Turkey.
“The thing we noticed about this batch was that the startups are from farther afield,” Graham wrote in an e-mail. “Although we’ve had lots of foreign founders in the past, most have been from countries like Canada, England and Australia. This is the first time we’ve had groups from Romania, Bulgaria or Egypt.”
Y Combinator held an event on June 24, where executives from Airbnb and Dropbox offered tips on working within the constraints of U.S. immigration laws, Bloomberg reported. Pete Koomen, one of the speakers at the event and cofounder of Optimizely, a website optimization platform, said, “Most of the founders present had struggled with complicated and seemingly arbitrary rules around visas and hiring. In an industry where more than half of new companies are founded by immigrants, this is insane.”
Startups from across the world have used Y Combinator in the past, including ones from Brazil, China, Germany and Finland. The upcoming batch has entrepreneurs from South Africa, Sudan and Oman. Y Combinator ambassador and Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian credited the large-scale successes of the incubator’s alums, including such companies as Airbnb and Dropbox, for growing the application pool globally. He also noted that Kathrina Manalac, Y Combinator’s new director of outreach who joined from Samsung Electronics, was a catalyst for bringing in a more diverse group of entrepreneurs.
“I don’t think it’s important to foster talent outside the U.S., particularly,” Graham says. “I think it’s important to foster talent. It just happened that a lot of the most promising applicants were from other countries.”