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Ask HN: Most successful startup that applied but never got into YC?
65 points by pshin45 on Nov 12, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 33 comments

This might need to be an Ask PG. I wonder if there is a startup that he recalls passing on that influenced the way (minorly or majorly) he evaluates startups.

Recalling PG's previous answers to this question: there are several instances of successes that YC didn't accept, but it's not PG's place to disclose who did and didn't apply.

It's too early to say (remember it typically takes 7-8 years to reach a major exit event). But SendGrid and LightSail Energy are probably the two that have raised the most money and are public about being rejected from YC.

Ask me in 6 months :)

Frameri looks really interesting. As someone with an abnormally wide nose, my biggest trouble isn't the lack of variety of frames, but that few standard frames actually fit my face. Do you see yourself as moving into the highly customized frames space at all (like protos eyewear, who recently crowdfunded their first batch of 3D printed glasses a few months ago): https://crowdfunding.protoseyewear.com/3d-printed-eyewear-ta...

Yep!! Protos is a very interesting company, but I'm not sure 3D printing will produce something near the current frame quality for another year or so. Also, eyewear design is extremely detailed and realistically getting customized glasses will still take a professional for a while. (See our live 2 hour demo of a professional creating a 3D render of frames from a sketch http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kxsu3EzOzJI) ... With all that said, we believe 3D printing has incredible possibilities and we hope to play a big role in in that space. One of our "growth hack" ideas to get site visitors was a contest (http://frameri.com/contest/#!/entries) and you can see some really cool concepts.

That is a cool concept (Frameri). Are you going to offer sunglass lenses? I would much rather have 1 frame with 2 lenses (sun + normal).

Yes! I wish I made that more clear on our website. Would that be obvious if we just put a picture of sunglasses? Also, would you want Rx lenes and Rx sun or just regular sun lenses?

I would want Rx for both.

shoot me an email kevin at frameri.com I am updating our pre-order page and I'd like to run the new ux by you, since I creeped and saw you do that full time

What's your startup? Any name? Clues? Or do I have to sign an NDA because it's the next Facebook+dropbox+instagram?

Easy on the downvotes there kids, it was just a joke.

It's actually more like linkedin+4sq but for dogs.. So you're fine but I'd need a video of your dog barking a response to the NBA I would need him/her to read.

> I'd need a video of your dog barking a response to the NBA

So the pitch is, "We're like patent trolls, but for breach-of-contract entrapment lawsuits?"

I'd invest! ;)


I see what you did there.

just a guess, but it may be http://www.roybiv.net/

haha, no I tried to start (above) agency earlier but that crumbled. We applied with an eyewear concept http://frameri.com knowing YC doesn't really accept physical product companies so it's not a surprise we got rejected.

Why did the agency fail? One of my goals was to start a small agency and work with a few developers/designers and take on projects.

It failed partly because I never ran a business and never saw how a successful agency operates. Only poorly operated digital agencies and thought "I could do this better." Also, I had to make a decision to push the agency forward or take another idea into an accelerator. I chose the latter.

Thanks. That's the path I want to take soon, running my own little agency. Do you know of anyone in the same position that runs a blog? Or any tips? Readings on starting something like this?

sendgrid, iirc

Were they TechStars?

I think they were YC rejects who then went to TechStars.

I actually this could be quite a fascinating question.


Wasn't it AirBnB?

They're YC alum.

What was the company then that had a Cheerios box in their office because they turned down AirBnB and that was their guerrilla marketing prop?

That was Union Square Ventures, in NY.


Airbnb is a YC co.

This is pure HN porn. Entertaining and satisfies curiosity but no significance whatsoever.

Edit: Noting somewhat predictable downvotes so I would ask that someone reply with what the significance of a single data point is other than satisfying curiosity? Note also I didn't say it didn't belong on HN or "hey why is this on the front page" etc.

I'm neither the OP nor one of the downvoters (I don't have enough karma for that anyway) but isn't satisfying (or in PGs words, gratifying) curiosity exactly what's asked for in HN submissions by the guidelines?

Sure and I've acknowledged that by what I said.

I wasn't actually expecting just a single data point (perhaps I should have written the plural "startups" instead), rather I was hoping that we could crowdsource several contenders/candidates, and then use those examples to pose the following follow-up questions:

A. Historically, how many now-thriving companies have "slipped through the cracks" of the YC evaluation process?

B. If there are several notable examples that fit a certain pattern, what can/should YC do to better identify and/or attract those kinds of teams?

I like to think that YC has become its own type of graduate school at this point, so I guess a very rough analogue would be the phenomenon of many high-achieving low-income students never even considering the option of applying to an elite university[1], even though they would have a high chance of getting in AND receiving sufficient financial aid. And the few who actually did apply might not constitute a sufficiently large sample size to generate enough "success stories" to encourage others to follow suit.

[1] http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2013/09/no-poin...

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