In a groundbreaking collaboration, the ANTrepreneur Center at the University of California, Irvine (UC Irvine) has partnered with the esteemed startup accelerator Y Combinator to offer a unique for-credit course titled Anteater to ANTrepreneur. The name, a play on words referencing UC Irvine’s famous Anteater mascot, helps students to identify as innovators and problem solvers. This innovative course, which integrates Y Combinator’s Startup School curriculum, represents a unique blend of UC Irvine’s academic rigor with the practical, real-world business insights that Y Combinator is renowned for.

Pioneering Entrepreneurial Education at UC Irvine 

The ANTrepreneur Center at UC Irvine has been pivotal in fostering early-stage entrepreneurial talent. This new course is a testament to the Center’s commitment to cutting-edge educational practices. Ryan Foland, Director of the ANTrepreneur Center and instructor for the new course, highlights its significance: 

“Our goal is not to reinvent the wheel when it comes to teaching how to build a business. Working with Y Combinator allows our students to learn directly from the best in the startup business. Empowering undergraduates to explore entrepreneurship in a classroom environment shows them that building a business is achievable and a viable career path.

Y Combinator has been instrumental in the success of over 4,000 startups, including some of the most recognizable brands like Airbnb, Stripe, and OpenSea. Because Startup School is taught by key players from Y Combinator and Y Combinator alumni, the coursework brings a wealth of experience, ensuring that the teachings are grounded in the realities of the startup world and are shared from diverse perspectives.

Jared Friedman from Y Combinator expressed enthusiasm about the collaboration, stating:

“We’ve long hoped to see Startup School’s curriculum adopted in educational settings. Our primary goal is to support entrepreneurs, increasing their likelihood of being accepted into Y Combinator. Startup School distills our experience from incubating hundreds of companies, including globally renowned tech products.”

Will be co-taught by Y Combinator (2x) alumni professor Michelle Khine, Director of the ANTrepreneur Center, Ryan Foland, Stefani Rios, ANTrepreneur Center Interim Program Coordinator, and guest speakers. The course’s comprehensive syllabus encompasses a wide array of crucial entrepreneurial topics. Over ten weeks, students will embark on a journey covering networking, overcoming imposter syndrome, understanding finance, ideation, team building, Minimum Viable Product (MVP) design, product launching, company growth, fundraising, marketing, and the essence of being a successful startup founder.

In addition to the course lectures and video and article assignments, the course will feature a number of Y Combinator alumni as guest speakers, such as Ryan Chan, CEO of UpKeep, Michael Chu, CTO of Makani Science, Ray Liu, CEO of Vena Vitals, and more. Having such guest speakers will make the content and lessons even more relevant. 

Catering to Diverse Entrepreneurial Needs

Anteater to ANTrepreneur is uniquely designed to cater to both newcomers in the entrepreneurial field and those who already have business ideas. For beginners, it offers foundational knowledge and skills to conceptualize and develop new ventures. Meanwhile, students with existing business concepts can refine and scale their ideas, benefiting from the seasoned insights of Y Combinator’s curriculum and the instructors’ expertise.

Stefani Rios, Interim Program Coordinator at the ANTrepreneur Center, who will be helping with the course, shares, “This is not just a class; it’s an incubator of ideas. Whether our students are budding entrepreneurs or seasoned thinkers, it’s about turning visions into viable business ventures.”

To ensure an intimate and immersive learning environment, the course will be capped at 50 students. This small cohort model facilitates a more personalized learning experience, fostering collaboration and a sense of community among the students. It’s an environment conducive to networking, peer learning, and mentorship—crucial elements in every young entrepreneur’s journey.

All students enrolled in the course will receive a custom Y Combinator + ANTrepreneur Center hoodie, symbolizing their involvement in this groundbreaking program. Additionally, they will receive a copy of Without a Doubt by Surbhi Sarna, Y Combinator partner and UC alum. This book chronicles Sarna’s journey in selling her company for $275 million and offers invaluable insights and inspiration to aspiring entrepreneurs.

Course Impact and the Power of Collaboration

This collaboration between UC Irvine and Y Combinator is a significant stride in entrepreneurial education, blending academic learning with practical business acumen. It’s an opportunity for students to gain first-hand insights from a curriculum that has played a pivotal role in the success of global startups. According to Angie Delfin, a business administration student who has enrolled in the upcoming course, “Learning from a curriculum that has launched successful startups is an incredible chance for my entrepreneurial growth.”

With creative marketing to the student body, including a fun Instagram Reel, the Anteater to ANTrepreneur class was filled in less then a week, and it positions UC Irvine at the forefront of entrepreneurial education, preparing students for both academic achievement and real-world impact in the dynamic world of startups and technology. 

If you are interested in being a guest speaker for the class, please email

For more information about the UCI ANTrepreneur Center, including programming, speaker series, Micro-Internships, funding, and more, visit our website. You can also learn more about our valuable collaborations with Blackstone LaunchPadTech Coast AngelsTech Coast Venture NetworkOC Startup CouncilSoCal Celebrates Entrepreneurship, the Hub @ UCI, and follow us on  InstagramLinkedIn, Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), and even Threads