Garry Tan Says Goodbye to Y Combinator

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Garry Tan is leaving the accelerator and investment firm Y Combinator after a four-year stint with the outfit.

Tan had previously cofounded the easy-to-use blogging service Posterous, which was backed by Y Combinator and acquired by Twitter in 2012. (It was later shuttered.)

Tan joined Y Combinator in 2011 as a designer in residence but was quickly promoted to partner. He said in a farewell and thank you to Y Combinator this morning that he’s resigning in order to spend time in Southern France and Spain to “relax and enjoy the wonders of parenthood with our 3-month-old infant. I don’t know what is next yet, but making great software and helping others do the same will always be my life’s purpose. See you all in the new year.”

Asked on Quora what Tan did at Y Combinator, Tan said back in 2011 that he would “meet with the founding team and [talk] about whatever design / product problems they may be having,” ranging from “what should the product do” and “what are the goals of a given page or navigation” to more detailed issues like “what should the copy say, what color should the call to action be, how much padding should it have,” and “what is broken on missing in any given UI.”

No doubt Tan’s role grew along with the organization, which has expanded substantially under the leadership of Sam Altman, who was named president by Y Combinator cofounder Paul Graham in February of last year. In 2009, Y Combinator graduated 42 startups; this year, more than 200 startups will pass through its program. Meanwhile, the firm now features roughly a dozen full- and part-time partners, including former Socialcam founders Justin Kan and Michael Seibel, Gmail creator Paul Bucheit, and imeem cofounder Dalton Caldwell.

Last month, Y Combinator also announced it had closed a $700 million growth fund that’s being led by former Twitter COO Ali Rowghani.

Here’s the entirety of Tan’s note:

Dear friends-

I wanted to let you know I am stepping away from YC. I’ve been involved at YC since early 2011 and in that time it has been my privilege to work with over 600 startups and over a thousand founders. It would be impossible for me to have predicted the success the team has achieved since then. After nearly five years, I’m ready to take a break and plan for my next adventure.

It’s been a great time and I wanted to thank everyone for being awesome. PG, Jessica, Trevor, and RTM have built an enduring organization and I can’t wait to see where my friends and partners take it. The YC partnership has taken the founding vision and put it on track for tremendous success and impact. Between the incubator, YC Research and YC Fellowship, the future is bright indeed. YC is engraved in my heart. To my fellow alums: I will always be there for you.

My wife and I are headed to Southern France and Spain to relax and enjoy the wonders of parenthood with our 3 month old infant. I don’t know what is next yet, but making great software and helping others do the same will always be my life’s purpose. See you all in the new year.

With much love,
-Garry