Y Combinator Puts Out Call for 'Government 2.0' Companies

The incubator has worked with several gov tech companies in the past, but this is the first time it's formally and explicitly called for startups in the space. It doesn't, however, want to "replace government."

Y Combinator, the high-profile Silicon Valley startup incubator, is officially getting into gov tech.

The incubator has, in fact, already taken on several gov tech companies in the past. But they were essentially brought in on a case-by-case basis. Now, Y Combinator is putting out a formal request for startups that tackle social problems in the tradition of government. It’s calling the subject area “Government 2.0.”

That doesn’t necessarily mean companies that sell to government or serve government. In a blog post announcing the request, Y Combinator CEO Michael Seibel and Partner Adora Cheung highlighted startups that work to help low-income people pay utility bills, expand housing access and teach people how to code.

They also pointed to companies that sell directly to government like Remix and Promise.

In the past, Y Combinator has also worked with the gov tech companies Token Transit, Tolemi, Statecraft, Elucd and Biobot Analytics.

“To be clear, we do not seek to replace the government and its policymakers but seek to fund startups that create solutions that provide Americans the foundations for economic growth,” the blog post reads.

The incubator works by taking on startups for three months and working with their leaders to develop the companies. It invests a standard $150,000 in each company in return for 7 percent equity. Its investments in the past have included Dropbox, Airbnb and Docker.

“If you are creating a startup with the goal of making America a better place, we want to talk to you,” the blog post reads.

Ben Miller is the associate editor of data and business for Government Technology. His reporting experience includes breaking news, business, community features and technical subjects. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in journalism from the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno, and lives in Sacramento, Calif.
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