Simon Willison’s Weblog

49 items tagged “ycombinator”

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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We applied to Y Combinator a few weeks ago and submitted a demo. We made significant progress since then and have a much better demo now. Is it possible to replace the demo? Is it advisable?

It’s fine to replace the demo, and definitely a good idea if your new demo is better. That said, don’t expect that anyone who has viewed the old demo will check out the new one. As a result the sooner you get the new demo in place the better.

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Are there any YC startups based around open source software?

There have been a few.

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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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Does Ycombinator welcome projects that are similar to alumnis?

Y Combinator has funded companies that are similar to alumni in the past. Two examples: they funded dotCloud and Parse, both platform-as-a-service startups, despite having previously funded Heroku.

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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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When applying to Y-Combinator, if your current product is just the first step on the way to a much larger product vision which will not be realized for many years, which product should an entrepreneur discuss in an application (the current one, or th...

The YC application form has fields that cover this. You should talk about your grand ambition in the “What is your company going to make?” answer, then describe your progress so far in the “How far along are you?” answer.

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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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Would/Does Y Combinator accept Students (Freshmen/Sophomores Undergrads) if they’re planning on going back to college?

YC want founders who are going to dedicate themselves full time to their companies after the initial three month YC programme has ended. If you’re not willing to do that, why should YC give a place to you over someone else who IS willing to make that commitment?

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Would YCombinator have invested in Apple?

Yes. YC is about the team, and the fact that those two had built a prototype of a personal computer in their garage (in 1976!) would get them in to YC without any trouble, even considering the quality of applicants YC gets today.

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Where can I find a copy of Y Combinator’s user manual (as mentioned in the most recent book by Randall Stross)?

You can’t—the manual is confidential and only available to YC founders. If you want to read it, you need to get in to YC!

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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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Can you postpone Y Combinator after being accepted?

I don’t think there’s an official policy on this, but I think I’ve heard of it happening so I imagine it’s handled on a case-by-case basis. You should talk to YC about your situation ASAP.

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Does y combinator review applications in the order they were received? If you apply just right before the deadline should you not expect your app to be reviewed before next week?

Appslications are reviewed in random order.

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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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Why are so many YCombinator startups focussed solving logistics, marketplaces or business problems rather than true hardcore engineering problems?

Because building a successful startup isn’t about solving difficult engineering problems, it’s about Making Something People Want. Customers pay for services that solve problems they have. They don’t care how hard it was to build.

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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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Does Paul Graham steal business models from teams not accepted into Y Combinator and feed them to accepted teams as pivot ideas?

No. If he did, word would quickly get around and strong teams would stop applying to YC.

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Benefits and disadvantages of cashflow positive startups joining an accelerator program?

YC has a very low time commitment. There is a dinner once a week (which takes up the evening from 6pm onwards), and any other sessions are 20-30 minute slots you book yourself with the YC partners and advisors. My experience was that most teams have 2-3 of these a week.

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