Michael Seibel [Day 25] #BlackinTech


Seibel has the kind of entrepreneurial chops that command respect in Silicon Valley.

He was an early executive with Justin.tv, the video streaming service which later became Twitch Interactive and sold to Amazon.com for $970 million. He was also CEO of Socialcam, a social video sharing app that spun out of Justin.tv and sold to Autodesk for $60 million when it was just 18 months old and had four employees.

Like Justin.tv., Socialcam was a graduate of Y Combinator, the most famous and influential incubator in Silicon Valley where Seibel is now a partner.
Part of his job is reaching out to blacks and Latinos who are underrepresented in Silicon Valley and in Y Combinator.

Seibel started YC Open Office Hours to give people of all backgrounds direct access to Y Combinator partners. In just one week, more than 600 companies applied, 60 of them got in person or Skype meetings with partners. Y Combinator is now planning to expand the program.

He’s also working on a project called YC Startup College, which offers tech start-up curriculum to colleges in general and specifically to historically black universities and colleges. It is currently being piloted at Howard University and Morgan State University.

The efforts are slowly paying off: 19% of the companies in the last Y Combinator batch had either a black or a Latino founder on their founding team.

“Startups are often best at solving the personal problems of their founders. The more diverse the founders, the more types of problems can be solved — and the more people who will be positively impacted by technology,” Seibel says.

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