Welcome W21 Visiting Group Partners

Every batch, we invite founders and executives to advise YC companies as Visiting Group Partners. These advisors bring valuable insights and recent operational experience to YC early stage companies. Throughout the batch, they take on a subset of YC Group Partner responsibilities, including application reading, interviews, group office hours, individual office hours, demo day prep, and more.

For the YC Winter 2021 batch, we have five Visiting Group Partners joining us:

Tracy Young
Tracy was co-founder and CEO of PlanGrid, construction productivity software (YC W12). PlanGrid grew to 450 employees, helped build over 1M construction projects worldwide, and sold to Autodesk in 2018.

Why did you decide to become a Visiting Group Partner?
I’ve always wanted to teach. Teaching fits into my life right now. Visiting at YC allows me to teach and contribute without having to earn a doctorate.

What are you looking forward to most as a Visiting Group Partner?
Working with the founders we’ve funded. Learning about their lives and passions and helping them where I can.

Reshma Khilnani
Reshma was co-founder and CTO of MedXT, a medical image management software company funded by Y Combinator in 2013, acquired by Box. She has held roles at Facebook and Microsoft, and was co-founder and co-CEO of Droplet Health (now Kit.com). She currently lives in San Francisco. She has a BS and MEng from MIT in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

Why did you decide to become a Visiting Group Partner?
The founders! It’s a rare and exhilarating experience to work with such a talented and ambitious group of founders, many of whom have just started their companies and come from all over the world.

What are you looking forward to most as a Visiting Group Partner?
The product launches are my favorite part of the batch. Watching founders launch an early product and work with them as they learn from customers is truly a unique experience. It’s amazing to see the progress a company can make during a three-month period.

Ralph Gootee
Ralph was co-founder and CTO of PlanGrid, which was funded by YC in 2012, Series A led by Sequoia and acquired by Autodesk in 2018 for $900M. He was responsible for the technical direction, as well as building and leading the engineering, product, and design teams over his 8-year tenure. Prior to PlanGrid, Ralph worked for Pixar and is credited in Cars, Toy Story, and Brave. He also spent time working on ballistic missile defense for Johns Hopkins University where he earned his Masters in Mathematics. Ralph spends his free time learning new programming languages, drawing, and rock climbing.

Why did you decide to become a Visiting Group Partner?
After gaining so much from YC in W12, I wanted to share what I’ve learned with new founders.

What are you looking forward to most as a Visiting Group Partner?
Seeing the companies struggle and thrive through the years after the batch.

Surbhi Sarna
Surbhi founded nVision Medical in 2012 after her own healthcare scare. Over the course of six years, nVision developed a catheter based device for early detection of ovarian cancer. After raising $17M in venture funding, completing several clinical trials and obtaining FDA clearance, nVision was purchased by Boston Scientific for $275M in April of 2018. She currently lives with her husband and two young boys in San Francisco.

Why did you decide to become a Visiting Group Partner?
I decided to become a visiting partner because I have fun working with other entrepreneurs, and I believe that YC can make a huge impact in the healthcare space.

What are you looking forward to most as a Visiting Group Partner?
I’m looking forward to getting to know the entrepreneurs and helping them out whenever I can.

Nicolas Dessaigne
Nicolas is co-founder of Algolia (YC W14), a growth stage Search API used by millions of developers. He led the company as CEO up to 350 people before hiring a successor in 2020. He is still very involved in the success of Algolia as Board Director. Originally from France, he currently lives in Oakland, CA with his wife and 3 kids. He has a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Nantes.

Why did you decide to become a Visiting Group Partner?
After hiring my successor in the CEO role at Algolia, I was intending to dedicate the next couple of years to give back to the community, sharing my learnings. Joining YC is an opportunity for me to do that with a much bigger leverage, helping possibly hundreds of companies instead of just a few.

What are you looking forward to most as a Visiting Group Partner?
In the past few months, I’ve been amazed at how much I learned from other partners and more importantly from the companies I’ve interacted with. I can’t wait to continue on that journey!

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