Before companies can become companies, they start out as ideas. YCombinator President Sam Altman said in a blog post today that the fund is now looking to help people with great concepts get to the point where they finally become real businesses.
That experiment is the YC Fellowship program, which will offer a $12,000 grant — not a traditional investment like the way YC handles its semi-annual batches — to qualified teams who apply. Altman said these fellows will have access to some YC resources, and a dedicated partner that will handle office hours. Fellows will have a much lighter-weight program, but in exchange will not have to move to the Bay Area (although Altman strongly suggests that they should).
YC Fellows are expected to work full-time on their project for eight weeks, which Altman admits is hard to do for the cash YC is giving:
We understand that $12,000 is not a lot of money, and this won’t make sense for everyone. But for some people, it may be the difference between going to work at a big company and starting the next Airbnb. Those are the people we hope to help here.
Applications are open now, with a deadline of July 27. Altman said that the program is suited for startups that have early-a prototypes, and YC will not consider companies that have already received investor money. Altman suggests that successful ideas will be encouraged to apply to YC proper, and that good teams that fail could get another chance to do it all over again.
“Someday if it works, we’d love to fund 1,000 companies per year like this,” Altman said.
➤ YC Fellowship [YCombinator Blog]