I noticed a few mistakes. I only skimmed this, so there may be more, but these were the obvious ones:
1. "Y Combinator invests 5k + 5k per founder in exchange for 6-10%
Should be 11k + 3k per founder in exchange for 2-10% (but almost
2. "According to PG, every partner reads every app over a period
of about 10 days."
The partners no longer read every application. Alumni reviewers do a first pass.
Better to start from the fact that a partner reading applications will read
70-100 per day, and do the math based on that.
3. "Oh god yes, we think of ourselves as just utterly terrible at
picking these terms."
The "terms" must be some kind of transcription error. Teams?
4. "They truly would love to have every single company they fund
be a "winner" even if there weren’t as many mega companies."
This is the exact opposite of what we think. We're looking
for outliers. That's why we like
to fund crazy ideas. There's nothing we like better than funding
an idea that has a small chance of succeeding, but will be huge if
Of course, once we accept a startup, we want it to succeed. But
that is a separate question.
5. "The unofficial YC slogan is "Make something people want.""
That's the official slogan. (The unofficial one is
"Never a dull moment," referring to the fact that with
so many startups there is always something extreme
happening on any given day.)
6. "My thoughts on the demo are actually that it doesn’t play a
major role in YC’s decision."
The demo can matter a lot. It depends on the type of startup.
If you're in a situation where you ought to have something to
show for your work so far, it's bad not to. And no matter what
your situation, it helps greatly if you have a great demo.
7. "Make sure you try your hardest to get some recommendations."
Actually it would be better to expend that effort on your company
or the application. Don't spend a lot of time spamming YC alumni
trying to collect recommendations. They don't carry any weight
with us unless they are very strong. We can tell the difference
between a recommendation that's being made for our sake (because
the alum thinks it would damaging for us to overlook the application),
and one that's being made for the sake of the applicant (e.g. because
the alum is benevolent and they begged him to recommend
8. "PG has started to re-imagine YC as an institution."
It would be more accurate to say that I've started to talk openly
about such things. The imagining started surprisingly early.
One point which I really was hoping to see covered in the OP article was timing.
Timing as to when to apply based on your startup's current roadmap.
We've been working on our startup for several months, will be ready to "pre-launch" beta right around the time we submit our application.
This leaves us in somewhat of a schism. A lot of discussions that I have briefly had with other entrepreneurs mention that they have either:
A) Just come up with an idea and are in the beginning development stage; or
B) Are already launched and are starting to pick up solid traction.
We are going to be in the middle of this, and will be starting to "pre-launch" at the beginning of next month with a solid MVP. So we would actually have quite a lot to show you in this application.
And then secondly, when it comes to the application, what do you prefer, direct links with logins to a live demo, or a 2-3 minute demo video of our startup discussing how we will plan to penetrate the market with our application.
I have a related question, though at a more micro scale: how early should we submit our application for the summer 2012 class?
The application page says that "Groups that submit early have a significant advantage because we have more time to read their applications." It also says we can edit and resubmit as often as we like. Based on this, we'd be inclined to submit as soon as we've completed all parts of the application to our own minimum standard of satisfaction, then update as needed.
However, I've seen pg say in another HN thread that YC does not reread applications when they are resubmitted, "so submit when you're ready for us to read it the only time we'll read it."
I perceive the trade-off to be that the earlier we submit, the more time YC partners have to read our application and engage with us, but the less time we have to improve the application itself before submitting (better demo, more up-to-date answers, etc). Do pg and the alumni have any advice on this question?
I realize the answer may end up being "you will need to evaluate that tradeoff and decide for yourself."
Timing doesn't matter to us. Timing matters more as you talk to successively later stage investors. E.g. it matters more for series B rounds than A rounds. It doesn't matter at all when you're applying to YC.
For the demo we greatly prefer a link to the actual thing.
I used to work in the Notional Weather Center in Norman, OK. I assure you, you're not the only one who's worked on this, or had the idea :)
Having worked on projects with granular geo and weather data before, make sure you validate your monetezation strategy with this early and often. You'd be surprised at how little big weather firms and "typical" weather data users don't care about the specificity and accuracy you provide. But, you'd also be surprised that there's a lot of valuable niches for weather data that you wouldn't normally pursue.
Specifically, I'm collecting barometer readings from Android devices - I currently receive about 10,000 measurements per day. I've been planning on monitizing by providing better short-term prediction using nowcasting techniques with radar imagery combined with the barometer network.
This seems like it could work to me, as there are other startups working on the nowcasting idea (Dark Sky, for one) and I haven't found anyone with a similar custom-built barometer network yet.
Does this sound like a plausible strategy to you? I've had only minimal advice from meteorologists/atmospheric scientists (though I'm starting to make some contacts) so I'd appreciate any advice you can give.
Sounds pretty cool, actually. You may want to reach out to specialized/boutique weather data firms and broker a supplier deal. There are larger weather companies out there that would love to aggregate your stuff to improve their current offerings (kind of a whole being greater than the sum of the parts model). I wouldn't try to go strike a deal with, say, power companies or insurers or whomever the end user may be. By itself, your data may not be very valuable, and these larger companies likely already own the relationships that would take you a long time to forge.
But, if any when you are sitting down with these companies, be smart in the contract signings. I know a few meteorologists who got their early cash flow from supplying data, but they negotiated a bad contract and it was a rough experience. I've also heard some stories of great relationships that led to exits, so each company is different.
Would you care to provide more information? I'd love to know more, but I don't see anyone else doing this. Maybe I'm searching poorly? I'm collecting barometer readings, and I'm been search for others doing the same thing for about 12-15 months now without luck. Any help would be appreciated.
did you think that you can measure such weather params as air humidity or rainfalls/snowfalls by how they affect signal strength between fixed transmitters/receivers (e.g. cell signal strength to handset when it is stationary at home at night? :) just my 5 cents
It looks like you are using wordpress, and doing DB hits on every pageload.
The easiest thing you might do to get things working again would be to install a caching engine, which will serve static files.
Am I reading this wrong or is the math on page 3 off by an order of magnitude?
If this is true: "every partner reads every app over a period of about 10 days" and there are "2000+ applications", then each parter would be reading 200 applications per day, not 20. That means you have 2 minutes to catch their attention, not 20 minutes. This only further supports the message of that page - impress fast.
Great catch! When the traffic dies down a little, I will be updating the text accordingly:
According to PG, every partner reads every app over a period of about 10 days. Assuming an 8 hour day with 5 minute breaks each hour means each app gets about 2 minutes of each partners time on average. (440mins per day / 200 apps per day = 2.2 mins per app)
Sorry to make you click so much - I set it up in a chapter model partly to help me keep track of everything. I think next time, I would make a single page with quick links to various sections. Lesson learned!
Ah gotcha. "I’m nontechnical but happened to have two technical friends and roommates who both worked at startups." doesn't say that they joined you at the incubator. :)
And yes, lucky indeed. I'm going to be traveling this summer some in hopes of finding one or multiple technical cofounders. Already have the idea well-planned out. They'll work, just need to get the tech cofounders so investors will even take a look.