Tan will be taking over the role from Geoff Ralston, who has been with YC since 2011. Ralston did not say what’s next for him, only writing: “I am leaving YC, but I’m not actually the retiring type and am looking forward to some to-be-discovered adventures.” Tan, however, will continue to serve as founder and partner at Initialized — a $3.2 billion fund — “with no changes to his current role” until the transition takes place next year. After that, he will become a strategic advisor to the firm — Similar to what Sam Altman did when he stepped away from the role.
Michael Seibel was chief executive of Y Combinator’s accelerator up until 2020, when the accelerator evolved from a more traditional partnership to no longer having multiple CEOs. Then, Seibel became managing director of early-stage and a group partner at Y Combinator. YC says that no one else’s role at the accelerator has changed with today’s executive shakeup.
Tan wears many hats. Beyond co-founding Initialized, which raised a $700 million fund (its sixth) last year and has more than $1 billion in known assets under management, Tan was also co-founder of YC-backed blog platform Posterous, which was acquired by Twitter in 2012. He was also the tenth employee at Palantir, where he was a founding member of the financial engineering team of the company’s product, and designed its logo.
Thus the entrepreneur is no stranger to early-stage investing — nor the famed accelerator to which he will soon run. Tan was a YC founder in the summer of 2008 and served as a partner there from December 2010 to November 2015. During his time as a partner, he advised and funded 700 companies and more than a thousand founders, YC says.
In fact, Y Combinator’s Ralston titled his blog announcing the change: “Welcome Home, Garry Tan.”
Ralston continued. “My goal has been to cement YC as an institution that will endure for decades – not only through organizational changes but by leading a team that has scaled the community we bring together, the products and capital we provide to startups, and the software we build. Garry, the visionary hacker, designer, and builder who has described how YC is ‘engraved on his heart’ believes in this future and is precisely the right person to take over as YC’s chief executive.”
YC itself says it was founded in 2005 as “an antidote to the classic venture capital firm.”
In anticipation of the change, Initialized said it has appointed Jen Wolf and Brett Gibson to managing partners. Wolf, who was previously president and partner, will continue to invest and lead all of Initialized’s operations. Gibson, who previously served as general partner (focused on crypto, web2, SaaS and devops), will lead the firm’s early-stage investment strategy.
“Since inception, my goal has always been for Initialized to outlive its founders. Over the past five years in particular, we have evolved our organization with the addition of best-in-class leadership, investing talent, and infrastructure. All the while, we have remained true to our founding principles and delivered strong metrics,” Tan wrote in a blog. Initialized Capital’s other co-founder, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, left the firm in 2020 to start his own early-stage operation, 776. Months after the departure, Tan said that Ohan isn’t the firm altogether but is instead leaving stepping into a board partner role at Initialized. After the publication of this article, Initialized said that Ohanian is no longer a board partner at the firm.
“Initialized and YC are very much aligned — YC made me, but I made Initialized,” Tan continued.