Y Combinator is officially adding three new team members to its roster this morning. Gustaf Alstromer, formerly product leader of Airbnb’s growth team, is joining YC as a partner. Meanwhile Pebble founder Eric Migicovsky is taking a visiting partner role and Jocelyn Robancho is coming on board to assist with organizing YC’s startup batches.
Though Alstromer and Migicovsky each have their own areas of domain expertise, both told me that their new roles will demand a generalist approach. Each will prioritize assisting with diligence and mentorship while maintaining the flexibility to take on projects of interest.
“While I’m interested in helping during the three month YC program, I also want to talk to YC hardware startups at other stages,” Migicovsky told me in an interview. “What could the YC network do to support these companies?”
Even as a generalist, having an extra hardware expert on staff should yield additional benefits for YC-backed hardware companies. Luke Iseman previously held a “Director of Hardware” role at Y Combinator throughout 2015 and 2016. He left in October of last year to pursue his latest startup, Boxouse — that startup ended up a part of the subsequent YC batch.
As a visiting partner, Migicovsky has not committed to staying at YC past the completion of its next batch, although there is precedent for visiting partners transitioning into longer-term partner positions. Alstromer was a visiting partner during the last batch and decided to join full-time this summer.
Alstromer is interested both in scaling startups and scaling YC. He is thinking about creative ways to reach larger audiences — something YC has been pouring a lot of resources into with its Startup School MOOC.
Both Alstromer and Migicovsky have experience investing in startups as angels but neither has worked in a structured investing and mentorship role before. But having both been through Y Combinator as founders, they will be extra relatable to new founders and bring the lessons of their successes and failures full circle.