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He wouldn't tell you. However, he would connect with the right people and sneak his way in.

To be clear, I didn't mean to sneak in illegally. I meant that smart startups who really want to get in YC don't just write an application. They find people in (other startups in YC, mentors, investors) and network their way in. Obviously, if the startup is dumb or the application is really bad, it won't work.

Lots of current startups in YC are founded by first-employee of previous YC startups. Most YC founders I talked too knew people there before sending the application.

PG said that some startups joined YC with only the application. I trust him! But that doesn't mean that lots of others didn't networked hard. If you have a) A good application b) A good application + a previous positve experience talking with the team, who would you pick?

Be careful, though. For every legitimately good startup that gets to know the YC partners through other channels, there are 1,000 founders who just look desperate.

You only have so much time. Building a great company is the most effective way to get into YC.

I know that PG himself has said himself that people they know have an advantage. In fact, that was a major reason to start Hacker News - so they'd be able to recognise people who often leave great comments.

I've heard it can take as many as 7 tries!

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