Also consider if you are serving HD video or doing financial number crunching over a large data set in the background.
Remember that we're talking MVP here, not production service. If your service makes it to the front page of HN and then crashes under load, you go to YCombinator or some other accelerator, say "We built a service, it was so popular that it got to the top of Hacker News and then crashed under load. Here's the demo link, and we have a list of X thousand users who signed up to learn more before it crashed." You will be accepted, and then you will have access to the $100K in Google Cloud's program.
The one exception is if they feel that you lack the technical talent to build a scalable system even with hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding. In that case, they will tell you "Go find an ex-Googler or ex-FBer to be your technical cofounder and come back to us." In that case, $100K won't make much of a difference, you lack some critical skills to employ that $100K well. If that is your situation, well, I happen to be an ex-Googler with experience scaling Google Search who is in the market for a new project. I have my own ideas but would be happy to abandon them for something with demonstrated traction, so I would be happy to entertain e-mails (my address is in my profile) with a demo link and a spreadsheet with X thousand user signups.
I would, however, consider taking $100k in free hosting from google as a startup because making it free eliminates the cost consideration in hosting choices.
It's not keeping us out of the gate, it just that it reinforces the redefinition of startup to be "Silicon Valley VC type".
EG: 37 Signals would never have qualified, but they were a startup.
Startups long ago stopped being about building innovative business, and about VCs employing a bunch of kids to work really long hours on bad terms to make the VCs rich.
I think it is a legitimate criticism-- not ad hominem-- to say the Bay Area model has produced a bunch of soulless startups. Though of course some do follow this path and still retain their souls.
I guess I would not be so pessimistic and give founders the benefit of the doubt that they think they are building something innovative (a word that means different things to different people).
The summer YC class had a fusion startup and a fission startup if I recall correctly. That is innovation in my book. And I think most startups are trying to change the status quo even to a small extent.
And why does a startup even need to be innovative? In this great talk by the founder of Asana (http://ecorner.stanford.edu/authorMaterialInfo.html?mid=3117) the point was made that while they're not curing diseases their software helps the people that are stay organized and save time.
Nice branding with "accelerator". What do you think one is trading for money? Even in a simple equity trade you are giving up more than just equity... you are also putting on a leash which will alter your original being. VC's and soul trading aside, it's the exclusion part that makes the deed evil.
And yeah, I expected down voting from a group of people flocking to a VC forum like HN.