Gmail Creator Paul Buchheit Leaves Facebook For Y Combinator

Paul Buchheit

Photo: O’Reilly Conferences via Flickr

Y Combinator, the increasingly famous Silicon Valley incubator, announced two new general partners today — Gmail creator and FriendFeed co-founder Paul Buchheit as well as Harj Taggar, who was already working at YC as a startup advisor.Buchheit (who has been making angel investments on his own) joined Facebook in August 2009 when the social network acquired FriendFeed. The YC blog post announcing the new partners implies but doesn’t explicitly say that Buchheit is joining the incubator full-time. He confirmed via email that he’s leaving Facebook. Today is his last day.

The news may seem like a blow for Facebook, since Buchheit was a nice coup in the talent war between Facebook and Google. Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has said that the company’s acquisitions are all about hiring talent, not acquiring technology. Still, Facebook hasn’t done too badly in the deal, since FriendFeed co-founder Bret Taylor is now Facebook’s chief technology officer (and he’s been much more public his his role at Facebook than Buchheit has).

It will also be interesting to see whether this changes the dynamic at Y Combinator. Although the incubator has a number of partners, Paul Graham seems to set the incubator’s agenda and has been its main spokesman. With the addition of Buchheit, YC now has a second partner who’s pretty famous and respected in the tech world.

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