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

paul graham jessica livingston y combinator
Paul Graham and Jessica Livingston, two of Y Combinator’s founding partners.

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.

“Lol just got kicked out of @ycombinator,” Dark CEO Paul Biggar tweeted.

Biggar said he was expelled for a March tweet in which he claimed two founders 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.

Just hours later, Prolific CEO Katia Damer replied to Biggar’s tweet, claiming Y Combinator had kicked her out for speaking about misogyny within the accelerator.

“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.

“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.”

“YC has systemically disadvantaged female founders for years,” Damer said, claiming Y Combinator’s success stories included “almost exclusively white male founders.”

Y Combinator did not respond to a request for comment on this story.

Venture capital has long had a diversity problem, with firms hiring few investors or employees of color and funneling an overwhelming majority of their investments toward white male founders. Y Combinator has been vocal at times over the years about the need to increase diversity in its ranks, but it has struggled to make significant progress.

In September, Y Combinator touted that its Black-, Latinx-, and female-founded portfolio companies had a combined post-money valuation of $23.6 billion – less than 8% of the more than $300 billion combined valuation of its top companies alone.