In the past weeks we have seen evidence that the founder of TechCrunch has become enamored with the Boston based funding phenomenon Y Combinator.
The first clue was a post that heaped praise upon the YC hosted Digg/Reddit like site Hacker News, which commands a world wide audience of aspiring hacker entrepreneurs. Some have suggested (see the post’s comments) this was an attempt to damn the site with strong praise, bringing it down with an influx of the TechCrunch hordes. The following quote and the post’s last sentence delivers an ambiguous message. “Hopefully as the site continues to attract new users, the magic won’t be lost.” If you have read some of the comments on TechCrunch, you will understand why the Hacker News crowd is worried.
Secondly, there have been ten posts mentioning Y Combinator in the last two weeks.
The last sign was a recent positive book review by Arrington on Facebook of YC partner Jessica Livingston’s book, Founders at Work, that came out in the summer of 2007.
All of this recognition has me wondering what is up?
I spoke with Mike Arrington for about ten minutes when he was in Boston hosting the TechCrunch Meetup 11 on November 16, 2007. One of the questions I asked “are you planning on bringing someone on board to cover the local Boston startup scene?” His reply was along the lines of “there is nothing innovative coming out of Boston.” While I suspect the comment was somewhat tongue in cheek, there is always a little truth in sarcasm. It is well known that the TechCrunch stance is Silicon Valley centric.
Could these recent ministrations be an admission that maybe the Boston scene can contribute to web innovation? Granted, even though the local VC’s get there shot at backing Boston’s innovative YC companies, most move to the valley to get funding.
So what might this new found love for Y Combinator mean?
Don’t be surprised to see another YC clone pop up out in the Valley backed by TC and various associates. It already exists in a loose fashion. A more organized approach might be more effective. It could be a welcome addition for unknown founders to find funding when they are not plugged in to the Ron Conway or PayPal mafia deal flow. This would make sense and fit into the grand scheme of TechCrunch world domination for all things start up, set in motion alongside CrunchBase and TechCrunch 40.
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and there is some serious flattery going on. Time will tell what materializes from all this admiration.
Of course our speculation could be totally wrong. In any case, TechCrunch has pointed out that the Boston area is innovative and companies started here have an impact in SV.