A Conversation With Y Combinator’s President Sam Altman

Although it was just over a year ago, it seems like ages since Paul Graham handed over Y Combinator’s iron throne to Sam Altman, Loopt founder and member of Y Combinator’s very first batch.

Despite receiving high praise from Graham (including a comparison to Steve Jobs), not everyone had heard of Altman, including Forbes who referred to him as a “virtually unknown millennial.” But, if people thought that Altman would be doing more of the same at Y Combinator, they were in for a surprise.

Since taking over YC, Altman has not only increased the number of startups in each batch, but he has also ventured into hardware and biotech, started a growth fund (according to SEC filings) and, last month, YC announced a new fellowship program for companies at the concept or prototype phase. I had a chance to catch up with Sam last week and ask him a few questions about his vision for Y Combinator. What follows is our unedited conversation.