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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.

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Why it matters: While the average of 70,000 new infections and 2,000 daily deaths is nowhere near the extremely high levels recorded at the start of 2021, the figures are still a poor baseline to "stop a potential fourth surge" — especially with the threat posed by more contagious new variants, Walensky warned.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren introduces "ultra-millionaire" wealth tax bill

Photo: Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on Monday introduced a bill in the Senate that would impose a new tax on the assets of America's wealthiest individuals.

Why it matters: The plan, which Warren introduced along with Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.) is similar to a proposal that was the centerpiece of Warren's campaign for the presidency in 2020.

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Former French President Sarkozy sentenced to jail for corruption

Nicolas Sarkozy, 2011. Photo: XINHUA/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

A court in Paris on Monday sentenced former French President Nicolas Sarkozy to one year in prison and a two-year suspended sentence after he was found guilty of trying to bribe a magistrate, AP reports.

Driving the news: Sarkozy, who was president from 2007 to 2012, is the first president in France’s modern history to have gone on trial for corruption, per AP. He was charged with corruption and influence-peddling.