Y Combinator’s Michael Seibel on building startups, early-stage deal-making and tech’s center of gravity

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. We have a special episode ready for you today. As many of you know, it’s that time of year when hundreds of nascent startups make their big 2-minute pitch to the top venture capitalists of “Silicon Valley” (San Francisco) at Y Combinator’s Demo Day. We (Kate and Alex) thought we’d bring in a YC expert, YC chief executive officer Michael Seibel, to chat about the batch, changes in the last year, rising deal prices, SAFEs vs. convertible notes and the future of technology in SF. “This place is where tech is happening and they want to be here,” Seibel told us. “Like I’m a struggling actor in Iowa and I want to get to Hollywood. This is kind of the promised land for a lot of people around the world.” We had a lot of questions for Michael. For one, deal sizes and valuations at the seed stage are growing like crazy and YC is a big cause of that. To our surprise, Michael isn’t actually a big fan of these huge rounds. “We don’t think this is necessarily a positive phenomenon; on the other hand, we like that our founders get less dilution,” he said. If you’re interested in taking a look at each of the companies that made their pitch yesterday, at Day One of Y Combinator’s Demo Day, you can take a look at TechCrunch’s full list. Check back end of day Tuesday for a full list of companies that pitched on Day Two. As a final note, Equity is still not an interview show. This was a fun exception!
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