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In 2013, Parker Conrad appeared at Y Combinator Demo Day to unveil a startup called Zenefits. He would later be ousted from that company, and yesterday reappeared on the YC stage to pitch his new company, Rippling.

Despite it being Conrad's third startup and recently raising $7 million, here's why he chose to again go through Y Combinator's program:

Creating urgency: "When you start a new company, it kinda feels like you're unemployed," Conrad told Axios shortly after his Demo Day presentation. A program like Y Combinator can motivate and bring structure to a founder's work, he added. "When I was still at Zenefits, I always said that if I were to start all over again, I would go through YC."

Secret sauce: The program's weekly dinners, which feature guest speakers and let founders chat with other participants, are the secret sauce. "Each time, it seems like everyone else has accomplished so much... no one likes feeling like they're not keeping up."

More to learn: Despite being on his third startup and second time through Y Combinator's accelerator, Conrad says there's always new things to learn from the dinners' new guest speakers or from mentors. Much of Y Combinator's leadership has also changed since 2013, when it was still being run by co-founder Paul Graham, for example.

Go deeper

Scoop: Border officials project 13,000 child migrants in May

The "El Chaparral" border crossing at Tijuana. Photo: Stringer/Picture Alliance via Getty Images

A Customs and Border Protection staffer told top administration officials Thursday the agency is projecting a peak of 13,000 unaccompanied children crossing the border in May, sources directly familiar with the discussion told Axios.

Why it matters: That projection would exceed the height of the 2019 crisis, which led to the infamous "kids-in-cages" disaster. It also underscores a rapidly escalating crisis for the Biden administration.

3 hours ago - World

U.S. strikes Iran-backed militia facilities in Syria

President Biden at the Pentagon on Feb. 10. Photo: Alex Brandon - Pool/Getty Images

The United States on Thursday carried out an airstrike against facilities in Syria linked to an Iran-backed militia group, the Pentagon announced.

The state of play: The strike, approved by President Biden, comes "in response to recent attacks against American and Coalition personnel in Iraq, and to ongoing threats to those personnel," Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said in a statement.

Senate parliamentarian rules $15 minimum wage cannot be included in relief package

Photo: Al Drago/Getty Images

The Senate parliamentarian ruled Thursday that the provision to increase the minimum wage to $15/hour cannot be included in the broader $1.9 trillion COVID relief package.

Why it matters: It's now very likely that any increase in the minimum wage will need bipartisan support, as the provision cannot be passed with the simple Senate majority that Democrats are aiming to use for President Biden's rescue bill.

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