I would recommend Startup School to any startup but if you're a solo founder then I think you will find the weekly office hours especially valuable.
Here's my presentation: Pingy is a desktop app to create, share and deploy websites: https://www.startupschool.org/presentations/373
Hopefully, this provides a somewhat different perspective. We aren't your typical founders in their twenties.
Startup School was overall very positive. Speaking with our advisor, Michael Johnston was absolutely excellent. He is an absolute mensch, very helpful, consistently useful advice and very generous with his time.
That having been said, would I say that time spent on startup school consistently added more value than just spending that time doing one of a) hacking away and pushing forward, b) resting or c) exercising? Nope. If you need outside validation and an external push and someone keeping you accountable for you to keep pushing forward, it's going to have much more value. On the other hand, if you know what you need to get done and your startup is something that makes you jump out of bed in the morning so you can get to it, which is how I feel about our startup, I'm not sure that you aren't better off just doing that and avoiding any distractions.
The startup school videos were consistently very good. I would recommend everyone watch those, even on topics that they think they know a fair amount about.
I read your blurb under your presentation, admittedly did not watch your presentation. However I would say that your blurb comes off too much of an attack on robo advisors and not enough about your own company/approach and how you're different from every other active investor. I'd focus on why you're good, rather than on why the competition is bad.
We talk a little bit about why we are different in the video so give it a listen if you are interested.
Would you say the connections/networking were a big asset?
I can say without a doubt it's useful, and would recommend it.
This is a post I made early explaining my thoughts (relevant here):
What's helpful is that you're placed in a group of say 20 other companies all trying to produce something, some are making money, some have literally nothing. You can learn from one another, share ideas, test out each others products, etc.
One thing most people trying to start a company don't have is a support network of highly motivated people doing the same thing. I know I personally do, but many of my fellow startup school colleagues do not. That's what's helpful: The startup school group office hours (or therapy sessions).
The second most valuable portion of startup school, is that they force you to be accountable. If I say I'm doing X, they want to see it. They expect results, and they push you to share.
Finally, and perhaps most valuable portion of startup school for some, is the fact you can network. I'd argue this is different than group office hours. There are many companies that have synergies, for example my project: https://projectpiglet.com/ can help identify trends, or "experts", which other teams could use.
There are other examples, but it's definitely been useful.
That being said, it is not YC proper. You don't get funds, many of the founders don't actually have an LLC or C-Corps. Many are in school, or (like myself) have full-time jobs working 50 hours a week.
Although not being able to work on the project full-time sucks, I've definitely made progress I wouldn't made, with the help startup school. We would have had less without it, the ideas from the team have bubbled up and the support pushes us to do better. I would recommend it.
My presentation: https://www.startupschool.org/presentations/242
If a law firm successfully processed 500 green card applications for Google that isn't as impressive as being successful in processing 10 EB-1 applications for early stage startup founders.
My solution was to ask for recommendations from people that required the same service as me. Could you integrate anonymous yelp style reviews for lawyers where the person giving the review could be verified?
Verified reviews are also something we'd like to add. Also, we'd want to filter the reviews to show more prominently reviews from past users who used the lawyer for the same issue.
What happens if a lawyer choose to only defend a lot of easy to win cases to bump up their track record close to 100%. How do you identify how hard a case was in the first place, and find the lawyers who do go after hard cases successfully.
Some of the filtering and case patterns would probably be best identified with machine learning.
We're working on Moonlight (https://www.moonlightwork.com), where we're helping companies hire expert software engineers as part-time consultants. We grew from no revenue before Startup School to thousands of dollars per week in revenue.
Here is our presentation: https://www.startupschool.org/presentations/14
It was very helpful for us (MoQuality) and seems like a huge success overall. Thanks YC! :)
PS: Our presentation: https://www.startupschool.org/presentations/536
Every week before our group meetup, we had a few questions to fill out that really got us thinking deeply about our business. I wouldn't have thought something as simple as a few pointed questions would yield so much fruit, but it really was awesome. The questions force you to think about on your business value, how to describe it, your target customer and how you might address them. The advice is sound, and comes from the mentor's and YC's experience, which really grounds it. We'd do it again in a heartbeat.
They'd make a good template for the other groups--I would absolutely go back to them for thought-exercises for future ventures.
Would definitely love feedback for our presentation https://www.startupschool.org/presentations/355
And if you're an immigrant living in the US, I'd love to chat about the experience. Best of hard work to everyone.
Greg here, founder of MarineVerse - virtual reality sailing.
If you're interested in sailing, you might like what we're doing.
Happy to answer any questions!
I can imagine people competing against each other in short regattas from their homes. Or myself just practicing & trying a new boat.
Building a company requires a lot of time and dedication. And the biggest lesson we've learned so far from YC:SS is to keep iterating no matter what. The whole YC philosophy of having one key KPI and trying to improve it WoW no matter what is really important. It brings clarity to your decisions and helps you focus on the important stuff.
As an entrepreneur, I'm glad that our company had the opportunity to participate in this program and internalized such an important philosophy.
Here's our presentation:
Codela is a cloud-based platform for automating the technical screening of software developers using online knowledge measurements.
Also, here's our presentation video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07ljML9g0Yg
* Our group's mentor (James, co-Founder of Lista YC S09) was totally committed and freely giving of his time. We could set up individual office hours for 1-on-1 advice and he put a ton of effort into surveying us & adjusting his approach so we could get maximum value.
* Being part of a 25 startup cohort (the size of our group) was hugely motivating. Even when the conversation in our video chat office hours wasn't perfectly incisive it was still energizing to hear other founders pushing at the same things you're facing.
* The internal Startup School networking tools were decently effective and I don't think YC talked about them too much when inviting people to apply. Building a network of other founders when you're bootstrapping in Cape Town, South Africa can be a little tough. Now I've got around 30 different folks I'm emailing with - all of whom have resonating experiences due to the Tinder-style networking tool in the Startup School portal.
* I also got around $5000 in AWS, Azure and GCP credits. Apart from being able to spend this year's infrastructure money on other business things (awesome!) I can also experiment pretty freely with the different platforms and pick the most ideal setup for my app.
Finally a shameless plug for my startup: https://watchdog443.com
I'm building a tool for ongoing monitoring of your HTTPS state & configuration. Feel free to mail me (address in profile) to chat about it or Startup School!
Although we knew a lot "in theory" and had some experience and traction already, we got a ton of value out of actually speaking with other founders and our group's mentor (jamesg - thanks mate!) who listened intently about our problems, gave constructive criticism, pointed out problems, and in general focused our thinking.
Based on this (and feedback from our users) we pivoted slightly to a more lucrative market and I'd say got our priorities straight (or at least less wrong :). Also, the huge motivation boost! :-)
(Our presentation video: https://www.startupschool.org/presentations/145 - feedback welcome!)
Best of luck for all the founders!
BTW, I'm one of the founders of Hubtype (https://hubtype.com), a messaging and chatbots solution for businesses. Our pitch here:
We made Strength of Two - get alerts from people at risk of self-harm (https://www.startupschool.org/presentations/205). Any feedback/ideas would be greatly appreciated.
I mean, they might have an amazing product, but the delivery could be a show stopper.
What do you guys think?
With that said, we only spent a week working on videos and it's more our fault than theirs that we chose to focus on building product rather than pitching, as many companies were very early.
The hardest is the demo video, but that is the most important. Without a good demo video you don't understand why your product exists.
Why spend hundreds of hours building your product if you spent 10 minutes writing a script you're going to read out to your webcam in a dimly lit room?
As far as I can tell, the distribution of the pitch videos is unknown (and there are hundreds of pitches) so there is no end goal, it seems to be mainly a way of sharpening one's pitch.
We were clueless to what to expect or how all this works, but through the guidance and many one on ones with our instructor we were able to manage it.
The course prepared us for meeting with investors, helped us with how to deal with the first rounds of investments (first money can be overwhelming) and how to do the non scalable things early on. It was definitely a useful course.
Also, being on a video call every week, listening to 20+ plus other people's business can be very valuable. Problems that seemed unique to us and unsolvable were solved with a quick chat with someone who already went through it.
Any way, i'll write a post about it eventually. In the meanwhile here is our presentation for Renly:
The other thing that I really appreciated was the fact that everyone in the batch that participated in the calls was treated individually by our mentor, Gleb. Not entirely sure how he achieved this but I can definitely say that if you put the hours in, the program helped organized thoughts and streamline energy.
To close out, my mandatory plug :)
We're building the first global marketplace for the space industry: "Digi-Key for space". Our presentation page: https://www.startupschool.org/presentations/465.
If anyone is interested in NewSpace, feel free to reach out!
We are from India, building Clorik for Indian market - 90% of the population prefers to converse in their native language. Clorik is a crowd-sourced discovery platform for content in Indian languages. Startup school helped us in being pitch ready, YCombinator style. Here is our presentation link - https://www.startupschool.org/presentations/354
We are building web service called Adapty.
Adapty is AI-powered digital ads manager that helps you with automation routine tasks. Adapty works with Facebook Ads and myTarget platforms.
Here is our presentation https://www.startupschool.org/presentations/378 and slides https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/16R9qBkyUm2HIMngL19Ug...
If you are interested in our product, please feel free to contact us via email firstname.lastname@example.org or directly via Facebook facebook.com/iwitaly
The best thing is weekly update structure which really forces you to get a lot of stuff done.
11 weeks completed, lots of great mentoring sessions and listening to conversations with the rest of the startup of the group.
11 weeks trying to find product market fit for our product and idea and at last (coinciding with the end of startup school :) it looks like we might be there there.
This week we broke a few records all together. Most importantly during these 11 weeks we discovered that many people believe in what we believe and that many know inside that recruitment should not have to be as bad as it is today.
With Fluttr we are transforming recruitment in a very social process, where candidates can learn from the job application process itself.
Where recruiters are in charge, but no longer they need to "guess" if somebody is talented simply looking at their CV. Because through our platform they can ask help assessing candidates to real experts in that job and working in other companies.
We are the AirBnB of recruitment. A warmer, more social and alternative way to find a job or a talent.
Companies recruiting and recruiters alike can now hire the best talent confident that the technical screening (we focus on Design, Marketing, Data Science and IT at this point) has been run by real experts.
They can now hire people also measuring the candidates' motivation to join the company.
They can now discover the most talented people independently of age, sex, religion and other discriminatory factors, because the "experts" never know the real identity of the job applicants.
But more importantly every job seeker receives a feedback by an expert about their application and skills and can also benchmark their own skills against the other applicants too via our platform.
If it sounds interesting here you might find a few more details:
And if you want to test out platform get in touch; write me at email@example.com or visit www.fluttr.in.
You too can help us making recruitment #awesome.
Thank you classmates, Geoff Flaherty and Y Combinator!
We went from idea to growth in just 10 weeks and I seriously doubt this could have been possible without the accountability required at the weekly office hours.
Thank you Ian (our mentor) and to the rest of mates in our group-45 cohort.
The best is yet to come. Good luck everybody!
All the best.
The difference between Glassdoor and TechLeaks is that Glassdoor reviews are broad and targeted to all kind of audiences. There's a lot of noise from sales, marketing and other departents making reviews and there's no specific info relevant to software engineering.
Techleaks is different than glassdoor because it just targets software engineers. The reviews hosted in TechLeaks are related to questions software engineers always ask in their job interviews. For example:
What is the Agile maturity in the project?
Can you choose the computer flavour?
Do you get free tickets for dev conferences?
What's the level of CD/CI ?
Here is our presentation: keereo is where pinterest meets wikipedia for antiques.
We don't have the platform ready yet, but if you want to learn React.js, check out our first course: (it's free!) https://nanohop.com/react-daily-emails/
Startup School and the weekly calls helped us identify our weaknesses and now we're better equipped towards scaling Nestify.
Our presentation: https://www.startupschool.org/presentations/532
I highly recommend others to sign up for the next cohort when the opportunity arises. The weekly calls, content, and team spirit was all really motivational and taught me tons.
Here's my presentation for Monkey Test It. Check it out and let me know what you think:
I hope it is okay to let folks know about our site in this thread: https://capitalandgrowth.org
It is a free resource for founders to ask questions on sales and marketing--we have about two dozen and growing domain experts. We also do weekly interviews with investors, one of which ran on Y Combinator's blog (Paul Buchheit).
Aside from really great advisors, the group spirit and interacting with fellow founders was best part of the program for me.
Shoutout to our advisor, Joshua, and others at YC for all their time and hard work.
I will be launching in a few weeks, here is my presentation: https://www.startupschool.org/presentations/791
How do you guys pick the categories?
I ask because some categories are largbe (B2B) and there seems to be a lot of overlap. (i.e. what if there is a B2B company that is also a developer tool?)
There are also some categories that I cannot find. There isn't, for instance, a data science category.
Thanks in advance.
Please see this as an open invitation to ask question or give comments about our product :)
Launched https://kyso.io - Kyso is the fastest way to share data analysis to your team and the world.
Our pres: https://www.startupschool.org/presentations/411
Barely managed to release a public beta this week in time for the presentation :)
https://www.startupschool.org/presentations/91 (personal games for kids ages 1-5)
We just launched Tuiqo (simple document versioning) and this is our presentation: https://www.startupschool.org/presentations/215
"Mom, I'm on TV": https://www.startupschool.org/presentations/799
It was also great to see that there was clearly effort put into crafting a solid pitch.
Shameless self promotion: :)
My startup is Mindmeld, a better way to work remotely. Check it out :)
We're Gruply - Instagram for Learning (https://www.startupschool.org/presentations/452)
I am curious about this. Half the vc's recommend you to strongly use this language while the rest half consider it a red flag. Damned if you do, damned if you don't ;)
Bias disclosure: I interviewed for S17 but didn't get in.