The business and culture of our digital lives,
from the L.A. Times

« Previous Post | Technology Home | Next Post »

Google Gmail creator Buchheit leaving Facebook for Y Combinator [Updated]

November 12, 2010 | 10:35 am

We wondered earlier if Paul Buchheit, who created Gmail at Google and the company slogan, "Don't be evil," was involved in Facebook's imminent launch of an e-mail system billed as a Gmail killer.

If he was, he's not anymore.

Buchheit Buchheit is leaving Facebook to join Y Combinator as a partner.

For those who are not familiar with Buchheit, Y Combinator's Paul Graham fills in some details:

In case anyone doesn't already know who he is, Paul Buchheit was responsible for three of the best things Google has done: he wrote GMail, built the original prototype of AdSense, and came up with the phrase "Don't be evil." After leaving Google he started FriendFeed, which last year became Facebook's largest acquisition to date. He's a good friend as well as one of the world's best hackers; for years we've considered him an honorary YC partner.

Landing Buchheit, a prominent start-up investor who commands respect in Silicon Valley for his tech credentials and skills, is a big win for Y Combinator, which is increasingly the go-to place to check out the best emerging new companies.

Friday is Buchheit's last day at Facebook, which has a relationship with Y Combinator.

[Updated 11:25 a.m.: "Paul has for years been the person we always thought about first if we thought about getting a new partner," Graham said in an interview. "We were thinking about doing this years ago, then he went out and started FriendFeed. Really this is just the first time we could recruit him."

Talks started over the summer when Graham popped the question over dinner. "To my surprise, he said yes," Graham said.

Buchheit has been a fixture at Y Combinator events for years so this just changes his status, Graham said.

"That's why we call him an honorary Y Combinator partner," Graham said. "All we are doing is taking the honor out of the title."

Facebook in an e-mailed statement said: "We support Paul Buchheit's decision to pursue his passion and advise start-ups full-time. While he'll be missed at Facebook, Paul has already established himself as a respected angel investor and we hope his insights will be helpful to the next generation of Silicon Valley start-ups."]


Facebook to Google: We've got "Gmail Killer"

Star investors (and other stars) come out for Y Combinator's Demo Day

-- Jessica Guynn

Photo: Paul Buchheit Credit: notphilatall