It helps to have more than just a great idea to get into Silicon Valley-based startup incubator Y Combinator these days. It’s also about who you know.
A new blog post from Y Combinator’s president Sam Altman made it official that having a recommendation from an alum could give your application a leg up:
“If you’ve worked at a YC company, and get a good recommendation from the founder of that company, we’ll give your YC application extra consideration,” Altman wrote. “References are very helpful in any decision about who to work with — there’s so much value in understanding how someone performs and improves over years on a job.”
Altman says that while a recommendation from a YC company is helpful, it’s important to remember it’s hardly a requirement.
“You certainly don’t need to do this, of course,” Altman wrote. “Most of the founders we fund are totally unknown to any YC partner and have never worked at a YC company. The fact that we are willing to look at people totally unknown to us is key to why we do well, and not something we’ll ever stop doing.”
Of course, that means you need to find out which companies are YC-alums and try to get in the door. Altman recommended applying through TripleByte, which connects job seekers only with Y Combinator companies.