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Y Combinator Releases Its Curriculum as a Stanford Class -- And Online

Lecturers include Peter Thiel, Marc Andreessen, Ron Conway and Ben Silbermann.

Vjeran Pavic

Especially in boom times, Stanford has a reputation for being a channel for ambitious young techies to plug themselves into Silicon Valley, sometimes in lieu of academics.

Now it’s coming true, literally. This fall, Stanford will offer a course in “How to Start a Startup,” taught by incumbent startup school headmaster Sam Altman, the president of Y Combinator. It’s officially “CS183B” and worth credit for Stanford students.

Ironically, Altman himself is a Stanford dropout, having founded a mobile location startup his freshman year.

The 1,000-minute course will also be made available online and will include appearances by well-known investors and entrepreneurs. Peter Thiel will give a lecture on monopoly theory, and Marc Andreessen and Ron Conway along with Ben Silbermann of Pinterest will talk about how to raise money. These are based on talks that the same speakers have made at Y Combinator class dinners over the years in Mountain View, Calif. They’ll be posted on Altman’s personal website as well as on iTunes and YouTube, rather than in one of the existing “MOOC” online education platforms.

But the course isn’t a full substitute for Y Combinator’s three-month program, to which people apply as companies rather than students. “My sense is around 30 percent of what you need to know for a startup can be taught like this, and the other 70 percent requires one-to-one customized advice in person,” Altman said today.

This article originally appeared on

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