Is Y Combinator the Donald Trump of incubators?
Yesterday afternoon, angel investor and podcast personality Jason Calacanis tweeted that he had been refused entry to Y Combinator’s next demo day event.
I'm told I've "fallen below [the] threshold for founder feedback" according to @ycombinator, so no DEMO DAY for me! Anyone else banned?— jason (@Jason) March 16, 2016
The reason given, apparently was that founders had complained about him attending. But, as Calacanis pointed out, a far more likely reason was that he has publicly criticised the famously thin-skinned incubator.
Regular Pando readers will recall that our very own Dan Raile was banned from the previous demo day, apparently due to Pando’s critical coverage of Stripe, and our failure to appreciate the brilliance of the criminally disruptive Zenefits.
Of course Sam Altman and his team can ban anyone they like from a private event -- including reporters and commentators who fail to be sufficiently deferential to YC and its portfolio companies. They're still guaranteed media coverage thanks to their exclusive partnership with TechCrunch, which promises coverage in return for access. That relationship has seen two former TechCrunch employees jump ship to join Y Combinator full time, as Editorial Director and Event Director.
Still, if Altman and Co are going to continue making up excuses to keep out critical voices perhaps its time to rename Y Combinator to N Combinator. Or, better yet, to Donald Trump.