1) How long have you been working on your idea ?
2) Were you accepted in YC ?
3) Have you raised money from the VC ?
4) URL to your demo/company.
2) I have not applied to YC, and do not have plans to do so in the immediate future. (Never say never.) Nothing personal: I love what YC does, but to make the deal mutually beneficial, I'd have to take outside investment in my business, swing for the fences, and achieve an exit in the next few years. These do not match my personal vision for the next few years of my life.
3) My feelings on outside investment: I have had a relationship before where somebody could call me and berate me for the lack of progress in my projects. He was my boss. At least he had the decency to pay me money every month. I do not fancy having a relationship in which someone can call me up to berate me for my lack of progress and then say, at the end of the call, "Don't forget, we want you to pay us lots of money!"
4) http://www.bingocardcreator.com and more projects early in the pipeline
So I guess if there's a fair point in it, it's to go after some niche that has an upper bound to its profitability as a defense against large competitors. In the US, at least, though, chain restaurants make the 'little restaurant' example once again a bit suspect because they end up competing in a niche that can, to some degree, be filled by a large corporation.
I think it's a flawed analogy, and that rather than trying to make it work, it would simply make more sense to discuss the economic factors and business decisions that make something like patio11's company successful.
I guess that's the idea with mass-market software. the marginal cost being nearly zero means that the chance of hitting a few out of the park justifies a whole bunch of expensive flops.
Yep. If you're interested in the economics of our field, I can't help but recommending 'Information Rules' ( http://www.amazon.com/dp/087584863X?tag=dedasys-20 ). One of the co-authors is now the chief economist at Google.
But my point was that I think the advantage that the large corporation has is not as big as people seem to think it is. It's a lot more expensive for them to swing the bat than for you to do so, and you don't have to do as well. I think the only large advantage that large corporations still have in this arena is advertising, and of course in software like modern games that is too big for one person to complete in a reasonable period of time.
2) Never applied
Btw, a lot more single founders left comments here (http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1045694) and on the associated blog post (http://www.gabrielweinberg.com/blog/2010/01/will-single-foun...)
I think it's a shame that any search engine always gets compared to Google immediately. They've had years and thousands of people to perfect their work. I would really love to see Duckduckgo grow.
2) No, but the fact that I couldn't relocate to the bay area was a factor in this.
3) No. I've been approached by a few angels, but (apart from one early attempt which didn't work) I've avoided going down that route in favour of bootstrapping.
3) No. Bootstrapped, launched running a single crappy tower server in colo (AMD XP 2100 with a gig of RAM). Started part time, on the side from consulting work. I was offered a pretty meager sum ($20k) in my earliest days, but I was already profitable, and turned it down.
I've been profitable since the beginning, and went full-time January '07. Business has been much slower lately, but I'm working to adapt.
2) Didn't try... I'd have tried for this round, but I didn't want to start any new work until I was completely clear of the previous gig. Lack of co-founders made it a real impossibility (partly inspiring me to write the co-founder finder).
3) I'm going to bootstrap, at least for the short term. Any course of action that leaves me in a position where I'm not substantially the master of my own destiny goes against the whole reason I'm pursuing this startup stuff.
4) http://localhost:8000/ and http://localhost:8001/ at the moment ;)
2) No. Never applied.
3) No. Bootstrapped.
Feedity is a profitable startup. I'm currently working on a new project and hoping to go full-time sometime this year.
just to be clear: I'm not criticizing the services here. Some look very useful and as the owners have said are already profitable. I'm just interested in how others define a startup and whether or not people think that term fits these ideas. How exactly do you define a startup?
If a defining feature of a startup is that it's unprofitable and likely to fail, then I think these single founders should be pleased not to be considered startups.
1) about a year
2) never considered YC (and I'm sure the feeling is mutual)
I'm curious, did you build/design this yourself and what did you build it on?
Uses FlourishLib (http://flourishlib.com/) as programming framework, jQuery for front-end magic and iconfinder.net for the cute icons all around.
BTW, This particular app has been in development for last 5 months. Since Jan 2009, I was prototyping few different things (see http://www.wingify.com/labs.php) and finally built Visual Website Optimizer.
2) Applied 3 times. Didn't get in.
3) Didn't take VC money (yet). Received funds from fbFund and an angel investor.
2) I haven't applied to YC. I participated in the inaugural San Diego Founder Institute session which finished a few weeks ago.
3) I'm not raising money yet. I'm still working a (percentage of a) full time software engineering job. I think I can get pretty far in terms of traction without funding.
4) I'm still in private beta and not ready to share just yet.
2. no. I think I applied at one point, but really it is good that I did not get accepted. I'm not really in a 'get big fast and sell it' business; if I were to sell, people would expect to pay about one years earnings. (I'm a little surprised anyone sells at those prices; even with the capital gains advantages of selling vs. paying yourself salary, that seems a little like killing the golden goose. I mean, duck is delicious, but golden eggs, man, golden eggs.)
I think my case is interesting because I am in an industry that is generally thought to be capital intensive; I buy capital goods and rent them out. The thing is, it lends itself fairly well to a 'buy as you go' strategy, for my little plans, a server pays for itself in about a month an a half. (for the big plans, a server takes 4 or 5 months to pay for itself) Support costs scale fairly lineally with customers, so at first there is plenty of time for consulting, and as time goes on, I earn more and more of my income from the servers, until I can stop consulting (It's been maybe 8 months now that I've been full time)
Note, buy as you go means that you will be turning away customers, and this does hurt you in the eyes of customers. You need to be sensitive to this, but there are some people who will tolerate it. Make sure to /always/ prioritize existing customers over accepting new customers. Even a few bad words in public about you can be impressively damning. Treat everyone as if they were a high-profile blogger. (at this point, nearly all your customers might as well be, in terms of how much influence they have over other customers searching for your business name.)
This is actually kindof hard, because on an emotional level, it hurts when people say bad things about me in public; but responding in a hostile manner is about the worst thing a business owner can do. Offer a refund to every disgruntled customer (at least of the last month) The surprising part is that many people won't take the refund, offering it is often enough. Accepting personal responsibility and explaining what went wrong goes a long way. (even better is to explain how you are going to prevent that from happening in the future)
Key here is finding a market that sells something that is simple for you to maintain (I've been a computer janitor since I was 12. really, there is nothing I'm better at doing.) and then slogging it out until the thing is profitable enough to support you. I wouldn't really call myself disciplined. Stubborn, or maybe arrogant, but not disciplined. It's a slog; you deal with emergencies when they happen, then on good days you go and write code so that there is less work to do, but mostly it's this slog of buying equipment and renting it out until you can buy more equipment. For me, at least, it's a lot easier than showing up at the office every day at the same time.
I've taken a different tack on marketing compared to many in this industry; advertising, I am given to understand, is often as expensive as hardware. Me, I have focused on brand-building to the exclusion of 'user acquisition' advertising like affiliate programs and pay-per-click ads - I don't know if I made the right choice. writing the book was an incredibly expensive brand-building excersise, and I don't know if what I did was the most effective and cheapest way to attract customers, but at this point I can largely ignore the advertising; I've got more customers than I've got hardware to rent, so finally, it /might/ make sense to get VC, but at this point I'm ramen profitable and the number of servers I can buy every month is increasing, so I'm really reluctant to break and let someone else come in and tell me how to do my job. Besides, slow growth means that my mistakes happen in more manageable chunks. I can tell you right now that if I started out in 2005 with all the cash I ended up spending on the thing, I would have failed miserably, due to some early dumb mistakes.
Another key to being a single-founder is knowing people who are both good and willing to work for low wages. I've been super lucky to get some awesome people for wages I could afford to pay. I'm a little worried because I'm almost out of poor but competent friends at this point (most of them are still friends; just they now have the opportunity to work for more than I can afford to pay. If you are going to underpay people, you /must/ be understanding and even happy for them when they graduate to a job with 'real pay' - That is what you are paying them; a chance to have some real experience they can use to get a real job later. )
2) Not applied
3) Not applicable
4) http://www.smstweet.in : send tweets by a simple SMS
http://www.ideabubbles.in : loyalty program on mobile phone
and other such ideas
3) No, bootstrapped
3) Not yet, but planning to.
4) Can't say quiet yet :) Launching this week! Currently working on the boring parts of the site like FAQ, Terms, Privacy, About, etc... the rest is pretty much ready to go!
2) Didn't apply
3) Didn't start looking. It's bootstrapped so far and I want to continue doing it this way until I no longer can. Not that there are any valley-type VCs in Saudi Arabia, but was approached by a couple of interested investors. One didn't really get web startups. Still in talks with the other one though. Investment is not currently needed, but can certainly accelerate growth.
4) http://www.qaym.com (in Arabic)
2) Didn't apply. Could use the advice, but not the money.
3) No, and not sure we want to. Got some solicitations last month from a few firms on the East Coast. This prompted me to contact Sequoia to gauge interest. Amazingly, got a sit down with Michael Moritz, and had a few more conversations and email sessions that convinced me (and them) that there wasn't a right fit there. I'm lazily listening to other VCs, but nothing has interested me yet.
1)I have been working on several things for a few years. Last summer, I began posting here because I concluded I need to learn a programming language and write a simulation/game as an educational tool for my health site. For better or for worse, the ideas on the site grow out of my own first-hand experience with getting well against impossible odds. Between continuing to work on resolving my health issues and working as much overtime as I can at my job, I haven't made much headway towards my goals for this site, and even less headway on goals for other websites I own. None of this started as a "business" idea. It is only fairly recently that my thoughts have turned in that direction.
2) I have toyed with applying and started to fill out an application for last fall. Stuff I have read recently suggests to me they would never accept me, even if I concluded it was a good fit for my goals. But i seriously doubt it would be. I plan to bootstrap it.
3) As above: No. I expect to bootstrap my business plans.
4) My health site is http://www.healthgazelle.com It is the best developed of the sites I have. The others are languishing in purgatory (or perhaps I should say "languishing even worse than this one").
2) Never applied.
3) Not even close. Highly doubtful anyone wants to invest in my part-time startups, though angels might be more into this than VCs...
4) http://rankiac.com/ & http://bitbuffet.com/
Is rankiac profitable?
2) Haven't applied, though I'd like to one day depending on my situation.
4) Currently working on http://www.preceden.com
2.) No. (I usually apply, though.)
3.) No. (Doesn't seem like a good use of time to try.)
4.) http://www.fairoakslabs.com/iknowpeople/ or http://itunes.apple.com/app/iknowpeople/id349918351?mt=8
2) Never applied to YC but attended Startup School in 2006
3) Raised two rounds from VC
3) No, self-funded.
4) http://pdfcrowd.com - html to pdf online API
2) Never applied and don't plan to
3) Not yet, hoping to bootstrap then raise money when needing rocket fuel.
2) Did not apply to YC
2) Never applied, probably not the right idea/goals for it. Plus don't live in CA.
3) No VC, but who knows what the future holds. Just a for-fun project scratching my own itch at this point.
Professional curiosity. :)
2) No, I didn't apply
3) It wouldn't be appropriate at this time.
4) I'll make a note to add a link sometime in the future.
2) no, and I don't have any plans to apply for any of my current projects. while I definitely like YC's model and I think they do great things, I don't feel like the process matches my goals with any of my current projects. I'm more in it for the long-haul.
3) no, my projects have been entirely self-funded
4) http://www.ratemystudentrental.com/spp, http://www.leadnuke.com
2)No, never applied</br>
3)No, I've avoid the route in favor of bootstrapping</br>
2) No, didn't apply.
3) No, haven't tried.
My goal is to put more people on bikes by creating educated consumers and helping them discover the joy of cycling.
I did a "rate my startup" post a few weeks back at http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1111941. I got a lot of good feedback from that and have been making a lot of changes, but there's a lot more in the pipeline.
2) Never applied. I'm not in the USA anyway.
3) Nope. One of my first customers did want to invest, but I didn't need it.
4) http://www.simplepay.co.za (Online payroll software. Not really applicable if you're not South African. For now...)
2) Never applied; would love to do it, but it’s just not right for me right now.
3) No (and I have no intention to).
2) Applied to YC10S, rejected
3) No, can self-fund
4) http://mercedhill.com, the product is in alpha and a newer version will be released soon.
2) No, not seeking to be accepted
3) No, not seeking to raise VC
I'm trying to make a modest income from this and a few other ideas. I got the idea when the leader of the free online dating sites said that there was no more room for anyone else, anyone that says that will eventually fall and I think with time I can take a good portion of the available users.
1) 2 years since action / 4 since idea
2) Nope - haven't applied
3) Not yet
I'm crowdsourcing a sketch comedy show - anyone can submit, rank, vote - it's like Saturday Night Live, but with the best writing around that week, no writer's room inside jokes and stale humor. It gives writers a chance to get noticed, build a resume/reel, and get exposure on a national level.
3) No, self-funded
curl https://text-factory.appspot.com/apisend --data-urlencode
'number=+1xxxxxxxx' --data-urlencode 'message=it works with space'
2) Never applied (not from USA)
3) Never raised any kind of money
2) no, never applied
4) http://seashellapp.com and http://peashootapp.com - I run these two SaaS apps and thoroughly enjoy it. Would like to add a third at some point, then just spend time iterating and growing the customer base.
Would actually be interested in a co-founder. It's hard to get everything done by yourself :)
2) didn't apply YC, but graduated from founder institute
3) bootstrapped, maybe later planning to raise money
2) didn't apply
2: No, didn't apply.
(Sidenote: we're #29 in "Startup Ideas We'd Like to Fund" http://ycombinator.com/ideas.html)
3: No, bootstrapped.
3's but is I've had private offers from some of the leading companies in my little industry.
2) Did not apply to YC.
Arq is online backup to S3 for the Mac.
2) Rejected YC S10. (Attended/enjoyed Startup School 09.)
3) Not yet
2) No plans to apply to YC
2. No, but an accelerator in Austin would certainly be nice
2. No. Haven't tried.
4. http://roorky.com - Interactive ebooks (ibook??)
2) not really a fit for my goals
3) nope, see 2
4) Launching April 1st.
2) Applied last minute - No
3) no - going the bootstrap route investing 15k of my own money.
4) demo currently offline -will be up later.