Y Combinator Taps Into Its Alumni Network, Announces Ad Innovation Conference

My, how Y Combinator has grown. It wasn’t that long ago that the prestigious startup incubator had a dozen or so startups per batch. These days, class sizes are more like 60, and the alumni network is huge: in total, Y Combinator has invested in some 317 startups.

Given how many YC startups there are, it isn’t really surprising that a lot of them have some overlap, or are at least tackling similar problems. Today, YC is announcing an event that’s taking advantage of that fact: the Ad Innovation Conference.

The event, which takes place on September 14, will feature fifteen YC companies involved in building new ad-related technologies. Among the topics that will be covered:

NFC advertising; the use of Twitter and Facebook content in display ads; ad/game hybrids; embedding ads in the 3D space of videos after they’ve been shot (i.e. retroactive product placement); geolocal ads and offers; audience polling; the evolution of SEO; marketing on Facebook; monitoring competing AdSense campaigns; landing page optimization; ad-based alternatives to paywalls; and the future of QR codes.

The event is free to attend (you can request an invitation using the link on this page) — but you’ll need to be involved with an ad agency, big advertiser, or publisher to do so.

YC cofounder Paul Graham says that this is the first conference revolving around YC startups that’s been open to the public, but that it’s previously held internal conferences that have focused on issues like SEO and fundraising. It also sounds like we’ll be seeing more public-facing conferences focusing on different topics in the future.

YC is best known for its Demo Days, where it brings together top-notch investors for a whirlwind series of startup demos from its portfolio companies, and it’s also orchestrated other startup-related events including Startup School (a crash course in entrepreneurship), AngelConf (a similar crash course, but for prospective angel investors), and Work at a Startup (a rundown on what it’s like to be an employee at one of these fledgling companies).

Aside from being informative, these events have a nice side effect for the participating YC companies: they’re also great for recruiting.