Jan 31, 2017

The ACLU signs up for 'startup bootcamp'

After raising $24 million in donations over the weekend, the American Civil Liberties Union will now get some Silicon Valley mentorship. On Tuesday, the prestigious startup accelerator Y Combinator said the ACLU will be one of the participating non-profits in its upcoming class of startups, and some of its staff will head to New York City to advise the ACLU.

Why this matters: Y Combinator has been mentoring non-profits for a few years now, and there's no doubt that organizations like the ACLU can learn a great deal from the accelerator's startup experts and larger network.

  • This is also a big step in Y Combinator putting its weight behind politics. While it welcomed a voting-registration non-profit last year into its program, the ACLU is a much bigger organization. And given its recent success in helping people affected by Trump's immigration executive order, Y Combinator's message to Trump is clear.
  • Peter Thiel, a Trump supporter and member of his transition team, is also a part-time advisor to Y Combinator's startups. Y Combinator's backing of the ACLU can further help the organization's message that while it won't sever ties with Thiel, it doesn't align with his politics.

The story has been updated with more information.

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