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Applications for YC W15 are open (ycombinator.com)
191 points by lalwanivikas on Aug 25, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 89 comments

Paul Graham used to say it is good to apply early, as the partners would review your application with less hurry.

But I never got a good answer to a doubt: I submitted my application just now, just because. But I am in a particular good period for user grownth (first customer two weeks ago, and now things are happening). I will have considerably more traction in October (including a reliable growth rate, as it would be at least passed 2 months).

The question: if I update my application on October 14 with the updated traction numbers, will it make a difference? Will someone actually see it or my application will already be judged and decided and that's it?

Yes - it does make a difference. If you experience growth between now and October 14, you should update the traction numbers on your application.

> Yes decisions will include the amount we’ll invest and the percent of the company we’d want for it.

Since last batch, wasn't there a "New Deal" that fixed the amount to $120k for 7%? [1]

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7629630


If you're asking yourself whether to apply or not, do it. Going through YC changed my life.

I'm happy to review applications, especially from international founders. Roberto at Glio dot com.

That's very generous brother. Good karma for real life.

No Co-founder? Let's get organized! Post your idea (or interest but lack of idea) and see if someone bites!


It's like founder-dating with a deadline.

For this to be valuable, we need more people. Would you be willing to make a independent post about this?

Do you think there would be a penalty for the shotgun wedding?

for this YC batch, it's not ideal. but, in the longer run, finding a good co-founder is likely worth it

Cool that the application explicitly asks for progress updates for those of us that have applied before (8th try is the charm?). Before I was never sure how much my previous applications impacted things so it's nice to be able to make my own case for things.

Really glad for the application overhaul, looking good.

That's great that you're still hacking away at it. Same here, I've applied about 4 or 5 times? I lost track. I've changed a lot, so has my project, but things have also stabilized as I learned how to push this forward. At this point, it's almost a ritual just to apply because it helps me think about what I've done and what I need to do next. This year I'm too busy to spend days on the application but hopefully all the prior practice helps. Regardless, it's ready to submit so I'll meet my quota for this year. :-) (As soon as the submit works but maybe it's just me.)

Applying to YC has definitely been a great way to asses the current status of Tinj. In the early days, we'd spend over a week working on the YC application which was definitely a sign that we weren't ready. Thanks to all that work though, I've gotten better at communicating who/what/why we are.

Is that four years you've been applying? Would you mind sharing your idea or project? Maybe we can give you some advice.

Things have changed a lot over the years (team, product, etc), but the overall vision hasn't, reinventing how people share information. What's changed the most though is me.

From the start I new that my limitations were the only things holding me back, so the past 4 years has been largely dedicated to reinventing myself into the type of person that could make Tinj successful.

As for the product, we'll be starting a private beta of Curv soon, a simple way to rate videos after watching by drawing how you felt over time. Can check out the demo at http://tinj.com

If anyone is excited about the potential of tinj or curv, email me at mat at tinj. PS - We're hiring. ;)

This is an interesting idea. The Swiss national television made a somewhat related app for the FIFA World Cup 2014 : You could thumb up or down your time during a game and see how other people reacted in realtime. And you get a nice graph at the end : http://ledefouloir.rts.ch/

The most interesting thing about Curv is that it isn't realtime. I know a lot of realtime rating startups that have closed up because they never got traction.

Just checked out the demo. This inflicts too much work on the watcher. Why would I want to draw curves after watching a video? What do I gain as the user?

Future versions will be easier for users and have better incentives. Gotta start somewhere.

An example of things we can build is a recommendation system.

no doubt you can build lots of interesting things (including recommendations), if people are giving you UGC.

question above comment was asking was why would people generate that content for you.. incentive needs to be there for each piece of content produced.

How do you judge whether or not what's holding you back is your inability to move on to a different, less fantastically tedious, idea?

Anyone else having trouble submitting the application? I'm not sure if this is some kind of weird test but I doubt it. I can save, just not submit and it does the same thing in other browsers. Acts as if the submit/click handler isn't working.

I found a bug I think is related and fixed it, so hopefully this should work now if you try again.

Thanks for letting us know!

It's working now so all is clear. :-) No offense but it's always kind of reassuring that even really big smart groups make bugs. Done and done.

Weird. Can you send some more details to me at kevin at ycombinator? Like browser, etc.

Sure. Will do in a few.

New app asks for founder's gender. Should have much better data with this class on the number of female founders and percentage of total. Also should have better data on number of technical female founders.

The issue is they don't ask for roles explicitly so there would be no way to know the number of technical vs non-technical.

I agree it would be difficult. They could make assumptions based on founders' degree, but difficult to tell as some technical people don't have a degree in EE or CS. Also, people with a EE/CS degree are not necessarily filling a technical role.

Yeah exactly. YC is very good at picking out teams without knowing too much of your background. They go off of what you tell them and don't look much deeper than your prior projects built, degree, and how well the team work with each other.

Why is that an issue?

Many female founders appear to be in non-technical roles. Need more women in STEM fields moving into entrepreneurship roles as the technical lead.

A female CEO can hire as many women as she wants? A female founder in any role probably influences hiring tremendously.

Very true. However, having a woman in a lead technical role to provide mentorship and inspiration to female developers is very important for encouraging more women to become developers and stay in the industry.

For what it's worth, I'm fairly confident that it's illegal to discriminate on sex when making hiring decisions.

A female involved in hiring might mean the process is less discriminatory. Thus a female influencing hirings wouldn't necessarily be illegal, but potentially more legal.

I was talking about the issue with the comment above mine not collecting individual role information so you can't determine who does what, just their name, gender, and bio.

Love the new application page. It seems a little weird that the "Are any of the following true?" question wasn't changed to just be checkmarks though. Also seems like "Half or more of your group can’t move to the Bay Area." and "One or more founders will keep their current jobs." could be inferred from the new founder bios.

One final nitpick would be to move the timeline at the bottom of https://apply.ycombinator.com to the top.

Otherwise, really cool.

"could be inferred from the new founder bios."

Could be, but that's a lot more work to do when reading applications. Inferring these facts from a heterogeneous and unstructured data source, like hundreds or thousands of bios, requires a lot of effort that is better spent elsewhere. Setting these up as simple red flags, through a series of boxes to check or not check, solves the problem more efficiently. Right off the bat, you can sort all applications by any of the criteria in these boxes. You can do that before even starting to read them. If you're inferring from bios, on the other hand, you have to read every bio before you can sort.

I think we're on the same page. Each founder already has to answer "Will you live in the Bay Area January through March 2015, if we fund you?" and "Will you commit to working exclusively on this project for the next year?" in a drop down in the new founder bio page.

    if numWontLiveInBayArea >= total / 2 then flag

    if numNonExclusive > 0 then flag
Could be totally automated.

Makes sense. Perhaps the two questions are there as a redundancy. Some people might answer "Yes" to the first question, but then "No" when asked in a slightly different way. In the first question, they're just answering for themselves. In the second question, they're taking a deeper mental look at their team and assessing if anyone on it isn't up for the move or the 100% commitment. To whatever extent there's conflict between answers to A and B, that's a sign that some people aren't being totally honest in answering A. (This is purely speculation, of course).

There would be many applications this year i would believe with the new look. Paul's version shooed away people who weren't serious about themselves applying for YC, That was a good tactic anyways.

> Are any of the following true? You are the only founder.

If I'm the only founder, is it considered negative?

Not necessarily, it's a bold statement to stand out and show that you don't care carrying a red flag :)

Check out http://www.forbes.com/sites/bruceupbin/2011/10/18/paul-graha... for encouragement or go and get a co-founder.

Being a solo-founder, it's a tough ride but no-one said you shouldn't go tough. But also I keep in mind that in order to be a full stack entrepreneur, one needs to be able to attract talent and you need to have a sense to filter out wimps.

Sadly I'm the only founder right now but for one specific reason - to spend time building product instead of dating founders :) But I sure wish to find the one, or two.

Final note regarding solo founders & YC: if you are coming from a non-US country without a working visa and need to move to US to work for your startup then having at least 2 founders is great because then the company has the power to fire you -- which makes it possible for this new company to apply for your visa.

There tends to be a few solo founders in each batch. I was one. It'll cause a bit more scrutiny, but don't let it deter you!

There are ways to having a "Sleeping Partner".. that's why its somewhat negative.. Not very, but just a bit.

What does "sleeping partner" mean?

Well, I can infer it has two meanings. The intended meaning (I suppose) is "hiding" the existence of another partner. The second meaning...well, I think you can guess that one on your own.

I thought I had read on the S14 application that teams could submit an application, update it, and resubmit it before the deadline. I can't find anything that states the same with the new format. Is this still true?

My cofounder and I would like to ask for some critique on our answers including the personal questions. However it seems that the statement, "We will send an email to each founder to fill out additional information about themselves." implies that the application must be submitted before we see the personal questions. I just want to confirm if the first submission should be the final draft before we proceed.

Hopefully the questions about hacking a non-computer system and most impressive thing we've built/achieved are included in the personal questions. Those were some of the most fun to answer.

When you add your partners email/name it automatically sends them an email to fill out their portion of the application. It used to be a pain to gather everyone's info individually and paste it into the one application, so this brings collaboration to the application so your team can contribute their share.

Bios and applications can still be updated even after submitting if it's before the Oct 14 deadline.

Yes, still true. You can still edit/update the application all the way to the deadline even after you submit it. I'll make that more clear in the app and instructions.

What if you're a solo founder that has a cofounder lined up but are waiting for the right catalyst to bring them aboard? What if you're solo but have been contracting out the areas where you need help?

You're a solo founder then. FYI: If the catalyst is getting into an incubator/accelerator, please note that bandwagon cofounders brought on after being accepted into YC almost never work out.

Making it into YC isn't impossible if you are. Many startups in the current batch are solo founder companies...Product Hunt, Filecoin, Lawn Love, Craft Coffee, etc. We would not reject a startup based on just ONE dimension or question. So if this is the ONLY thing you're worried about, you're in good shape.

"What? Me worry?" - Alfred E Newman (YC applicant for the 10th time)

I have a question about the "founder" status. I've been working on my project for quite some time and it's taking off. It's very likely I'm going to be able to afford inviting a friend on a part-salary/part-equity basis in the next few weeks. I'm still going to have a vast majority of shares. Will it be OK to count him as a co-founder?

Seen as the people at YC HQ will be in bed for another few hours I might as well offer my opinion. Your description appears to me to be more like an employee relationship than a co-founder relationship.

A co-founder is generally someone who's goals and interests are closely aligned with yours. Someone who's in it for the long run through all of the peaks and troughs experienced on the startup journey. If you own the majority of the shares and your friend's main interest is the salary you're paying him/her, then his/her goals are not closely aligned with yours.

I don't know how YC will view this but my advice is to think about building a team of co-founders who will stick together through thick and thin and share in the success of the company as well as the struggles. I guess that's why its so important to get good co-founders. You don't want to give half your company to someone who you don't believe offers a whole lot to the company's success. I hope this helps.

To simply answer your question, I believe the general rule is 15% or more and they can attend YC.

If you are simply adding him as a cofounder so that you are not listed as a single founder, don't do that. It may seem like you have to have a cofounder to get into YC, but founders who are new to working together are a bigger red flag than a single founder, and there were several single founder companies in the last batch.

It'll be great to have a list of YC alumni who'd be willing to review applications. Would improve quality of applications overall.

Most alums are willing to review (or introduce you to someone who's a better fit). Feel free to email me at gordon [at] stacklead.com

Can you guys clarify the process for non-profits? Not just the application, but the entire YC experience. What's different?


"They did all the same things as the other startups, including present at Demo Day (which is after all a room with lots of rich people in it)."

We do have some foundations and philanthropists invited to Demo Day that'll be more appropriate for nonprofits and have you engage with other nonprofit yc alumni a bit more, but not much else. There's a joke Qasar tells the other startups on how to treat nonprofits in the batch when we first get started, "let's not kid ourselves, you're all nonprofits at this point."

Thanks for the info! I appreciate it, that does give a clearer view of the process.

Interestingly, there is no real-world hack question("Please tell us about the time you (...) most successfully hacked some (non-computer) system to your advantage"). Why is so?

The "How to Apply to Y Combinator" essay hasn't been updated to reflect this change.

When you add founders, each founder gets a link to a separate form to fill out. The question is there. You each get to answer it instead of one.

Does the e-mail containing this link make any reference to the recipient's HN username?

It says "Hello rl3."


Ok, thanks for the clarification

Anyone knows if they prefer startups from certain regions in the world? I have the possibility of setting up the legal structure in Europe but also in North Africa. Don't know if it 's bad for my application if we do it in North Africa.

We look for great founders and great ideas, regardless of geography. BUT...if you get accepted, your company will have to convert into a US domestic corporation (preferably Delaware). So forming your entity now in Europe or North America may end up being a waste of time and effort.

Nice application process! It's funny what a little bit of styling does.

Is this a small side web app you guys rolled yourself or are you using a decision-making product (like Submittable, etc) for the back-end?

We wrote it ourselves.

The startup event in London was great, getstream.io will definitely be applying.

Can I ask, what are you folks using to generate your API documentation?

I'd love to see how many applications are started but not submitted.

Interesting, do we have any alternative of YC in [eastern] Europe?

Is there a reason you're looking for an alternative?

There were 183 founders in the last YC batch. 74 were not born in the United States. That's 40%. They didn't all just come from Canada and UK, they came from 27 different countries. There were actually 17 French founders in this batch, which is the highest concentration we've ever had in a funding cycle.

If your users/customers are in Europe (or elsewhere) and it makes sense, we're not against you learning and raising the money that you need here and taking it back with you to grow.

There's http://www.startupschool.pl/ , something similar to Y Combinator. They're recruiting right now as well (29 hours left). I submitted my application a few weeks ago and got an invitation to the recruitment workshop in early September.

I'd love to see how the application review process works.

Found a page I shouldn't be able to see. I emailed sama, but there is probably someone more appropriate. Any ideas?

This should be fixed now. Thanks a lot for the report!

Shoot it my way. kat at ycombinator.

It's now fixed. I guess sama saw it. Thanks.

You can email Dan (who moderates/maintains HN) at hn@ycombinator.com. I'm not sure if he also handles the application page, but he seems more likely to do that than sama.

Lets do it

What exactly does "technical" mean? Does it only apply to people who write code?

does it hurt not having a technical co-founder?

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