Yes, it is worth it. I say this as someone who never went through an accelerator as a founder, but have invested in a number of great YC companies.
- Network. It’s real. You’ll be connected to many other great founders. It’s hard to build a founder and CEO network. Play it right, and you’ll have one for life through YC.
- Brand & Signaling. YC is like Harvard or Stanford or whatever. All things being equal, I want to meet YC companies. In fact, I’ll take a meeting with any YC companies in my sweet spot, and I don’t like to take too many meetings. And I’ll probably end up paying a higher price, even after DemoDays. Because it’s a signal for very smart founders who have been trained to aim for hyper-growth. I like that. It saves me time as an investor. It’s a nice product, all packaged up for me.
- Will push you. If you are the best, most successful CEO you know … it can be hard to do better. If you are surrounded by unicorn alumns, it pushes you.