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Y Combinator entrepreneurs say they were kicked out of the accelerator for criticizing its founders and slamming efforts to skip vaccine lines

Published by Business Insider on Sat, 05 Jun 2021

<p><img src="https://static5.businessinsider.com/image/5e73a73cc4854059252b9063-2000/untitled design 50.png" border="0" alt="paul graham jessica livingston y combinator" data-mce-source="Joe Corrigan/Getty Images; Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch"></p><p></p><bi-shortcode id="summary-shortcode" data-type="summary-shortcode" class="mceNonEditable" contenteditable="false">Summary List Placement</bi-shortcode><p>Two entrepreneurs claimed Friday the startup accelerator Y Combinator kicked them out of its program for speaking publicly about misogyny and members' efforts to circumvent COVID-19 vaccine eligibility requirements.</p><p>"Lol just got kicked out of @ycombinator," Dark CEO <a href="https://twitter.com/paulbiggar/status/1400904600421535744">Paul Biggar tweeted</a>.</p><p>Biggar said he was expelled for a March tweet in which he claimed <a href="https://twitter.com/paulbiggar/status/1370056072292134912">two founders</a> posted to internal Y Combinator forums saying they had skipped vaccine queues in Oakland, California, and had shared tips to help other founders also jump spots in line.</p><p>Just hours later, Prolific CEO <a href="https://twitter.com/ekadamer/status/1400956227501318146">Katia Damer replied</a> to Biggar's tweet, claiming Y Combinator had kicked her out for speaking about misogyny within the accelerator.</p><p>"OK, I'll come out publicly: 2 weeks ago YC kicked me out as well because I dared to criticise their beloved founders," Damer said.</p><p>"Jessica literally defended a misogynist," she said, referring to Y Combinator founding partner Jessica Livingston, adding: "I called it out and got expelled from their 'oh-so-great' community lmao."</p><p>"YC has systemically disadvantaged female founders for years," Damer said, claiming Y Combinator's success stories included "almost exclusively white male founders."&nbsp;</p><p>Y Combinator did not respond to a request for comment on this story.</p><p><a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/silicon-valley-has-its-own-long-standing-systemic-racial-problem-2020-6">Venture capital has long had a diversity problem</a>, with firms hiring few investors or employees of color and funneling an overwhelming majority of their investments toward white male founders. <a href="https://techcrunch.com/2017/03/20/y-combinator-diversity-2017/">Y Combinator has been vocal</a> at times over the years about the need to <a href="https://news.crunchbase.com/news/y-combinator-releases-data-on-black-latinx-and-woman-founders/">increase diversity in its ranks</a>, but it has struggled to make significant progress.</p><p>In September, Y Combinator touted that its Black-, Latinx-, and female-founded portfolio companies had a combined post-money valuation of <a href="https://news.crunchbase.com/news/y-combinator-releases-data-on-black-latinx-and-woman-founders/">$23.6 billion</a>less than 8% of the more than <a href="https://www.ycombinator.com/topcompanies/">$300 billion combined valuation</a> of its top companies alone.</p><p><a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/ycombinator-katia-damer-paul-biggar-criticized-founders-vaccine-line-skipping-2021-6#comments">Join the conversation about this story &#187;</a></p> <p>NOW WATCH: <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/sneaky-ways-costco-buy-more-tricks-2018-5">Sneaky ways Costco gets you to buy more</a></p>
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