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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

Updated 7 hours ago - World

Biden in call with Netanyahu raises concerns about civilian casualties in Gaza

Photo: Ahmad Gharabli/Nicholas Kamm/Getty Images

President Biden spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Saturday and raised concerns about civilian casualties in Gaza and the bombing of the building that housed AP and other media offices, according to Israeli officials.

The big picture: At least 140 Palestinians, including dozens of children, have been killed in Gaza since fighting between Israel and Hamas began Monday, according to Palestinian health officials. Nine people, including two children, have been killed by Hamas rockets in Israel.

Updated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

"Horrified": AP, Al Jazeera condemn Israel's bombing of their offices in Gaza

A ball of fire erupts from the Jalaa Tower as it is destroyed in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza. Photo: Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The Associated Press and Al Jazeera on Saturday condemned the Israeli airstrike that destroyed a high-rise building in Gaza that housed their and other media offices.

What they're saying: The White House, meanwhile, said it had "communicated directly to the Israelis that ensuring the safety and security of journalists and independent media is a paramount responsibility," according to press secretary Jen Psaki.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
9 hours ago - Health

The COVID lab-leak theory goes mainstream

The Wuhan Institute of Virology. Photo: Hector Retamal/AFP via Getty Images The COVID lab-leak theory goes mainstream

A group of high-profile scientists published a letter calling for renewed investigation into the origins of COVID-19 — including the theory that it spilled out of a virology lab.

Why it matters: The possibility that SARS-CoV-2 was created in a Chinese lab and accidentally escaped — rather than emerging naturally from an animal — was initially dismissed as a conspiracy theory. But the letter shows a potential lab leak is increasingly being taken seriously.

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