Simon Willison’s Weblog

Entries tagged startups, ycombinator

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What is the single greatest value-add from Y Combinator?

It’s very difficult to pick the best one, but from our experience here’s something that really stood out: the sense of camaraderie and trust you have in others who are also going through YC.

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What are the best strategies to get a tech job at YC-backed startups in the next 5 months?

Keep an eye on jobs | Hacker News—it’s the official listing of almost all jobs advertised at YC companies.

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Does Y Combinator accept purely app ideas like WhatsApp, Flipboard, etc.?

Yes they do, but you’ll need to demonstrate that your team also has the ability to execute on the idea.

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What are the key points accelerators such as Y-Combinator drill into their startups?

They also teach the importance of launching something and getting real feedback. The entire three month YC process is based around the need to launch and demonstrate traction in order to raise money from investors.

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Do accelerators (which do not take up equity) accept not-for-profit ventures into their programs? If yes, which are some of the best ones?

Y Combinator recently started funding non-profits: http://ycombinator.com/np.html

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How much equity does YCombinator get on average?

They almost always take 7%—they get diluted down in further rounds.

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Is YCombinator’s $20k seed capital enough to keep a team of 3 founders alive in Silicon Valley during the program?

Yes—especially if the three founders live together. A three bedroom apartment near Mountain View can be had for around $3-4,000/month (just check Craigslist), which will be the bulk of your expenses. The rest can cover food, car rental and some business-related expenses (we spent some money on office chairs and a desk).

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What is the Y Combinator cycle?

The winter program generally runs from January until March, with application deadlines the previous October (this year the deadline was was October 21st). Interview invites were sent out on November 4th, and interviews themselves in Mountain View were November 15th-19th. Teams get a yes or no answer the day of their interview.

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Which Y Combinator companies focus on finance?

TrustEgg (YCW11) help people open trust funds for their kids: TrustEgg Allows Anyone To Set Up A Trust For Their Kids | TechCrunch

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Has anyone been through Y Combinator more than once?

Yes, this isn’t that rare. I think the Hipmunk crew went through YC, despite having previously gone through as part of reddit. The Erics from clutch.io had previously participated in YC as part of Convore.

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Does Ycombinator accept applications even though we will not be able to work full time on project?

Very unlikely. One of the questions on the Y Combinator application form is something along the lines of “Which of the founders listed on this application are ready and able to work full time on this project—please explain”. If none of your team are able to work full time on the project, your chances of being picked over other teams who CAN commit are vanishingly small.

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Is there a compilation of all of Paul Graham’s essays available online?

Yes: his website. http://www.paulgraham.com/articl...

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What’s my shot at getting into YC or TechStars NY if I am applying from outside the US, alone with both business experience and technical skills?

I’d say your chances are significantly higher than the average application, for both of those programs. Go apply already!

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How many YC companies have tech co-founders?

Ballpark guess based on my experience in YC: over 90% of YC companies have the technical capability within the founding team to at least ship their MVP. YC is really good at taking technical teams and teaching them the business side of things.

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Y Combinator: I want to apply to YC and I have 5 people on my team. we have two founders one technical and one designer but on our application I want to only include our three programmers one being a founder. Is this frowned upon at YC and does it hu...

YC are fine with three founders—no need to limit it to two.

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Why was the popular Silicon Valley incubator named Y Combinator?

From this interview with Paul Graham http://www.paulgraham.com/frinte...

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Are you less likely to be accepted to Y Combinator if you don’t know how to make money yet?

If you apply and say “we have no idea how we will make money” you are much less likely to be accepted than if you say “we’re not 100% sure how we will make money, but our initial thoughts are to try X”.

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Y Combinator: I’m interested in how what the YC$ were spent on was impacted by whether you were from outside the Valley when you went thro the program or were local?

If you’re from outside the area you’ll spend a chunk of the money on rent (and maybe car rental). If you already live in or near Mountain View you won’t need to do that.

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Y Combinator Demo Day and Class of Summer 2013: Is it true that YC alumni are participating in the primary selection process during S13?

Yes—this has been happening for a few years now. Here’s Paul Graham’s announcement about it back in October 2009: Announcement: YC alumni will help us read applications

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Who was accepted into Y Combinator’s Summer 2013 batch?

You are unlikely to get any good answers to this question for a while, because YC startups are advised not to announce their participation straight away. Instead, they usually hold the announcement until they are ready to launch something—it’s a useful hook for getting extra coverage for the story.

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What advice does Paul Graham commonly give Y Combinator startups?

Read the essays on http://www.paulgraham.com/—many of them are derived from advice he has already been giving YC startups.

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Is it worth accepting an investment from YCombinator if you have an established network in the valley?

Yes. Plenty of the companies in our batch at YC already had well established networks, and they still benefited enormously from the advice and introductions YC could offer.

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Are there any startups outside US which are/were part of incubators & seed programs like 500 Startups, Techstars, Y Combinator, AngelPad or similar?

Our startup http://lanyrd.com/ was part of YC Winter 2011 and is now based in London.

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Does YCombinator fund Start-ups interested in building electronic gadgets?

YC funded InPulse, who make a watch which talks to your smartphone via bluetooth: http://techcrunch.com/2011/04/10...

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Does Y Combinator ever fund British startups?

Yes. Our startup http://lanyrd.com/ went through Y Combinator Winter 2011 (Jan to March this year) and we’re a pair of UK co-founders. We’re back in London now.

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What is it like going through the Y Combinator program?

This essay is pretty comprehensive—it’s what convinced us to apply to YC, and our experience so far has been true to what it describes: http://ycombinator.com/atyc.html

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What are the most recent Y Combinator startup companies as of 2011?

We (Lanyrd) are a YC startup! We’ve just announced our participation: http://techcrunch.com/2011/01/31...

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