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Entrepreneurship Goes Massive: Y Combinator Attempts To Scale Its Startup Mentorship Program

Startup School MOOC will include guest lectures from founders of WhatsApp, Reddit, and Quora, as well as other successful entrepreneurs.

The MOOC hype was at its peak in 2013. The New York Times had christened 2012 as the year of the MOOC.

Class Central was still a side project and I was working on it in my evenings and on weekends. But I could see that this MOOC thing was here to stay. Universities beyond those in the US — and even some governments — were getting involved. I could see the opportunity and wanted to work on it full time.

For that reason I turned to startup incubators or accelerators — organizations that provide seed funding and mentorship to early-stage startups. I applied to a few of these programs and got into one called Imagine K12, a prestigious accelerator focusing on education technology startups. The money they provided me helped me quit my job to work on Class Central full time.

Y Combinator

Started in March 2005, Y Combinator (YC) popularized the concept of the seed stage accelerator and incubator. Since then almost 1,500 startups have gone through the YC program. YC accepts a batch of startups twice a year, and people from all over the world move to Silicon Valley for three months.

During those three months, YC hosts a dinner each week, for which they invite a guest speaker. The speakers generally include startup founders, venture capitalists, journalists, and executives from well-known technology companies. They also hold weekly office hours, in which startup founders meet one-on-one or groups with YC partners to get mentorship/advice.

The Imagine K12 program that I went through was similar to YC.

Startup School MOOC

Startup School is a free ten week MOOC from YC that attempts to scale their program to thousands of startups for free. The lectures will be recorded from a course that Sam Altman, president of the YC group, teaches at Stanford. The MOOC will include guest lectures from the founders of WhatsApp, Reddit, Stripe, and Quora, as well as other successful entrepreneurs. Videos from a previous iteration of this Stanford course are available online.

The  MOOC will also include a “Startup Founder” track where students will have weekly online advice sessions, in which they get feedback on their startup. There is an application process and the startups that get selected will have weekly group office hours.

Registration to Startup MOOC closes on March 28 2017, while the course starts on April 5th, 2017. You can register at startupschool.org. The videos will be available to everyone, no registration required.

Dhawal Shah Profile Image

Dhawal Shah

Dhawal is the CEO of Class Central, the most popular search engine and review site for online courses and MOOCs. He has completed over a dozen MOOCs and has written over 200 articles about the MOOC space, including contributions to TechCrunch, EdSurge, Quartz, and VentureBeat.

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