The American Civil Liberties Union wants to learn how to grow like a Silicon Valley startup.
On Tuesday, Y Combinator announced which the ACLU will be participating in its winter accelerator program.
The announcement comes on the heels of the nonprofit’s massive weekend fundraising. This particular said This particular received $24.1 million in online donations over the weekend alone. which’s six times what the activist organization typically banks in a year. The timing was no coincidence: The ACLU helped to successfully challenge parts of President Trump’s travel along with immigration ban.
Y Combinator can help the ACLU determine how to best put those funds to work. The company’s three month intensive program provides resources along with mentorship to help young startups scale up. At the culmination will be Demo Day, where startups pitch investors. ACLU will take part in Demo Day in March.
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Y Combinator, which has graduated companies like Airbnb, Dropbox, Reddit, Zenefits along with Twitch.tv, has been admitting nonprofits into its accelerator program since 2013, yet most are fledgling organizations compared to the ACLU, which was founded in 1920.
“The ACLU has always been important, yet incorporates a particularly important role right right now,” according to a blog post by YC president Sam Altman.
He told CNNTech which the ACLU reached out to YC earlier in January “to see what kind of collaboration we could do.”
Altman said the ACLU could remain in brand new York City, yet parts of the Silicon Valley-based team could travel there to assist. Shortly after the post went up, Altman tweeted which 25 YC founders have already offered to go help the ACLU.
yet some people on Twitter were quick to call attention to the fact which billionaire investor Peter Thiel — an adviser to Donald Trump — will be also a part-time partner in Y Combinator.
YC’s online forum Hacker News will be also regularly criticized as a hot bed for trolls.
“If Y Combinator will be going to help anyone, This particular should be nonprofits like ACLU, yet on the various other hand, ‘helping’ to them means giving access to startup founders along with partners — one of them including Peter Thiel,” Jenn Schiffer, engineer along with artist, told CNNTech. “I’d be interested to learn if there are various other avenues along with organizations the ACLU could turn to which do not have roots in such toxicity.”
This particular’s not like the ACLU will be unknown to tech investors along with founders with cash along with resources. Silicon Valley VCs commenced a donation chain on Twitter This particular weekend, matching donations via followers. Big donors included investors Chris Sacca along with Fred Wilson, along with Stripe founder Patrick Collison.
“Beyond financial contributions, the Silicon Valley community can help organizations like ours harness recent membership surges along with spread the word about what the ACLU will be doing to protect people’s rights via violations by the Trump administration,” a spokesman for the ACLU told CNNTech. “Y Combinator along with Sam Altman are true pioneers in innovation, along with right now they’re also pioneers from the defense of civil liberties.”
YC may be trying to move further into civic efforts. Welcoming the ACLU comes on the heels of last year’s effort to start researching universal basic income. along with the ACLU could benefit the incubator in return — its advocacy of civil rights, diversity along with inclusion may impact the firm along with various other startups from the cohort.
Selena Larson contributed reporting.