Y Combinator accepts 15,000 startups into its online school after software glitch causes confusion

Presitigious startup accelerator Y Combinator has apologized to entrepreneurs who were left scratching their heads when they received notices that they had been accepted into its Startup School only to learn a few hours later they had been rejected.

Several founders said on Twitter that Y Combinator had emailed them Monday accepting them into Startup School, only for the firm to follow up hours later with a rejection email. In the apologetic follow-up email, Y Combinator blamed its earlier acceptance message on a software error.

The problem? A software glitch caused all 15,000 applicants to receive acceptance emails, rather than just the typical 3,000. Initially, those accepted began sharing their elation on Twitter. When Y Combinator officials discovered the error, they began disinviting thousands of those applicants.

But the ensuing outcry led Y Combinator to change course again, because any problem in Silicon Valley is really a chance to innovate!

“We messed up and sent acceptance emails to many Startup School applicants who we didn’t previously have a place for,” the firm wrote in a blog post. “We’ve decided to use this error as an opportunity to try something new: we’re going to let in every company that applied to Startup School.”

Startup School is a free, 10-week course that educates founders about how to grow and manage their startup through video lectures from entrepreneurs such as the WhatsApp cofounder Jan Koum.

Of course, what these startups will get out of the program will be interesting to see. As Y Combinator noted in an email sent to these startups, they would “get access to all the course materials, the private community forum (advisors and YC partners will also participate), and you’ll be able to use the company update feature so that you’ll also be eligible for one of the hundred $10k equity-free grants.”

Not all 15,000 participating companies will receive all Startup School perks.

Only the smaller, originally accepted batch of companies will have access to Y Combinator’s network of advisers such as its president, Sam Altman.

According to the Y Combinator partner Jared Friedman, that will be about 3,700 startups. It also means all 15,000 participants will be competing for the $10,000 grant that is given to 100 startups that complete the course.

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