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Rebecca Zisser / Axios

Silicon Valley startup accelerator Y Combinator is raising up to $1 billion for a new venture capital fund, Axios has learned from multiple sources. No word yet on when it is expected to close. YC is also making changes to its investment organization.

Why it matters: Y Combinator is one of the most influential startup entities in Silicon Valley, having incubated such companies as Airbnb, Dropbox and Stripe. But, at it's core, it's an investor — so it's no surprise to see it evolve and expand its reach.

Details, per sources:

  • Merger: This is technically for YC's second Continuity fund, the first of which was a $700 million vehicle designed to invest in later-stage rounds of companies incubated by YC. But YC has decided to merge its existing early-stage investment program with its later-stage fund, so the $1 billion would go toward both.
  • Inside and out: YC has strayed a bit from its original Continuity mission, in that it's now willing to selectively back companies that didn't participate in its accelerator program (something it originally said it would not do). So far it's only done one such deal, which remains unannounced, but more could come. This puts YC more squarely in competition with traditional VC funds that usually invest in startups after they've completed the accelerator program.
  • Seats at the table: All full-time YC partners have equal economics in the funds, with everyone invited to investment meetings. The actual investment committee, however, is only three people: YC president Sam Altman, YC Continuity CEO Ali Rowghani and Continuity Fund partner Anu Hariharan. There was originally a fourth seat representing the rest of the YC partners collectively, but it has been eliminated, in part, to streamline signature approvals.
  • Still marketing: YC declined comment when contacted by Axios.

Go deeper

Scoop: FDA chief called to West Wing

Stephen Hahn. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows has summoned FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn to the West Wing for a 9:30am meeting Tuesday to explain why he hasn't moved faster to approve the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine, two senior administration officials told Axios.

Why it matters: The meeting is shaping up to be tense, with Hahn using what the White House will likely view as kamikaze language in a preemptive statement to Axios: "Let me be clear — our career scientists have to make the decision and they will take the time that’s needed to make the right call on this important decision."

Scoop: Schumer's regrets

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images   

Chuck Schumer told party donors during recent calls that the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the fact that Cal Cunningham "couldn't keep his zipper up" crushed Democrats' chances of regaining the Senate, sources with direct knowledge of the conversations tell Axios.

Why it matters: Democrats are hoping for a 50-50 split by winning two upcoming special elections in Georgia. But their best chance for an outright Senate majority ended when Cunningham lost in North Carolina and Sen. Susan Collins won in Maine.

Trump's coronavirus adviser Scott Atlas resigns

Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty

Scott Atlas, a controversial member of the White House coronavirus task force, handed in his resignation on Monday, according to three administration officials who discussed Atlas' resignation with Axios.

Why it matters: President Trump brought in Atlas as a counterpoint to NIAID director Anthony Fauci, whose warnings about the pandemic were dismissed by the Trump administration. With Trump now fixated on election fraud conspiracy theories, Atlas' detail comes to a natural end.