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YC Rejection Emails Are Out
65 points by giologist 1858 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 108 comments
YC just sent out rejection emails.

Hi everyone -

Startups are hard. I hope you'll keep going in the face of adversity.

If so, Mixpanel is here to help. Forward a copy of your YC rejection email to free@mixpanel.com and we'll hook you up with our $150/month Startup plan, free forever.

Love what Mixpanel is doing, so we'd like to jump on the bandwagon. Offering our $59 Basic plan for free for life, and 50% off all other plans. Happy to keep startups secure :) Email your YC rejection letter to founders@tinfoilsecurity.com

Bummer: Delivery to the following recipient failed permanently:

Technical details of permanent failure: Message rejected by Google Groups. Please visit http://mail.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answe... to review our Bulk Email Senders Guidelines.

Sent! I only forwarded it, didn't include any extra text. Do I need to do anything else or should I just wait patiently for a response?

Thanks for offering this! Doesn't feel as much like rejection any more ;)

Responses should be winging their way through the ether.

My love for Mixpanel has now caused me a moral dilemma in which I briefly considered the ease with which I could forge an email and get free service.

Don't worry, the good angel won the battle, but uhhh, I hope you're doing something to verify email headers and all that jazz. If it had been the $350 plan, I don't know that I could have held out.

To anybody wondering whether or not you actually need this offer (and is legitimately eligible), jump on it now. I picked up an old Mixpanel plan on an AppSumo deal with no idea how to use it whatsoever, and it's now used integrally in a variety of projects.

Thank you. Very cool of you to extend that offer. Way to turn a downer into a positive for a lot of startup hopefuls. Mixpanel gets my love.

Can I also upgrade an existing account ? I took the 200k datapoint appsumo offer a while back.

Nice move Mixpanel... now just have to get up to those 10K monthly users!

Sent. Much thanks for this. $150 isn't exactly chump change at the moment.

Thanks so much for the offer - just signed up!

Thanks man

thanks bro :)

It's cool what you're offering, but IMO being rejected by YC isn't "adversity." Folks need to stop pinning their hopes on a handout from others. How about everyone uses their spare time to build something cool, deploy it to a cheap Web server costing $30/m, see if people use it, actually /sell/ product and then go straight to the big dog investors?

I actually think what he's offering is incredibly awesome. Startups at this level NEED a product like Mixpanel and he's offering it for free.

Not all rejection is "adversity" per se, but a lot of people had a non-negligible amount of hope resting on their YC applications. At this stage in the game everything that isn't a giant step forward can feel like a kick in the face. Kudos to Mixpanel for understanding that.

I think he's just being nice and using "we didn't get into YC" as a chance to show some love.

Investments are not a handout, homey.

The last two days have been an emotionally draining rollercoaster. On Nov. 13th, I checked my email about 10,000 times. This increased the anticipation, but after not hearing anything the whole day, I figured I got rejected and I was OK with it at that time. After all, I had anticipated this as the most likely outcome.

Then, I found out on HN that the interview notification got delayed by two days. This was followed up by a message from PG. It really sounded like he was interested in us! I thought to myself, "Why would a big shot like him have sent me such a question if he wasn't really interested in us???"

So, for the next day and a half I was daydreaming of getting into YC. We had then convinced ourselves, "We're getting an interview!"

Then, on Nov. 15, I checked my email another 10,000 times. The anticipation was unbearable. Then, when I got the rejection email, it hit me like someone punched me in the gut. It really hurt.

I feel like it would not have hurt so much if I hadn't have gotten my hopes up after the PG message.

I feel stupid since I should have known that a PG message is just that: a PG message. Why on earth did I over-interpret that?

Anyways, this really hurts...We took a day off to mourn, and then we'll get back up and keep pressing forward.

I wonder if I answered PG's question incorrectly...Did that have something to do with the rejection?

Anyways, at the end of the day, I still respect what PG and YC are doing. No point in being a sore loser. In my life, I've been rejected by a lot of places and accepted at others, and in the end, I am happy and grateful where I am now. You win some, you lose some.

I feel the same way as you. I won't be applying anymore: this was the first time I applied to an incubator. I built a startup before (that succeeded) and we got a lot of rejections, but thing is they were pretty much immediate. They didn't feel so bad, no anticipation was built, there were similar opportunities to try.

YC is unique, it gets emotional and the anticipation drains the very energy you need to succeed.

Good luck,

The emotional drain came as a bit of a surprise to me, and I am not even invested much in this forum or the idea of making a career via YC. I too have built and exited startups previously (without the warm embrace of an incubator) and some rejections from dealing with investors do happen due to the nature of the game but I cannot remember it ever having felt hostile in the way submitting to a black hole and receiving an automated form letter response from it does.

Thanks for your comment. Yeah, it really really sucked the wind out of me. It's not going to stop us from going forth, but it is a momentary pause to catch our breath and get back up from the floor.

You get used to it. The first time I can empathize. I've been rejected 3 times now, I hardly noticed this time and forgot about it until I saw something on HN. You stop pinning any sort of hope on getting accepted and keep building/marketing/promoting/improving and life goes on :)

Just got mine. Maybe next time! Gives a few more months to grow, gain users, build more features and change the world before YC interviews me. I got the email while arriving at a cafe to write more code to analyze Sandy, so the timing is apt I suppose. Teaser: http://i.imgur.com/c87tV.png

You could make huge fund money on hurricane preditions - it matters for commodity market. I know guys who made 300M because predicted Katrina. Approach this market!

I really like the pressureNET idea. I suspect this will be one of the "regrets" investors talk about later among themselves. Please don't slow down!

Bummer :( PressureNET is really cool. I can't wait to see where it goes!

Thanks! :) Really, all a YC rejection email does is get the motivators going. Plus, life in Montreal is really, really awesome and it would be tough to leave, even for a few months in the Bay Area.

As others are saying, it's almost a relief. I can keep chugging away, enjoying my current life and continuing to build my startup in the evenings. Life ain't bad.

Got a reject. I kinda feel relieved now. Time to focus on how I can do better with my project. All the best guys.

Curious how many other people got questions from the partners, website logins, video views, and then got rejected.

I didn't put much effort into my app, thinking it unlikely that they'd accept me, but darn it, they did get my hopes up a bit :-)

No questions. No video views. Rejected.

I applied as a solo founder, so I'm really not surprised.

In other news, I'm considering bringing on a technical cofounder that can take over with what I've built with my very minimal Ruby knowledge while I handle everything else. :)

I got 3 questions from pg, 10 video views, rejected

What were the questions if you don't mind my asking?


Which one of you is the CEO? How did the founders meet? What's going to happen to (my previous company that laid me off) if we fund you?

Oh man, thats gotta hurt worse than getting 0 questions!

Yup :(

Yeah, I got 1 question from PG, which really got my hopes up, because I wondered, "why would he ask this if he wasn't interested?" This was especially so since his question implied interest.

A real bummer. I wouldn't have been so heartbroken if it hadn't been for this message, which really got my expectations up. It's my own fault though.

0 questions a video view or 2 Rejected

I also had to deal with losing a co-founder during the application process, so I wonder if my perceived instability was a factor. Trying to figure out why if it was a serious reason (instead of just having too many other qualified candidates), although I understand their personal reasons stance.


A few days after the submission ended I realized that my video wasn't working, lol.

oh no. Sorry.

We had one video view (embedded in ycombinator.com) and two referrals to our landing page from ycombinator.com as well. No questions.

They created an account and poked around but we're both over 30 which I think is an auto-reject.

There are teams where everyone is over 30, and at least a few where the founders include people older than pg.

Granted, but fairly certain PG never looked at our company. This isn't the early days.

Whatever helps you sleep at night, but just know, that's entirely not the case :-)

I don't think so. They have had co-founders over 30 before.

Know I'll never win this, and it's not absolute but there is a bias.

"entirely." Just mostly.

We only got one view from California (Nov 6) and one from Germany (Nov 4).

8 video views, 0 questions, solo founder rejected.

50 video views and 0 questions. Got rejected.

We've got 7 video views, no questions

I got my rejection letter. My project is already built, and has 3000 users. I'm a solo developer, so thats probably why I was rejected. Also I'm 29 years old (started developing at 25). I'm the anti-YC demographic, so I wasn't really expecting to get accepted. The only think that kept me thinking I had a chance was the fact that the application process was actually pretty easy in my opinion. All the loggers out there talk like the application form is super hard, but I filled mine out in under a half hour. The questions are the kind of things you should be thinking about if you're doing things right. The hardest part for me was doing the video. The length came in at 0:56, because I was too nervous to say much other than the bare minimum.

Also, something else I want to say: The YC people really need to fix their application page. The day after I filled out my application, I came back to clean up the grammer, and when I went to click "save", it gave me the "expired link" error. All those grammer fixes down the drain. I never did go back and fix them. That may have also attributed to my rejection. In this day and age there is no excuse to screwing up basic crud :/

"but I filled mine out in under a half hour" See this: http://lloyd.tc/how-we-hacked-the-y-combinator-application-p...

It took them one month to fill out theirs.

I can't help but point out, it's grammar not grammer. It's hard being a solo dev though, it's very possible though and it sounds like you're on a great track with 3k users :)

To be fair, they recommend that you do not do any editing in the form itself and save your application somewhere else.

It was fun anyways. Applying really lit a fire under my ass. Since September, I learned a ton about web development and starting a business.

I actually think rejection is the key to getting better. I have been rejected before it's no big deal. YC is a big opportunity to progress, but it's not the only way to progress.

Me too. Best of luck next time to everyone!

Btw, there are post-application morale-boosting celebrations happening all over the place. I'm hosting one this Saturday in the Bay Area. Hope you'll join us!

More info here and here: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4787228 http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4775943

Is this serious? Folks really throw rejection parties?

Lol no! Not "rejection" parties! Everyone is invited whether they're past, present, or future YC applicants, with or without having been accepted by YC. This is just a way for people to hang out and unwind and have fun, especially those who have gone through the application process.

When I received my rejection email I wanted to throw a huge 6yr old kid temper tantrum and go around the room fucking sht up tornado style lmao! But I'll just frame my rejection email and use it as motivation for my next big obstacles in life. When I do finally become successful I'll put "Y Combinator Reject" in all my about me sections! YC alumni would've sounded better though :(

Hi Everyone:

I am always impressed and amazed at the effort, focus, and passion teams put into their YC application. The stories of joy, heartbreak, and relief exhibit a sheer love of technology & entrepreneurship.

In many situations, worthy teams are short changed. We'd like to change that :)

We (Exo IDE) are a startup focused on building solutions for software developers. We are looking to hire talent, and would like to chat with any YC applicants (accepted or not) about what we are doing. Our ideal situation would be to recruit a small, pre-existing team that contain designer + engineers that have worked together on projects. The work would be in SF.

Even if it's not a fit with us, we wish everyone success in the pursuit of their ambitions. At a minimum, we love hearing about your ideas and making any connections that may help you on your own path.

If you'd like a chat - you can reach me at my personal email @ tylerjewell@gmail.com.

Well, I got a reject as well. Last time a few years ago, I'd actually got a call for interview and personally, if I've to judge the two ideas on merit, the current one was way more superior than the one that got an interview call(eventually we didn't get funding but we were very very under-prepared back then).

My key takeaway is - there's no 'right or wrong' here, it's kind of random. It's got a lot to do with your luck.

So what YC says in their rejection letter is actually right, we can always cook up reasons, why one got rejecte. The only way to make sure (well not really, just making it highly probable) that you make it to YC is be extremely well prepared, but then you are probably beyond a point where you need to go to YC.

I am the 97%.

A big part of startup life is getting Rejections. Let's move on and focus on more important things, products, customers, growth. Let's try again next time.

Must be a strong group this year. We're a coder / marketer duo each having already founded profitable startups in the past, in our mid 20's in a market we understand well and with a solid business plan and way to make profit and grow yet we still got rejected. I presume it's because we're in the gaming industry and ycombinator doesn't normally fund gaming companies.

I'm going to show up for an interview anyways.

A lot of people do that, and unsurprisingly some people (maybe all) working at YC do not appreciate it. Personally I would advise against it and think of a different way to get to the partners, n.b. Instacart, rather than show up to YC when everyone is extremely busy and putting YC staff in difficult positions.

You can't sell a generation on the never-say-die entrepreneur ethos and then tsk-tsk when they show up at your office uninvited.

Yes you can.

No startup, I should think, would get funding by gatecrashing a VC in meetings about potential fundraising for other companies. It's just a stupid idea: you're slapping someone in the face by intruding like that.

Have fun being escorted out of the office by the cops

Don't do that, but do consider going to Silicon Valley and talking with other startup founders, users, etc. and I'd recommend startup school in the spring, and applying to s2013.

Showing up uninvited during interview days will probably just get you escorted out, and won't help your chances to get in in the future -- you'd be "that crazy stalker guy from last year, should we call the cops?"

afaik that's a terrible idea.

Can you at least get someone to video it so we can watch the fail?

We also got rejected http://www.amahi.com though we are ramen-profitable, we will hack growth no matter what :)

A bunch of us applicants are getting together in Mountain View on Saturday @ 6pm for a drink to share ideas/experiences in the startup path.

Email if you are local and want to join. EDIT: not 8pm, 6pm.

We got rejected too but I have a great feeling about this. I'm really happy to know that my co-founder and me can do amazing things together, and how you can achieve a lot of cool stuff while you apply to YC. I see this as an incentive to keep working and focus on delivering a great product.

If anyone wants to work in the health and fitness space then do drop me a line. My email is in my profile.

I wish PG hadn't messaged me. It made my expectations go up so much.

It's like asking out a really hot girl to the theater that you think you have no chance with, but then she texts you back with "which movie?", so then all of a sudden your expectations go up...But then she says no. haha

To all those rejected, keep building for the love. That's all that matters.

I know!

lol sorry bro. You should also consider TechStars! I know they just opened for the next class.

No worries. I am kinda glad now, normal service of being broke and working my butt off can resume -

I should start a company that gives rejected applicants a second chance, lol yc-rejects.com We will RE-View your app and pick the most promising startups, based off good ideas!

Fog Creek was bootstrapped by taking web development overflow from another company. There are certainly startup gems that were rejected today.

I applied with www.bfore.me - It would be great if you guys could show us some love and spread the word. We have just got to keep trucking!

Any idea when do late applicants usually hear about interview decisions? (If they hear at all)

...I think the hardest part is deciding whether to continue, or cut your losses.

If you're genuinely considering closing the doors because you didn't get into YC, that's really good evidence that YC made a good choice in rejecting you.

Take it as a slap in the face if you want. Be pissed. Cry like a baby. Throw something at a wall. Those are all perfectly valid, but the best YC applicants are the ones that don't need YC at all, so if you want to better your chances for the next round, prove to them how stupid they were in passing you up.

Or pivot!

Do all of the team members get an email, or just the one who submitted?

In our case, just the one who submitted got the email. As said above, though, just a motivator for us to focus even more on the beta launch.

seems like only the person who submitted it

Hackernode app rejected :(

Goodnight from London Fellow Rejects!

rejected and they even watched the video...

I found video experience very useful - I found 200K angels because of my team video. Share this with other investors - they will appreciate.

OH NOOOOOOOOOOOOES!!!!11eleventyhundredandone!!

Life goes on, folks, in spite of angel investors wanting every last ounce of your collective creative juices for almost no wage.

Uh oh, downvoted for writing the truth? That's /never/ been done before--not /once/!

Perhaps it is because your comment did not add anything useful to the discussion, but instead came across as an unproductive and unsubstantiated rant.

Switching to anger is a practical way of dealing with disappointment - it makes it easier to move forward and take action... Your comment may help some people get over being rejected and its not like YC is affected by how people they rejected handle things.

yeah but you can write the truth without being an ass. Actually bother to make the case that YC isn't the be all and end all. Just stating it (not that you even went that far) doesn't add anything so you're being downvoted for being noise, not because you're speaking the "truth" and being oh so brave to do it on news.yc

Ok not a problem. But I want to continue and carry on my idea. Is there anyone based in New York that can set up a website like Airbnb or something?

Which is willing to work for glory and/or equity

airbnb are big in NY. Mayor Bloomberg just endorsed them.

I know, we are looking to create something similar, we need to find a good creator of websites

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