Attending an elaborate launch party, Richard and his computer programmer friends - Big Head, Dinesh and Gilfoyle - dream of making it big. Instead, they're living in the communal Hacker Hostel owned by former programmer Erlich, who gets to claim ten percent of anything they invent there. When it becomes clear that Richard has developed a powerful compression algorithm for his website, Pied Piper, he finds himself courted by Gavin Belson, his egomaniacal corporate boss, who offers a $10 million buyout by his firm, Hooli. But Richard holds back when well-known investor Peter Gregory makes a counteroffer.
After a celebratory party at the Hacker Hostel, Richard and Erlich learn that Peter Gregory won't pay up until they deliver a viable business plan that includes a slimmed-down staff. A desperate Richard hires former Belson underling Jared, and they set about trying to trim the fat. While Gilfoyle and Dinesh prove essential, Big Head's place in the company is less certain.
While Gavin Belson begins to hype Nucleus, a competing compression platform, Richard learns that the name Pied Piper is already registered to a sprinkler company, forcing him to negotiate. Meanwhile, Erlich goes on a vision quest for a new company name, and Peter Gregory proves elusive when one of his companies asks for money.
At Peter's toga party, Richard drunkenly promises to make Erlich a board member, which he regrets the next morning. After being unassigned at Hooli, Big Head finds others like him who have made careers out of doing nothing. Richard struggles to put Pied Piper's vision into words for a presentation without Erlich; later, he discovers an interesting connection between Peter and Gavin Belson.
Erlich taps a graffiti artist to design Pied Piper's logo, with predictably controversial results. Meanwhile, Richard learns he doesn't have much time to prepare for a live demonstration at TechCrunch Disrupt; Gavin Belson and Peter Gregory have an unexpected encounter; and Jared works on the company's efficiency.
Richard feels threatened when the team hires The Carver a hacker with a notorious reputation, to help with Pied Piper’s cloud. Jared finds himself taken for a ride when he seeks out Peter Gregory’s signature. Erlich and Dinesh compete for the attention of Tara, Gilfoyles visiting girlfriend. Later, Dinesh faces a sexual dilemma.
At TechCrunch Disrupt, Richard feels the pressure to finish his demo, but finds himself distracted by a girl he dated briefly, who’s now spreading rumors about him. Jared worries that Monica is taking his place in the company. Dinesh develops a crush on a girl at a neighboring booth. Erlich’s scandalous past connection to one of the judges threatens Pied Piper’s chances.
Following their success at TechCrunch Disrupt, the guys of Pied Piper find themselves aggressively courted by every VC in Silicon Valley. With Peter Gregory’s company facing major changes, Monica tries to do what’s best while dealing with new managing partner Laurie, a competitive bigwig who will do anything to hold onto Pied Piper. Later, Richard makes a decision about the company’s future and faces big news from Hooli.
In the wake of Hooli’s bombshell, Richard and the guys struggle to find a backer as they face legal and financial woes. Monica attempts to balance her interest in Pied Piper with her job. A cash-strapped Dinesh tries to put an end to the Kickstarter campaign for his cousin’s new app, Bro. Richard gets a surprising offer.
Richard butts heads with Erlich over a prospective hire, while Dinesh and Gilfoyle become suspicious that a new employee they recommended is commanding a higher salary. Big Head gets a surprising promotion at Hooli. At a board meeting, Monica and Richard find themselves outvoted; Jared institutes a workplace harassment policy.
Gavin’s interference causes Pied Piper to struggle with securing their expansion, while a nosy neighbor puts the guys at risk. Gilfoyle takes on the task of building servers, and an overstressed Richard reluctantly takes in Jared as a roommate. Big Head’s management skills are questioned, and Nucleus’ debut zeroes in on a big event.
When Monica encourages the guys to pounce on a livestream opportunity, Erlich reconnects with his old mentee, Double-A, an energy drink billionaire, but Richard finds out their friendship isn’t quite what Erlich thinks. After learning that the livestream might hit a snag, Gilfoyle and Dinesh brainstorm their options. Jared encourages a friendship between Carla and Monica.
With the Pied Piper team fielding job offers and Russ distracted by financial news, Richard faces the prospect of either merging with a nemesis or folding. Gavin attempts to turn Nucleus’ failure into a success. Dinesh tries his hand at wooing a woman online. After Gilfoyle suggests a risky move, Richard reaches out to an unconventional client.
After being unceremoniously fired, an angry Richard faces a tough decision: accept the diminished role of CTO, or leave Pied Piper for good. Erlich takes a shine to Jack Barker, Laurie’s new choice of CEO, while Dinesh and Gilfoyle weigh their options in Richard’s absence. At Hooli, Gavin tries to improve his image by admitting failure, and Big Head gets wind of major changes.
Richard butts heads with Dinesh, whose new position goes to his head. Richard discovers interesting data about PiperChat's users. Erlich makes a play to be involved in Jian-Yang's new app. Jared sets ground rules in his friendship with Richard. Gavin's paranoia over Jack's enthusiasm causes him to make a rash decision.
An unexpected increase in data traffic leads Richard to turn the Ehrlich for help in garnering a deal with Keenan Feldspar, Silicon Valley's latest 'it' boy, but when he makes a too-good-to-resist offer, Richard must weigh Pied Piper's future against a potential mutiny. Jack faces setbacks while preparing for Hooli-Con.
Now that Pied Piper has ample funding and new offices, the pressure to get things right stymies Richard and forces him to grow the company in a way he hadn't planned. A picky Dinesh and Gilfoyle question their ability to make good decisions. After returning to Hooli, Gavin worries about becoming antiquated.
Panicked by suddenly leading a much larger team, Richard finds himself managing a number of small conflicts in his efforts to unite his new employees. Dinesh celebrates a new purchase that Gilfoyle looks to spoil. Jian-Yang goes to court. Gavin meets pushback over his signature and what it says about him.
Overshadowed by Jared in an on-camera interview, Richard’s confidence wavers further when Laurie and Monica force him to work with a new artificial-intelligence company. Gilfoyle worries about the prospect of introducing AI into Pied Piper. Dinesh makes Jared self-conscious ahead of a second interview. Gavin questions his future beyond Hooli.