Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Startup School Advisor Track: You Are In
198 points by PieShell on Aug 20, 2018 | hide | past | favorite | 316 comments
Can anyone add any information on what the "Advisor Track" is for Startup School? I was just accepted, but I only see Founder Track in past applications, so not sure what Advisor Track means or the differenct if any.


Hi everyone, after all this, we believe the right thing to do is to accept everyone into Startup School, so we're going to find a way to make this work. More info here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17806459

Adora, applaude YC's efforts to do the right thing! Admitted applicants, however, are getting a diluted experience; thus the solution takes away fairness from the admitted applicants. It's an impossible situation and all the time/energy YC is spending to fix it is incredible! Some suggestions:

1. Give the originally accepted applicants access to a separate pool of 100 $10k grants - so they have the same odds of accessing the grants. 2. If 1 isn't possible, try to think of other perks that the accepted pool gets access to (in addition to what was already offered to make up for the larger pool of people with access to the grants) 3. In tandem with 1 or 2, put some meritocratic constraints around all participants. In order to stay in start-up school, partcipants must read x book, conduct x experiments, etc. This way those who will really put effort into the program and be a part of the community will get to participate. After all, as Duckworth's book Grit outlines,and some research at Google, effort coupled with curiosity is an important predictor of success.

I got a rejected email first and then I got the accepted email with an apology. So I am assuming I was among the originally accepted startups, now since everyone is going to be accepted, the originally accepted startups will have a disadvantage and will we still get an advisor? The thing to rejoice is being accepted out of a pool of competition but now since everyone is accepted, its just something usual.

I think the originally accepted companies will have an advisor in addition to other resources, whereas other companies will have access to everything except an advisor. Src: Their latest email.

Was wondering the same.

this is awesome! Let's go. Been an interesting day haha

Great call! Thanks!

Not sure if it make sense. No competition no fun.

How does that make any sense? Now instead of competing with 3000 applicants, you're competing with 15000 for the $10,000. Your chances of winning the prize just decreased 5 fold.

From the email

you’ll be able to use the company update feature so that you’ll also be eligible for one of the hundred $10k equity-free grant

So I think the competition is still among the actually selected 3000 applicants and there will be one slot for the rest of them.

My cofounder and I were cheers-ing about our acceptance an hour ago and now we're texting about this y-combinator screw-up--we're not accepted after all!

For all the other founders and teams who had that momentary confidence of outside reenforcement -- remember how unstoppable and brave you felt in that moment! That glow doesn't have to go away with a retraction email. Hold onto the feeling. Go make great things, go make a difference.

I became a developer after spending odd hours trolling Hnews and finding learn to code tutorials; I watched all of the previous Startup School videos on my own time; and despite the discord that can sometimes occur on this platform, I really looked up to Ycombinator.

While this is a feelings setback, I'd like to just say -- I wouldn't be where I am in my career without the Hacker News community that got my started on my way. So I think what I'd like to focus on tonight (while I nurse my hurt pride) is thanking everyone here who comments and submits links and reaches out and spreads the openness and community that drew me to software in the first place.

People who run things will make lots of mistakes; communities will make lots of mistakes, too; but if we just keep talking, we'll stay moving in the right direction.

Thanks to all the Ycombinator commenters here responding to the very justified hurt and embarrassment being shared here. Cheers to a tomorrow full of possibilities.

For all the other founders and teams who had that momentary confidence of outside reenforcement -- remember how unstoppable and brave you felt in that moment! That glow doesn't have to go away with a retraction email.

Exactly. It doesn't make two fucks what YC thinks of you, your company, or anything else. Just go win without them. Muster up a little outrage if that sort of thing helps you, be pissed for 30 minutes or so, then buckle down and start writing code, or whatever you need to do to move forward.

As a wise man once said:

Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It's a very mean and nasty place, and I don't care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't about how hard you hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward; how much you can take and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done! Now if you know what you're worth, then go out and get what you're worth, but you gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain't where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody.

Yes, a thousand times yes! Life is so hard for so many; that's exactly what we're working for, why we want to make a difference!

And if I may add to your excellent quote, as Leslie Knope said, "This thing we call failure is not the falling down, it's the staying down."

Thank you mindcrime, we'll be back at again in the morning!

> Let me tell you something you already know.


Can't check them right now, so I'm not posting the direct video link, but hearing it is even better than reading it.

I have the good fortune of living in Vietnam, so all this happened while I was sound asleep, and when I woke up I read the rejection email first, as it arrived later and was higher up my inbox. Time for coffee and back to coding.

Vietnam? Hey I am a Vietnamese founder here :) I'm a business person so you might not like me, but it's good to see a fellow founder in Vietnam!

Best of luck on your coding, I'm happy to know that you're already back at it! Inspiration for me!

I felt really downbeat for a while after getting that redaction email.

This comment picked me right back up. Thank you.

My cofounder just texted me: "Yeah, our first rejection, hopefully there’s way way more :)" I hope you have many more rejections in your future, too AniketP1! We'll be out there getting turned down for our wacky ideas too, right there with you! :)

We are entrepreneurs, we eat NOs for breakfasts.

Cheery-NOs. Breakfast of champions.


Heck yeah!"No's" only make us stronger!

Mistakes happen, but it should not have taken them over two hours to contact people who'd been celebrating their acceptance.

We got the "you're in!" email, and the whole team was pumped. Having to go back to them hours later to let them down was really hard to do.

The fact that Ycombinator sent the "oops, sorry!" email from a do-not-reply address and basically did nothing to make up for it showed a real lack of respect for the companies that were affected.

Will it make a difference in the long run? Probably not, no one wants to shoot themselves in the foot over what is basically just a disappointment. But it really does lower Ycombinator's brand for a lot of people. Not a great example to set.

And worst part is had shared with family and friends .. such a let down ..

I really feel terrible about that part in particular.

My team and family were already celebrating. It was humiliating to have to email my wife and tell her about the denial email.

That is painful. I'm so sorry we put you through that.

I'm more embarrassed than anything. I put it on Twitter/Facebook.

I agree - not only should we have not made the error but we should have caught it and fixed it faster. My apologies.

I think you can use this as a teachable moment for the course. Lesson 10: when a launch goes wrong - the YC Startup School Story

The "do not reply" was particularly upsetting.

I can totally understand why. It was yet another mistake - we rushed to get the email out and didn't realize it was sent from a no-reply address. You can reach us at startupschool@ycombinator.com and you are absolutely welcome to do so.

And the “accepted to audit” stings super hard. We were accepted and then rejected. I’m a stoic person but this really hurts. We were on a pathway to earning success with help and now we’re off again on our own in the wilderness.

You're right. That phrase is lame and in this context is salt in the wound.

People at YC are trying to come up with ways to make this at least partly better. If you have an idea, or anyone else has, this thread would be a good place to post it. Or email the team at startupschool@ycombinator.com.

Don’t think there’s much that would help short of actual help like startup school provides.

Giving us a chance to shine is what gave us so much hope. For those 90 minutes anyway.

I get that it wasn’t malicious but knowing this doesn’t really change anything for us. Thanks.

I sent an email on how I can help somewhat fix this.

Right. The accepted to audit should have just said "you didn't get in" accepted to audit made it briefly seem like we were still accepted to something.

I sent a pretty snarky email. Glad it didn't go through.

You can email us at startupschool@ycombinator.com.

Hi I have sent an email and would really appreciate your feedback on my application.I thought startup school was for people just starting out and need the most help but it doesn't seem like that.Thanks

Hi! Please see https://blog.ycombinator.com/startup-school-every-company-th... - I think you will be happy with the result!

You're right - it took us a while to realize we had made the mistake, and then we responded as fast as we could.

There ain't no do over with email :)

Ran a legit email service for over a decade and at one point we had list with 800k people it, I'd pucker up every time I had to hit "send".

what exactly, actually happened?

Exactly! I replied to the 'apologies' email and only to find out it also came from a no-reply address. Fine.

Guys - we are deeply sorry for this screw-up. I know we got people's hopes up only to let you down, and I feel terrible about it.

While it doesn't excuse our mistake, for what it's worth, Startup School makes the classes and all the materials available online to everyone. So even if you didn't get accepted to the advisor track, we hope you will follow along, watch the videos, and find the material useful.

My apologies on behalf of everyone at YC for letting you down. We're still trying to figure out exactly what happened, and make sure nothing like it happens again.

Willing to share details about:

- how many companies applied?

- how many were accepted into advisor track?

- how many received false acceptance email (if not the difference of the former 2)?

For anyone curious, the answers are:

- 15k applied

- 4k were accepted

- 11k received false acceptance emails


Mistakes happen. Waiting two hours to tell people, then doing so from a do-not-reply address, however, is a poor way to handle them.

If we make a mistake like this as a company, we at least try to make up for it in some way, and make our users feel valued.

It took us a little while to realize what we had done. Once we did, we sent out the correction email as soon as we could. That's not an excuse, but I don't want it to feel like we were intentionally leaving people in the dark.

Sending the follow-up from a do-not-reply was also our mistake. Our default outbound address is do-not-reply, and we forgot to change it as we were drafting the correction. Please follow up to startupschool@ycombinator.com. :(

The 'apologies' email was another bulk no-reply message. Maybe they misapologised, too.


I hope this doesn't sound antagonistic since you're already getting a lot of flak for what seems to be an honest mistake. (I was accept-rejected fwiw).

Could you shine some light on what your criteria were for acceptance? I have now seen a few projects that were actually accepted. They seemed pretty generic and not at all what I thought would have been accepted. As products, the only benefit they seemed to have were that they were in maybe the alpha or beta stage of development. For our future reference, could you please elaborate a bit on what you were looking for in these applications?

P.S. If you were accepted, congratulations! I am not saying your product is generic :)

How about making this up to those of us who got false-acceptance emails by providing some feedback on our applications?

I'm happy to do that. Email us at startupschool@ycombinator.com with your name so we can do that.

My cofounder who led the application will be doing so in a moment! Thanks.

If you're going to do this, maybe do it for everyone and not buried in a comment.

Yeah, this should be an actual initiative. Work overtime if you have to, at least give us a bit of the mentorship that everybody here wanted.

I appreciate the initiative, very nice way to apologize. Thanks

This would be awesome. I’m sure all founders would love just a little insight on why they were rejected so that they can try to address the shortcomings.

Pretty certain I incorrectly received the "Ooops, you didn't actually email"

Please confirm this bug. My company is basically a unicorn.

"Oh youre a founder huh?"


"What company?"

"We are in stealth-mode, currently"

"Ah, what stage are you at, can you share that?"

"Yeah, like I said, we are a stealth-mode pre-unicorn startupschool audit track company"

No really, it's unicorn

List of achievements:

Startup School Advisor Track for 20 minutes

Lol! I think this comment is the greatest thing to come out of the error.

I have been feeling less than and embarrassed all day, but this little back and forth really cheered me up.

I salute you and celebrate your epic comment! hahaha

Thank you for the apology. I think all of us in tech know how these things can happen and so I personally appreciate it. If YC wasn't so cool, we wouldn't be so bummed. :)

Thanks again and good luck with everything!

That really stung to get the "Your in" then "Sorry, Out" emails, but mistakes happen and appreciate the apology here.

Did the "Your in" emails go to everyone who applied, or was it a subset of applications?

Judging by similar forum threads elsewhere, it looks like some who were accepted were initially rejected and many who were rejected were initially accepted.

Has this thread been manually deleted from the HN front page?

Definitely not. It was being downgraded a bit by software for reasons unrelated to the topic, but I just turned that off.

submissions automatically get docked when the number of comments exceeds the number of votes after a certain number.

We feel awful about this and we're working on a solution. We'll have more to share in the next 24 hours, hopefully sooner.

Edit: ok, here's what we've got: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17806459.

You guys do a lot for the community. You made a mistake and are genuinely working to make the best out of it.

I think the least we can do in exchange for the free content from auditing the course is forgive you.

If nothing else, this situation is just more motivation to succeed in spite of obstacles and setbacks.

Update: we will have something to share tonight, and I think people will be pretty happy :)

Thank you so much!

Thank you !

Happy :)

Thank you!

Thank you

This mistake does not make YC look bad, we don't feel good for sure, but everybody makes mistakes, those videos you put on Youtube help startups everyday, I think you guys are all exhausted, an apology and more info is enough, $10K is nothing, the network we should've built is what we've missed.

Thanks Sam, I think you can surprise the "rejects" by doing something to inspire them to continue to pursue their projects and dreams, maybe a competition and winner gets something. Maybe invite them to an event in MV and have a party.

Don't rush, there are plenty of options.


Thank you for genuinely helping out guys here!

Initial reactions maybe harsh from everyone since lots of people are emotionally attached to their startups and YC at the same time. But, in some time, I trust most of the champions here will understand this error.

Guys keep plugging! I see lots of community already being formed here to share their lecture journey. I believe it's nice to have that kind of place to interact with everyone.

Thanks Sam. It was a crappy situation, but the way you folks have been handling it helps take the sting out.

Thanks! We were extremely excited about the news and reading the rejection email later was heart breaking.

Thanks Sam, this impacted people in real ways. I think you guys can do right by folks.

Thank you Sam!

Thank you Sam

Thank you!

Thank you.

I was just accepted, and then rejected.

Felt like shit.

You don't need a "startup school" or a YC acceptance to be successful.

This application allowed me to type like 45 words about my company, and that was it. I imagine they had thousands of applicants.

Once a week with an advisor that's working with 25 other companies? Startup School definitely won't be the thing that moves the needle for your project.

Pessimistically, I see this more as a feeder for YC. This "software glitch" is somewhat telling of the care they are putting into this. In other words, "It's a numbers game".

Keep putting in work. We don't need $120K for 7% in funding for "connections" to get our products off the ground anymore. We don't need this. We can bootstrap.

Sorry about that. I had a different experience. First rejected and then accepted. Seems like one of the boolean flags was messed up.

Same here. I was rejected then accepted

Same here. read the rejection letter and went straight to bed and woke up to the acceptance email. I'm sure the initial 4k accepted all had the "reject" email.

Can you share your idea / stage?

Fintech industry, we're in the development stage.

So much love for everyone who received an "accepted" email in error. Don't let it get you down.

I just got rejected with https://dependabot.com despite $6k MRR and 2,000 active users. I'm sure there are lots of other great companies in the same situation - let's keep building great things.


We’re building a massively ambitious banking alternative. Principal engineer ex JP Morgan Chase Senior Dev. Angel investment from the founder of a hugely disruptive British Unicorn. Support from a number of other important sources.

Not to criticize the decision making process, historical precedent speaks for itself. We thought we fit the mould but apparently not.

Back to implementing.

That seems promising ... hope you keep working on it.

First product will launch in October (Nexves dot com) would appreciate any comments Jared.

Got ~1,000 users desperate to test the beta and a very compelling reason 100k will migrate in the first 12 months.

Startup School would of been external gratification of what we know is an awesome idea.

We’ll deliver.

Just FYI, when I tried to go to your site it doesn't resolve without the leading www.

Also you have a typo: "Outwith" -> "Without"

Best of luck with your launch!

Thank you for that. The worst part though is the part where they say "You got accepted to audit the course" .... doesn't everyone get accepted to audit it?

They do. And I apologize for the wording - it was not intended to be misleading.

mistakes happen, but great to see you totally owning it up!

Given the sheer volume of applications, my guess is they rely heavily on your LinkedIn profile to pattern match based on their profile of a successful YC candidate.

So yeah just because you don't look like what they want you to look like (school, history, network, etc), that's no judgement on you. Keep on keeping on.

This may be pretty close to the mark.

I just got accepted (after initially rejected) and my startup is pre-launch and has zero customers/revenue. But I do have a degree and have worked for a dozen very large enterprises e.g. Apple, Oracle.

It's great to be accepted but my passion for my startup hasn't changed one iota. Still going to work 24/7 regardless and so should everyone. Do it because you love it.

That may be a heuristic, but if I'm any example, it's not all there is. I don't have a university degree and I doubt the companies I've worked for would be known by YC.

I'm sure your 4k karma helped though ;)

Totally agree. The application for startup school was short and easy to fill out. Even with the normal YC application, it's basically getting you to write a business plan which is useful in of itself.

Not sure if it'll help anyone, but I feel better when I see the backgrounds of the people who got in:


Wow...great point, 7% female founders in the first 9 pages, and out of 300+ members only 1 AA female and 1 AA male...

Yeah, very telling indeed.

7% female founders in first 10 pages. That's a downer.

There’s another obvious pattern if you look at enough profiles

Solid facts....I went through every page and yeah...smh, definite pattern and type.

Wow, I can't believe you got rejected. Email and ask for feedback on your application as mentioned above.

Did you get a rejection email? I haven’t received an accepted or rejected email yet.

I appreciate that.

Startup School Lesson One: How not to treat your users.

Thank you.

I’m not upset with YC.

The program is free after all.

So I’m not a paying customer.

And I am incredibly grateful to YC for everything they do for the startup community.

But it is absolutely gutting to get the thumbs up, tell the team, and then get the thumbs down.

I can handle it, but my team is demoralised.

Time to find something to boost them up.

I appreciate your understanding, but just because it's a free program doesn't give us an excuse to hurt people's feelings. I hope you find something to boost your team soon.

I just went through the exact same thing with my team...makes me look unreliable as well as them. of course we are all understanding in the long run. but at the time...kills morale

I never even applied, but I urged a buddy to and he come to me basically jumping joy that he was accepted, and I've been frantically pinging him on Slack to make sure he didn't get the oopsie error email and that he was really accepted.

I feel for you all. :/

Here's what I'd do if I were YC, especially having seen in this thread and on Twitter a bunch of seemingly promising startups that were rejected from Startup School:

Add a second chance--not just for those who received an incorrect email today, but for everyone who was rejected but fully audits the program. Toward the end of the ten weeks, allow startups auditing the course to submit a progress report or a second application, with some of those candidates--perhaps those that have shown the most growth over the course of the program?--accepted to participate in a later 10-week advisory program like the one Startup School offers on the advisory track. (I'm sure a chance at $10k would be appreciated as well.)

That would make Startup School a more appealing proposition for those who were not accepted, relieve some of the sting for those who are upset today, and to some extent correct for the fact that the selection process is inherently imperfect. From YC's perspective, it would increase participation in Startup School without requiring huge numbers of new advisors; you'd have 10 weeks to find a couple of new advisors for a small batch of accepted second-chancers, or perhaps some of the first-run advisors would be willing to commit to a second round. Plus this would give YC another opportunity to get in early with some of the most promising startups they rejected today.

(I think giving hope to people who were misinformed today would help alleviate some of the PR problems YC is surely going to face, but I'd add this as a permanent feature of Startup School anyway.)

I hope yours was not sent by mistake because I just got another email saying my application wasnt actually accepted. Which I understand because I was surprised to be accepted since our demo is passport protected and they could not have seen what is it that we have built so far.

Oh you guys, what a painful fuckup. I'm so sorry. More apologies coming. (Edit: and hopefully a fix, as well.)

I received two emails.

1. Class Begins Next Week!

> Thank you for applying to Startup School Online. We're sorry to say that your startup was not selected for the upcoming Advisor track....

What I understood is that I was not selected. But then 1:30 minutes later I got a second email.

2. Your Company was ACCEPTED: Startup School Advisor Track

> Thank you for applying to Startup School Online. Your application looked promising and we would like to invite you to the Advisor track!

So I am accepted? I see others have the opposite happen so I am confused.

When I click on the link and log in, it shows:

> Thank you for applying to Startup School!

> We will let you know whether you’re accepted by August 20th, 2018.


The website has updated to show that I have been accepted. Good luck to those who haven't received an update yet.

Yeah, I got the same, I'm going to let things settle down over the next few hours and keep coding, I'm wondering if there is another rejection on its way. :)

I see this in a monty python-esque tone:

"we are happy to inform you that we are very sorry to inform you of our previous information that you were accepted to starupschool, when that was sadly, an error on the part of our rejection system falsely telling you that you were accepted, so I am here to tell you that sadly, you were not accepted by our rejection system and your rejection has summarily been rejected by our acceptance department of rejected rejections and sent to the appropriate signatories for sign-off on your sign-up down-below.

See you next tuesday should this actually be a rejection of your rejection and an ackknowledgement of your acceptance, whichever may come first"

Man, I hope you're start-up has something to do with comedy, that was awesome!

This is awesome!

Same! Fingers crossed

Yeah, this was totally not cool. I much like most of you was not expecting to get accepted, I basically applied for the hell of it. None the less, it was quite a let down to receive that second email. Especially after telling a few family and friends. Kind of sucks, but hey it was an accident all we can do is move past it.

I'm in the same boat. I wonder what some of the people who apply for the hell of it could do if they were joined together to make a company. There are a ton of really talented people on here.

You're right - it was extremely not cool. We're very sorry.

Hey, please, in the good name of YC, explain this on twitter. Some people are kinda lost over there. I got an invite as participant and got a reply saying I am not an advisor (but nothing about participating)

Yes - we're replying to all the twitter threads right now.

We just got the acceptance and apology email. I’m not going to get upset about it. But I’ll float this idea, for anyone who didn’t get accepted, would you be interested in a discord/Slack/whatever and share feedback of each other’s progress?

The thing I will miss most is the weekly focus to deliver some progress. No reason that can’t happen in a non-official capacity. DM me on Twitter if you’re interested: https://twitter.com/Martin_Adams

Cool idea Martin, thinking the same. I know some founders who may be interested in this. Feel free to email me at:


Cool idea, interested, please email me: linyang@tutamail.com OR linyang@tencent.com

I'm here because of the same reason -- looks like I'm not alone. I've had a YC advisor for about 1.5 hours, shared good news with people around, and now I'm going to tell everyone it was a fake news. How many people received this email? IMO all the people who got the 1st acceptance e-mail should get in. If not now, then in the next cohort.

I wish we could do that but we simply don't have the advisor capacity. If it has been a smaller number, we would certainly have done that.

I'm willing to bet everyone that applied got the email.

It's like two visa lotteries I applied two: I wasn't selected in either of them, but I knew people who were, and then this happened: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-visa-mistake-idUSTRE7...


Told my team.

We celebrated.

Then received apology/rejection.

Honestly, while it would be a low probability of us getting into the YC Batch, we thought we were high probability of getting into online startup school.

We have an active MVP for 2 months, a Fortune 500 enterprise customer, and a solid market opportunity using previously validated use cases.

We thought we were a really good fit for this program.

I’m tempted to email to ask them to check again.

One error could be two?


I'm very sorry to say that the second email was correct. But you can email us at startupschool@ycombinator.com to confirm.

Please stay tuned. People at YC are determined to make this right.

You’d expect this from other accelerators, everyone holds YC to higher standards.

I don’t think it’s wrong to expect better in this instance. In the age of social media news travels fast. I’d received congratulatory messages from several YC alum within 10 minutes of the first email.

That’s life.

I got it too. Went for a nice long walk and made great plans about taking over the world! Came back and saw the "sorry" email. Crushing!

But what to do. That's life! We all can use this as motivation!

And let's stop with the blame/reputation stuff - it was a mistake and they apologized. Not like YOU never made any mistakes!

Startup school emails are confusing.

First I received a rejection email than acceptance email - I would have rejoiced - but the 'Get Started' Link goes to 'We will let you know by August 20th' page.

Same boat. I imagine there's still some data to fix on their end.

This should be fixed now.

I was initially accepted and then not. I've started a couple of companies, exited 1 and my second is doing well (vc funded and growing) if there is one thing I know is that events "like" these happen all of the time to startups. 1 minute you're flying high and the next you're 6 feet under :) How you react to these moments define you and decrease or increase the chance of success for your startup. Go to work!

For everybody affected by this, now might be a good time to (re) read pg's famous "How to Not Die" essay:


A great quote from the essay:

Startups rarely die in mid keystroke. So keep typing!

We were also accepted and then rejected. Doesn't exactly instill confidence.

You're right. We're going to have to work extremely hard to regain people's confidence.

I knew it was a little premature to spend the $10k

$10K? There'll be no much money left after you live in the bay area for 10 weeks

From believing we got the first break we’ve had in years of struggle to being crushed.

Will it stop us from keeping going? It shouldn’t but it might be enough of a blow to slow us down and depress our chances.

I already told people. I scheduled PTO at work to focus. I was on cloud nine and now in the deep dumps.

I'm so sorry for the completely unnecessary emotional rollercoaster we sent you on. There's really no excuse.

Having said that, there's no reason why this should keep you from working on your company. I hope you'll decide to give it a shot anyway.

Jarred, perhaps this can be a small help. I organised a group of startup school 2017 alumni in London to do the course together, so we have a large number of ‘advisor track’ graduates from last year in our community. Been in contact to explain the problems you guys are having, a number of them have said they can do weekly office hours style sessions. For us, the structure of checking in and having a group that you’re accountable to is a huge part of the value in having an advisor. Perhaps this ‘advisor lite’ option can help and offer these founders support at a time when they need it?

Great idea! Thank you. I'm in London and really hope YC could offer this option.

We’re not even considering giving up but I worry it will damage our morale which just went from high, to sky high, to the dark pits. Thanks.

> I worry it will damage our morale which just went from high, to sky high, to the dark pits.

That's just daily life at a startup. You're getting the full authentic experience. This ain't no Disney World ride. It's going to suck and it's going to suck most of the time. Okay actually maybe this is like a Disney World ride.

Would anyone be interested in starting a group for rejected apps? I think we could all use this mishap as a motivational boost.

I got a Discord server for us, let's get over there, share some jokes: https://discord.gg/36jp8H

can we start a slack channel and Audit as a group? co-advise each other. we can call it

"the Slacker Start Up school for Start Ups that Can't Read Good and Want to Do Other Stuff Good Too"

Created https://chat.dog/startup-school to follow Startup School over the next few weeks!

if getting funded on demo day is like getting drafted to the NBA, applying to startup school was like trying out for JV team.

is being told we got accepted to audit something like being invited to watch the game from outside the stadium using binoculars as long as we promise to keep the cheering to a quiet roar?

Whelp, what a mess. Every time I tell my self not to apply to these things but then it's like Godfather 3. But wait, this time it was different!! Oh, wait. Nope. Same result. Only this time it feels much much worse. FUBAR.

Yes, FUBAR is an apt description....

As long as it isn't SNAFU (situation normal -- all fouled up), you should be okay.


So same here. Its a bit of a disappointment but mistakes happen lets move on. As a solo founder who is not surrounded by a startup ecosystem, what I was most keen on was the group feedback, discussions and I guess some external accountability. Would any others here who have been put into the audit group, be keen to try this in another way? Facebook or hangouts groups? Open to ideas.

I'm in. Also solo here.

Let's get over Discord: https://discord.gg/36jp8H

Getting "accepted" and then rejected made me finally realize how badly I want to try my hand at creating my product idea and starting a start up. So thanks YC for the bug, see you at YC W19 applications.

I am very glad you want to apply for W19!

Startup school's valuable first lesson in customer communication and PR is right here. Well, software screwed up the experience and crushed the expectations of so many, including me. Moving on :)...

You're right - it was a huge lesson for us that we need to have way better protections in place to prevent something like this from happening.

Acknowledge the effort you're taking to correct this snafu.

having been in a startup for over a decade (i've since exited), i can tell you that this is something that any team should take on the nose and accept. highs are very high and lows are very low. mistakes happen, and you will make them too. big ones. live as a team, die as a team. stop bitching and get back to work.

[EDIT] ...drink the celebration beers anyways.

Grrr.. rejection email after 2 hrs! Wish I got the email before I let my husband know.

YC is certainly doing their best to provide resources to the overall entrepreneur community. While it can be emotionally upsetting to be dealt the hands presented - consider it as set-back that entrepreneur face on a daily basis - It is not uncommon to be dealt rejections and be disappointed by mistakes of others, the key is to adapt accordingly and move on. (Just ask any entrepreneurs who try to sell their projects, get a verbal confirmation, but in the end the "budget" fell through. In this case, what we asked for is free to begin with.)

We are all talented. We do not need YC validation / school acceptance to prove that we are talented. Build your application and let the metrics speak for itself. Turn your frustration into energy and motivation. Learn from the experience and move on , good luck implementing everyone.

I just want to say we are really sorry for this error. This is not the standard we hold ourselves to at YC. I personally apologize to the companies that were both rejected and accepted. Trust that this provides us with even more motivation to make sure that Startup School is great for all participants.

It's ok, we forgive you. Oh wait, due to an error we meant to say actually we don't forgive you.

"Trust that this provides us with even more motivation to make sure that Startup School is great for all participants."

This is a little tone-deaf when replying to people who thought they were participants, I'm afraid.

See: https://www.startupschool.org/about

In addition to having full access to all the lectures and class office hours, you will also:

- Be assigned an advisor and join their group of companies. Advisors are members of the YC alumni network.

- Have virtual advisory sessions, in the form of Group Office Hours, every week via online video.

- Have access to a community of international founders through the Startup School forum.

- Be responsible for updating your Advisor on your progress once a week.

- You must submit at least 9 out of your 10 weekly updates and attend 9 out of 10 group office hour sessions.

- Upon successful completion, you will receive a certificate of completion and the opportunity to share what you're working on with the public.

- 100 startups that complete the course will be chosen to receive $10K in equity-free funding.

so how many companies are actually accepted into the course?

Not sure the number was specified, but seems like >100

Since 100 will be chosen to receive the 10,000$

But only 25 were accepted to the "Advisor" track, and there seems to be only one set of reject/accept emails being sent out. It seems to me there are only 25 accepted for advising, but maybe even auditing companies are eligible for the $10k?

My reading of the acceptance email is that it's 25 companies per advisor and that there's probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 advisors, if last year's numbers are any indication. So anyone accepted at this point still only has around 4% chance of getting the $10k. But the advice and lectures should still be valuable for everyone who doesn't get the money.

I got the same email. Accepted then apologies. I’m not sure what the audit school is? I’m so confused

"Audit school" is just watching the lectures online.

Doesn't everyone who applied get to audit the course .... ?

That's my understanding too

So basically we've just been told that we got accepted into Community College.

Worse! Community college has acceptance criteria, auditing has none.

Accepted to audit === "you signed up, congrats"

I have so many GIFs for this moment :)

I find it interesting how badly this has affected some people. It seems that a large majority are upset from gloating about it in on their "networks". Perhaps this is a lesson that you shouldn't need to rely on YC to succeed.

Officially the best day of my life. - We almost had a minor heart attack as we received an email stating that we were not accepted. But we are in ....it was a Y-Com email trigger problem. (honest mistake)

Congrats! Can you share your idea and background?

We are making an app where you can instantly book experiential homestays for travellers.

Accepted, then rejected but “accepted into Audit course”, is this a joke?!

WTF? A rollercoaster for sure. You're in! You're out! Boooo!

Ha such a roller coaster of emotions for us over at https://vrooms.tv

Excited, confused, super let down, then came here to see we weren't alone.

Yes. Startups are an emotional rollercoaster, but YC is supposed to help with that, not make it worse. We're so sorry that we did the wrong thing today.

YC is supposed to help with the rollercoaster? I thought you're just helping to make it go faster! :)

in and then out just like the other posters in this thread - very NOT HAPPY w/ YC today.

I received the following second email

"We are deeply sorry, but an error occurred in the software that triggers acceptance emails and you were actually supposed to receive the email below accepting you into the Startup School Advisor Track."

But now I want to be super sure ... ¿Are We In? If I login into the StartupSchool page , I don´t see anything yet.

Iikewise... reading this thread is keeping my excitement at bay. Hopefully we get a more concrete confirmation.

I was also accepted and rejected. Very upset and frustrated.

That's completely fair - and we're so sorry that our mistake left you feeling that way.

Rollercoaster of emotions. First email came in while I was at dinner with my super nosy girlfriend and I was dejected. Didn't even take my meal well.

Then acceptance email. Good thing I had a long list of things to achieve before I went public with rwjwction/acceptance. I am happy to be accepted. For all those rejected, I have applied to YC 6 times since 2012 or 2013 I think. All rejects. One business was adapted by government (it wasn't going to be super profitable, but was really key to my government ops plus led to a scholarship at MIT). Two startups floundered but led me to my current startup(pivot after pivot supported by a somewhat sufficient consultancy).

All in all continue executing. That's what important.

Keep going. Persistence is everything. YC isn't the endgame, but a step along the way to building a great business.

Obviously this situation is very confusing. Seems like an honest mistake. On the plus side, really love the sense of community this has created. Best of luck to those moving forward. Whether accepted or auditing this will be a huge learning opportunity.


Let me guess. That would be a hack to engage a list of post-rejection uninterested users.

I really think it was an honest mistake, especially because it was an email asking to be an advisor.

I received an emailed that said I wasn’t in then one said sorry you did get in. Is this accurate?

Sorry to everyone who received the opposite emails. If you believe in your vision, keep focused on serving your customers and growing your business.

Yes, the second email is accurate.

Got the rejected email then was accepted. https://www.startupschool.org/courses/2 doesn't seem to fully confirm I am in - just says:

    Thank you for applying to Startup School!
    The course will start on August 28th, 2018

    Share with fellow entrepreneurial friends.

    Course videos will be available soon after filming has ended. In the meantime, you can check our library of Startup Material.

I am in the same boat, and there are a few others who have commented similarly. My guess is that there's just a bit of repair that needs to be done on YCs side.

Applied for the program and got acceptance -> shared with team -> rejection -> shared with team.

And it didn't really bother me much.

Can understand that getting into the program can be a great thing. But these things are expected. With strong conviction on the idea small hickups doesn't seem to have any impact.

BTW, for those applied to this program should consider applyin g for https://unusual.vc/academy/. They invest 100k in convertible notes.

I'm still confused. I got rejected and then accepted. I'm sure it's a fuck up but I urge YC to send a mail again to shed some clarity to those are seriously affected by this.

The second email is the correct one.

Thanks snowmaker. But if If my company is selected, I should see some related content right? I'm still seeing the message we will let you know by 20th August.

Thank you, i'm all excited about the journey now!!

I guess this is more motivation to work on my actual YC application :)

I look at it as motivation to succeed with or without them, so I can give them all the finger and big hearty (but good-natured) "Fuck You" in a couple of years. shrug

I just got the acceptance error email, I feel pretty let down.

I even woke up early (AEST) to check emails and was wonderfully surprised when I got the first email at 6.30am. Not a great start to the day.

I received the ‘accepted’ one in the midnight, and We celebrated the whole 15 minutes, bought a round ticket as well, I was thinking about book a room on Airbnb, but we still have work to do. I got the 'sorry' one just before I shutdown my laptop, I don't know how to tell my friends, it'll take 2 or days to forget it. We're absolutely gonna keep going. There was a mistake, we were not accepted by Startup School, that's all I need to say. Everyone will be fine.

The first email I received was

Thank you for applying to Startup School Online. We're sorry to say that your startup was not selected for the upcoming Advisor track.

I then received a second email

We are deeply sorry, but an error occurred in the software that triggers acceptance emails and you were actually supposed to receive the email below accepting you into the Startup School Advisor Track.

It seems like this is the opposite of what most other have experienced according to the comments. I guess regardless, everyone is still in?

I got the same and this is not cool

You're right. It was very far from cool.

Hi everyone, I have an idea, why we just live YC along for a few hours, let them do what they need to do and waiting for the result. If they have to answer almost same questions in here or on twitter, they'll have fewer people to do the 'update', let's just wait and talking to each other.

Here is the key info: 'Update: we will have something to share tonight, and I think people will be pretty happy :)'

The emotional roller coaster ended at confusion & frustration at reading “accepted to audit”, is this a joke?! What’s there to be accepted to audit?!

I'm very sorry to say it is not a joke - it was a very serious mistake.

Are we(in audit) eligible for 10k grant?

For those who didn't get in but would still like to join a slack group of founders: https://join.slack.com/t/startupschool-rejects/shared_invite...

Guys, maybe it will be reasonable to send emails with text like “check out your acceptance thru the following link”? Doing this you will track openings and if smth is going wrong, you will work only with guys that saw the wrong info. And what about the last your decision: it will be really hard for you, but it’s the only one way to fix everything. So, good luck to you with this and thank you!

Hey I was like really cool there for an hour or two :)

Lol, likewise, I didn't share it fortunately. I was busy looking through the FAQ and what to expect and looking through my calendar to figure out scheduling. Oh well, ish happens, at least they will let us audit. As usually, those of us rejected can self organize in groups of 4-5 for a mastermind group as a substitute for the advisory track.

I will never believe this. It is not by mistake.

Hard to imagine a reason we would screw something up so badly intentionally....

I'm glad I only told one person, because it is pretty heartbreaking to get un-accepted. But I get it- software glitches make mistakes, people make mistakes, companies make mistakes. If something THIS small was going to deter me, maybe I should just give up and go get a regular job. But that's not gonna happen! Let's do this!

I got an email that we were rejected, and then two hours later that we were ACCEPTED to the Advisor Track... basically the other way around to what most people has commented in this thread... but still waiting for tomorrow to find out if there is any clarification to this. When I login I do not see the famous Auditor Track...

Likewise... I have also heard that others ONLY got the acceptance email. Seems like something went wildly wrong.

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact