Y Combinator officially shifts its next accelerator class to fully remote format

After being forced to quickly shift plans and stage a remote demo day last month following the outbreak of COVID-19 stateside, Y Combinator announced today that they will officially be fully moving their next batch to a remote format.

In a post today on Y Combinator’s site, YC CEO Michael Seibel announced the move. “We have decided to run the S20 batch remotely, because amid the COVID-19 crises, the safety of founders and YC staff is our top priority.”

The Summer 2020 group of founders will operate fully online with interviews, office hours, evening talks and meetups taking place over video conferencing. This could assumedly extend to the group’s demo day as well, though that was not explicitly stated. Y Combinator had given startups in the most recent class the option to defer an onstage launch until a later Demo Day; it seems that those YC startups may not get that option for 2020.

As YC shifts online, questions are sure to only grow on whether founders are still getting a good deal from the accelerator in the midst of a crisis.

Founders joining the program give up a 7% slice of their company in exchange for $150K and, more importantly, access to YC’s network and group of advisors.

Y Combinator has already been scaling rapidly with larger class sizes, and this move will force the company to add a radical format change to the mix. Accelerator batches have ballooned in size in recent years, tapping out at 240 startups in this most recent class.

To account for these larger groups, YC has had to experiment with major format changes in how startups are grouped internally and how they present to investors. Losing their Demo Day last session meant founders lost easy access to in-person introductions with the large group of VCs that typically flock to the event.

Last week, TechCrunch reported that YC was changing the terms of its pro rata investment program and would be investing in startups on a case-by-case basis, shifting their years-old policy of investing in every company’s seed and Series A rounds.