Take myself for example: I do have this thing that I am working on.. but I also have a wife and a daughter whom I adore, and I would hate to go away from them for any period of time. Having my wife close, playing with my daughter, these are the things that keep me going, not some dream of jets and fancy cars. I already have a job that I like, I am not running away from anything, I just want to do something better, because I know I can. I already work mostly remotely, and there is no going back to old ways for me. If I ever found anything, it will be remote and remote only.
Maybe there are fewer people who really get remote work, but in my personal experience, it is an absolute joy to work with them. And is it not repeated over and over again that you should not pursue something you do not believe in?
I have never considered applying because of the travel requirement, but now I am really tempted.
There's also nothing that says you absolutely have to stay in the Bay Area afterwards. Many founders head back to where they come from if that's the right thing for the business.
There is a method to the madness. They have proven it.
If you want to be in fashion-tech, for example, you want to be in New York (or possibly London). And, there are lot of other industries concentrated in specific areas around the world.
Limiting to San Francisco is limiting your industry. Sure you can get a ton of web developers, but you'll lose access & relationships to the REAL industry insiders that matter for your vertical.
To know whether remote will work YC needs to try it.
(Mind you, even with YC's intake, it's likely you'd never see a statistically significant result either way. There's too many variables and not enough samples.)
I'm a (remote) early employee at a YC company and see the value the founders got from full YC but I'd simply never consider it for a personal project because of the move.
I have no interest in moving personally (as a father, home owner and someone who really likes living in the mountains) but also most of my personal projects focus on groups of people for which the bay area is not particularly enriched.
I could see applying for this fellowship in a few years once I feel i've done my current commitments justice though I'd want to be open about having no intention of doing the full YC.
For me the cloud credits would be a bigger financial incentive then the 12k as most of my ideas would involve a lot of initial data processing.
For example: YC knows the Bay Area well, their roots are strong where they are situated. If you're not in their area of expertise, you're potentially missing out on a lot of their resources right?
On the other hand: There's probably a lot of opportunities YC is missing out on because they understand that there are people out there that cannot make that long-term commitment.
In the end, this is why I understand that they're running this as an experiment. And I hope that their hypothesis proves to be that remote YC companies work so that they can apply this to their flagship program.
I would really love to see an option for people who are not in this group. Let's imagine someone who is married, with a couple of kids and a mortgage. Right away, YC Fellowship is not feasible.
If you really want another ten-fold increase in the number of startups, tapping into an older demographic could do it -- just because it seems to be a largely untapped resource. We're talking about people with years of experience working in the real world, on real products. We're talking about years of domain expertise, in all kinds of domains. We're talking about people with ideas, and the expertise to execute on them. And all this potential is being left on the table because they typically can't afford to quit their jobs for 3k a month (based on a two-founder team in YC Fellowship).
But if each founder had enough funding to be able to handle their financial obligations, and work full time on their startups, for a year, I think that would break open the flood gates, and you'd see a huge increase in viable startups.
There must be a sweet spot in terms of funding/equity for this scenario, in order to make it beneficial to everyone involved.
That said, there are a lot of alternatives. There are more seed funds now than ever before. One of the reasons we did this program is that we believe there is hole in this part of the market--it feels like there are more people willing to write a $100k check than a $12k check.
Practically speaking, we also felt this was where we could make the most impact with dollars we're giving away. $12MM is the price of a small series B, or 1000 YC Fellowships.
As long as you guys are as selective as you are with the startups you fund, I think we may well see a whole bunch of startups in 5 years that we can trace back to this fellowship. I think this is a great first step to leveling the playing field for those who don't come from / don't have a whole lot of capital, and might just need a shot. Very timely, in light of the recent Quartz article .
- In 2005, there were essentially no sources for early stage capital. Now you can't tell someone about your startup at a meetup without five people trying to throw money in your face.
- In 2005, information about starting a startup was an oral tradition, and web technology was so primitive that making a scalable website basically required a CS degree. This meant that you really had to either be a business person or a CS person, whereas now being both is table stakes.
- In 2005, not only was it essentially impossible to meet VCs without some sort of special connections, it was difficult even to figure out who they were. These days they're all on LinkedIn, blogs, angellist, mattermark, etc., and as soon as you have any sort of traction they already know about you.
- In 2005, people still spent time dreaming about what the world would be like when everyone was connected to the Internet. Now the sociology is well understood, the infrastructure has matured, strategies and tactics have become commoditized, etc.
By giving away equity-free grants that come with access and advice, this basically positions YC as the next YC, regardless of what else is going on the world.
You're opening up to the entire world with that seed amount, that volume (which lowers the effective level required) and no requirement to move, so there could be as many as (say) 100,000 applications a year...
I'm sure many people would. Your proposal appears to be that YC do this exact program, but with a 200k+ grant instead of 12k. This is obviously not feasible, given that these grants are being awarded for little more than an idea.
Founding a startup is a huge risk, there's no way around that. If you're at a point in life where you can't afford risk and instability, it's going to be tough to start a startup.
Frankly I don't really get the "startups are only for young people with no obligations" problem. You have a wife, and kids, and a house, and hopefully these things bring you great joy - the prototypical obligation-free startup founders have none of them. Should we be looking for ways for young startup founders to do the family-building stuff they are missing out on? Maybe set up a fund to give them a down payment for when their startup fails and they could have been saving up with a paycheck for a few years? It just seems like...sometimes in life you have to choose one thing or the other.
The type of experienced professionals that GP is talking about aren't going to waste $200k.
They currently add value to whatever enterprise they are engaged in.
> sometimes in life you have to choose one thing or the other.
Sometimes in life, you don't know that you could take the widget industry by storm until you've consumed a thousand variations of widgets yourself.
...Gah, no wonder the "get off my lawn!" thing exists... :/
The percentage of experienced professionals why waste the grant might be smaller than the percentage of just-out-of-college teams who waste the grant, but the difference might not be as large as to justify $200k.
A patent is an idea, sometimes worth nothing and sometimes worth 10's of Billions.
The problem is that since you already have so many long-term obligations, you cannot afford to fail and then not go back to your previous position. It doesn't matter whether the grant is $12k or $240k. That grant is gonna run out in a few weeks or months, and remember, most startups fail. And then what? There's no guarantee that your previous employer will want you back.
The need for stability, not the amount of the grant, is what's keeping older people from getting involved in startups. A startup is a risky investment, not just of money but of your life in general.
I read this a week or so ago and I think it is applicable to my (and many other) industries.
I've been thinking about this startup for a few years and now is the time to make the jump. I'm not getting any younger. :)
Also married and expecting twin girls, so also have the issue of giving up too much stability..
Anyway, my idea is in the 401(k) industry which I have worked in for 13 years. Every provider has websites from prior to when web 2.0 was a thing. Individual service is expensive for providers and companies. Many people question Social Security. Financial wellness is the buzzword of the day but I truly believe that getting people who are living paycheck to paycheck some solid knowledge and advice that a difference can be made. Getting their employers to pay for it via the 401(k) might be the way to go.
Being somewhat new to the whole 401k thing (I came from another country and only had a 'real' job for the last 2 yrs) I believe I'm your target customer. Now, 2 years later I like to think I kinda figured it out. Few observations I've had so far that may help you:
- my preconception is that if the employer doesn't match, there's no use to put anything in it - I'm sure I'm wrong but would be nice to have a way to (visualize?) what my gains could be anyway and prove me wrong
- by default, the service provider usually invests in the employers stock (right?), I know it's possible to split it up in different funds but would be nice to get better recommendation on how to diversify the investment and be able to simply choose on a grade from 'higher return, but risky' to 'low risk but low returns'. I have had it that I had no idea where my 401k went and luckily the employers stock did pretty well during that period but would be nice still to have a better understanding/education on how to best split and allocate
- probably not part of your core solution, but my wife found it very hard to transfer 401k between providers after leaving a job. I've heard from others as well as where they have 3 or 4 401k accounts with different providers because it can be hard and time consuming to consolidate.
Joining a startup is only not feasible later in life if you're living paycheck to paycheck, which you shouldn't be doing for other reasons.
Or are you implying that you think everyone with 10 years of experience has a year of living expenses in the bank? If so, I tip my hat to you, but paying off student loans, buying a house, and having a kid haven't really made that a possibility for me.
There's no free lunch. I would love to be able to work hard during the days at the company I'm with, work on a side project at night, go to the gym every day, maintain a relationship, maintain a social life, and get 9 hours of sleep every day. But I really have to pick and choose which things I get to do.
Also - don't discount the part about participating from anywhere. There could be a handful of families whose accrued savings might increase significantly if coupled with a cost saving location change (i.e. moving away from NYC/SF/bay-area).
The real danger is whether follow-up funding could be found fast enough to have people quit their jobs and maintain the momentum achieved during the two month program.
Maybe this is also a way for YC to sort of draw a line in the sand between wantrepreneurs and the real deal. If you have an idea that keeps you up at night and you have decided to go all in, then this will give you a chance to prove it. no?
So, in short, go YC, you rock!
That said, I have a few questions:
1) Any idea of how many slots are open for this round? I expect you will get many more applications than YC normally gets.
2) Some teams may have members with families who won't want to move to SV and will work remotely. Other teams may have members who can and want to move. Some teams may have a mix. What are your thoughts on splitting a team, having some remote and some in SV? Would this provide advantages over having no one in SV, or would splitting the team have so many downsides that it would be better to be all remote?
3) For a team that already has a prototype and is beginning to work on getting customers, but is not able to relocate, would YCF be a good choice?
2) I think it would depend on your company and what you're trying to do. I can think of advantages to either way, and if accepted it's something we can talk about.
3) If you're just starting to get customers (or struggling with it), still apply. It will be a judgement call on whether you're too far along and should just apply to YC W16, but relocating or not won't make a difference in that assessment.
How about a version of this for companies which have been around for a while?
Seriously, it doesn't sound like Tarsnap would fit into this program at all, but I'd love to be able to participate in something "lighter-weight" than YC -- something which, like the YC Fellowship, would allow me access to advice and contacts without taking funding or relocating.
Of course, I'm guessing the YC Fellowship are largely a recruiting tool for YC ($12k is a small price to pay for the opportunity to extensively vet candidates prior to offering them a YC investment), so it wouldn't make sense for YC to invite me into that particular structure; but I'm not looking for money and I'd like to think that I could help YC by being "part of the family" and being someone companies could be pointed at to help with questions relating to my areas of expertise.
But what can you offer them?
It's clear what YC Fellowships offer to companies, but I suspect there's also some not-as-obvious benefits to YC.
Would Tarsnap bring these benefits to YC?
I agree that people need to be aware that their company should offer some benefit to YC as well, just simple business...exchange of value.
My family were on income support so the money went straight on a PC, internet, phone line, business cards and public transport to reach my clients to pitch them. Thankfully I still lived with my parents: no rent until I was earning.
$12k is a very substantial amount for an underprivileged kid who's making the Airbnb vs. large corp choice.
My grant was (lightly) means-tested. Did you consider means-testing as a way to make more of an impact past the ideological one?
Similar to drsim I intended to start my own media business using the money, so I purchased a cheap PC, a camera, business cards, etc
In order to apply for the money I had to go through what was quite a lengthy process, which overall took three months to complete. I had to choose every item in advance with photocopies of the catalogue; this was to prevent people cheating the funding and spending it on other things. This also made it difficult to include consumables such as an internet subscription and transportation costs.
Does YC plan to background check and make sure the $12,000 would actually be spent on what it's intended for?
Also, does YC still consider applicants based in Asia, or is it US-based for the time being?
And yes! You can apply from anywhere (and no need to move here for this program if you want to stay remote, though we still encourage that you do).
All I had to do was two interviews, sign a simple declaration and then present receipts for purchases.
If only one of these 20 grant recipients go on to build a solid company, then this project has been a success, I'd say.
There would be no additional burden on YC to say 'we want to encourage more people from underprivileged backgrounds to start a company'.
At this level of funding YC's impact is going to be much greater for that demographic than those whose parents can afford to seed their startup just as they'd buy them their first car.
People lie to each other on business contracts every minute of every day, nearly all of it ends up as a civil offense.
That said, if you wanted to apply to the normal YC W16 batch after YCF, you'd still be asked to make the move.
What advice do you have for such ideas?
It's OK to be working on something that's hard to imagine how it would grow to be a really big thing, that's how most ideas start out. (Apple made hobbyist computers, Google was another search engine of 1000 -- how big of a deal could they have thought these would become?). It's important to be open-minded to the pathways of how your idea could become something big as it keeps growing though, and it's good to stop and think about those ideas every once in awhile.
What kind of progress do you expect founders to make by the end of the Fellowship? Put another way, if the goal of participation in Y Combinator is for companies to build enough traction to become top-tier candidates for an institutional fundraise, what is the outcome that participants in the Fellowship should hope to achieve?
Question: my organization is a nonprofit co-op. I know YC recently started accepting nonprofits - what's your opinion on them for YC fellowships?
We would put full-time focus on this, but we can't really close up shop completely, we could put projects on hold, but we'd need to at least lightly manage/delegate tasks when things come up occasionally. Is that going to work?
I am a grad student working on a purely research based concept that I feel could make a good start to a company. However, I'm fully committed to the research at the university for the next year. The YCF would be used to get this project from just a thesis to an applicable concept. Would this be a good start to what YC is looking for?
0% for $12k is obviously a great deal, but my main stumbling block has always been the loss of income from dropping paid work, and $12k over two months is barely half an engineer's salary - let alone to cover multiple team members.
That said, it may well be enough to make someone like me think "well, at least I won't be earning zero dollars..."
Plenty of people who could create great things are also saddled with families and expenses that run to 80+% of their disposable incomes. It's all well and good to suggest that an individual can live on ramen noodles, but a family and young children cannot and should not have to. That leaves only a few options left for such people to start a company: do it on the side in evenings/weekends; and save up a nest egg then quit/reduce your job to work on the startup.
Suggesting that willingness to forgo having a family is a pre-requisite for entrepreneurship is fallacious.
My company released lots of products, all of them had critical acclaim and high user reviews, but we ran out of money before releasing our main product, and we never had marketing money, so our sales are nowhere interesting.
I am wondering if you consider this early enough or not. (we had no investment beside from extra money from the original founders).
If you still have successful ancillary products and just want to develop your flagship product with YC's help, consider applying to YC W16. Applications for that will open up in August.
I guess the "YC Fellowship Application" is a link to it? I wasn't sure where to click besides 'submit' and was a bit afraid it'd submit a blank form and lock me out of a real submission later! (It didn't, of course – the submit button is just an anchor tag pointing to https://yc.submittable.com/submit/44764)
edit: we've changed it to link directly to the application form now. Thanks for pointing this out.
"Can a single person apply for funding?
Yes, but the odds of being accepted are lower. A startup is too much work for one person."
I'm pretty sure you don't mean it is "too much work" for success to be a possible outcome, but that's what your copy says at the moment.
Apple - Steve Jobs
Amazon - Jeff Bezos
Microsoft - Bill Gates
(Google - Larry Page)
Apple: Steve Jobs | + Steve Wozniak + Ronald Wayne
Microsoft: Bill Gates | + Paul Allen
Google: Larry Page | + Sergey Brin
Facebook: Mark Zuckerberg | + Dustin Moskovitz + Chris Hughes + Andrew McCollum + Eduardo Saverin
Uber: Travis Kalanick | + Garrett Camp + Ryan Graves
Tesla: Elon Musk | + JB Straubel + Martin Eberhard + Marc Tarpenning + Ian Wright
I don't understand why there are so many downvotes on something that is, indeed, a verifiable statistical fact. Can you downvoters write a message that elaborates on why you have such a strong reaction to this data?
Apple would not exist without Steve Wozniak
Google started as a partnership
Allen sold qdos to IBM which established Microsoft
Also, Larry was always the primary driver behind Google; it started out as his thesis project, PageRank is named for him, and he'd already started crawling the web by the time Sergey joined. Sergey's initial startup idea was to order pizza via fax machine. Google obviously wouldn't exist without both of them, and Larry was smart enough to share equity and credit equally, but a startup at the YC fellowship stage is much more likely to look like Larry's thesis project than Google when it took VC.
I'm not arguing against single founders, it's perfectly possible, but most companies are not started by a single founder, they are collaborations and are all the better for it.
1. What are the tax implications of these fellowships for non-US citizens? The reason I ask is anyone with any experience of the IRS will want to avoid dealing with it if at all possible.
2. Will accepting such a grant mean the recipient will have to file a tax return with the IRS?
3. What about withholding taxes? Will the non-us recipient need to file a W-8BEN or W-8BEN-E form?
For remote teams with viable ideas that YC is interested in funding, how remote can such teams be? Can teams apply from outside the US; from Europe, Asia or Africa?
I'm currently on F-1 (student) visa, and I'll be graduating soon. And I think this may represent some other people's situation as well.
In order to maintain the visa status after graduation while working, I'll need an OPT (Optional Practical Training). OPT is supported by the school AND a company that hires the person full-time, and is commonly used before the employee gets an H1-B. Clearly if I work on an idea full-time, I won't be working for a established company in full-time. Will YCF be a able to help in this case if accepted? For example, by hiring the team as YC employee in paperworks for the 8 weeks, but allowing the team to work on their own ideas?
You don't need any help from YC to do this - talk to your international student office, they process lots of OPT applications. Read the instructions on the USCIS website. They are very clear on this, you can start a company, you don't even need to incorporate to satisfy those requirements (although, this is not legal advice, talk to your international student office, and their lawyers).
Our company makes open source sex toys, and we've got an ever-growing list of places that just won't work with businesses related to adult products (stripe, square, mailchimp, kickstarter, ...). Fingers crossed that YC doesn't care.
e.g. "We've been working on this project() for over a year on evenings and weekends, collectively contributing >1500 effort hours, and we have spent $75k on rent and expenses. To keep that going, and have each member meet their familial costs, at least some of us need to earn money from consulting. However, if sufficient follow-on funding can be found, we'd be very glad to answer yes, and focus on this exclusively."
It's a hardware project requiring a fair amount of warehouse/build space, hence the expenses.
1) If we are still looking for / selecting technical co-founders, can we apply?
2) Does the entire team need to dedicate itself full time to this? Alternatively, if the "paying bills" job is quite light (2-3 hours per day), and we are willing to forego some sleep, can we still apply?
2) We prefer that you are able to work full-time on the product for the 8 weeks of the program.
The same way students can take a semester off, could employed people take a sabbatical to focus on this?
I was wondering what is the expected next 'round' of investment after successfully finishing the program.
Could one join the usual YC program or should he raise a larger amount of money after the program?
Can I still apply?
Would YC Fellowship be open to later stage startups?
We've already gone through a previous accelerator, done some fundraising (below series A) and have employees. Moving would be difficult for us since our key business is in fashion (we're in NYC) and also employees. As founders we're happy to go down to SF once in a while, but the remote option would suit us perfectly.
I'm just concerned if they're going to cut out later stage startups who have fundraising but re-launched or pivoted.
Can you let me know the timelines for the following,
1. When are we likely to have our interview?
2. When are we expected to kickstart our work?
We are currently working in a company. Answers to the above questions will help us to plan on quitting our regular job.
The main thing is to save money while you are working! It gives you freedom.
If your school policies are as flexible as mine (I was at CMU, which is awesome when it comes to leaves), definitely consider taking a semester off.
5 years down the line, it won't matter that much. So it's not the big battle you should be fighting.
This program sounds amazing. We took 30K from a good friend and they took some equity. Can we still apply? We would be willing to forfeit on the 12K
We hope accepted teams will still apply to YC (the timeline for that will be a little bit later than the normal application period.
If you aren't accepted to YCF, you're definitely welcome to apply to YC W16 with no penalty as well -- try to make good progress though in the interim period.
12k can easily pay off 2-3 months rent, server costs, marketing stuff, even a few flights. That's mental peace for 12 weeks to build something with 100% focus. That's an extremely high value priviledge.
This should make sense for a lot of startups.
12k is a small sum of money in SF. Assuming the founders don't want to live together in a studio, looking at >5k month in just rent. Other costs of living are also high. This leaves almost nothing for any actual start up costs.
Makes some sense if you're 22 and have no dependents, but 12k wouldn't be persuasive for a Bay Area founder with a family.
I've lived here for a while, and I wouldn't move here to do a startup today. Whatever marginal advantage there may have been to founding something here (and it was always small) has been more than consumed by the ridiculous costs. There's not even a recruiting advantage to locating here -- unemployment amongst software engineers in the SF bay area is like -150%. Every experienced engineer gets recruited on a daily basis, by startup companies that are basically indistinguishable. Startups here are increasingly hiring remote just to make it work (which seems like the worst of all worlds, really.)
Unless you're doing something where your customer base is in San Francisco (i.e. writing something for startups...or maybe tourism), you should definitely be somewhere else. Go where your customers are.
Other costs can be reduced as well.
I consider living in SF as an unnecessary luxury.
You're right. You can find studio and one bedroom apartments sub-$3K in places like Redwood City. The problem for starving founders is that landlords aren't going to lease to you when you can't show a sufficient, reliable income source (read: a real job) and sufficient credit score/history.
Best bet is to beg friends/family to look after to you (or to save up for living expenses) then chuck the $12k into the business idea where it is best used. I guess it is a test of resourcefulness, which one will definitely need to succeed in that game.
*That said it is $12k of strings-free money, and a very generous offer from a private company!
Now if the goal is to entice people making 6 figures at a tech job to quit their jobs and join this program, it probably isn't enough money. But maybe that isn't the goal?
> but as always we’ll consider solo founders too.
Please be extremely open minded about solo founders. I feel that is one consideration that hasn't been adapted with the changing tech landscape.
The real question is why you're even contemplating being a solo founder. Discounting you actually wanting to be solo (that's a whole different kettle of fish) the reason is probably because it's really hard to find a co-founder. Co-founder dating doesn't work, meetups have terrible SNR, etc.
It's an unfortunate (for the rest of the world, YC might disagree) fact that the best place to find a co-founder are places like Stanford. Elite US universities, which encourage entrepreneurship, where external factors align to create lots of liquidity around able co-founders.
So while I think something like the YC Fellowship is great, the team has missed the boat. The actual problem in very early stage startups is not money, but suitable co-founders.
(Of course I'm totally biased, since I run a startup program based on this concept in the UK .)
This is something I always worry about too. I have several really amazing people that I could partner with on a few different things but due to financial obligations there isn't anyway they'd be able to join full time unless there was an investment. So pitching as a solo always makes me nervous that I'll be immediately discounted even if I could bring in a partner shortly thereafter.
It's a fair point, but you have to take into account the fact that a lot of those people won't join you when you do get investment. It's the same thing as when two founders show up and talk about their rolodex of talent they have waiting to be hired as soon as there's money in the door - it's a useful data point, and certainly something to consider, but a good percentage of those people will typically not work out, or won't like the terms, or will want too much money, etc. So you can't treat it the same as the people who have the team onboard now.
Full disclosure: I work for EF - but if you're experiencing the sole technical founder problem you should check us out.
Can a single person apply for funding?
Yes, but the odds of being accepted are lower. A startup is too much work for one person.
A statement such as "A startup is too much work for one person" seems unusually stark and absolute for a company as progressive as YC. There are always exceptions, as mattkrisiloff as noted below.
I've been running my own solo small business for 8 years now. No need to mince words, it sucks. Trying to do the same, but with a startup? Where rapid growth is the key indicator for whether your business is dead or alive? I honestly don't believe most people are capable.
They are very strongly advising people to get help. It's good advice.
But if you strike out alone, good luck! I can't speak for everyone obviously and I can't generalize and say it only works this way. Just giving my two cents.
Update: Document is fully public now.
> Selected teams are strongly encouraged to move to the Bay Area for the program, but it’s not required.
I wish it wasn't so strongly encouraged. To move anywhere on a whim for 8 weeks is crazy to me, especially since the processes and tools for remote work are so readily available. It's becoming increasingly important to know and understand how to work with team members and stake holders all over the globe, so why not encourage that mindset from the very beginning?
Of course this will be a great opportunity for someone debating quitting a job or something, but it seems the most available people will be those just out of college.
To that end it will be interesting to actually see what types of people that this program works for and are accepted.
YC community? Is this going to be like Demo Day but without investors? I know this is an experiment, but what is envisioned here? Is it envisioned that the Fellows will/will not be ready for funding at the end of the fellowship...or completely unknown at this point?
Starting with idea/prototype where are Fellows expected to be at the end of 8 weeks?
But the bar will still remain higher for solo founders given all of our historical data.
I think this project could be very helpful in my situation, I have a great idea that is progressing (Deep Learning/AI Image Recognition SaaS) but would have a hard time putting together a suitable team that could survive with our current obligations in San Francisco (families, house payments, etc.) Maybe getting myself working on it full time could get it to the point where it could sustain itself enough that YC proper could work out financially for a bigger team. Very excited, I'm definitely going to apply.
Are the key differences - that the Fellowship is a grant, not an equity investment (for $12K, rather than the larger YC investment), that it lasts for only 8 weeks, and that the Fellowships aren't required to move to the Bay Area?
Early stage investors put around 20-50K USD and take 30% of equity (yes equity - convertible notes are shunned in India).
A USD 12K grant and the YC cred, would go a long way in rebalancing the ecosystem.
I personally believe that early stage pre-prototype money is so easy in the US... or the Kickstarter ecosystem is so effective (cant do a kickstarter from India).... or the university aided startup infrastructure is so mature, that this would not materially impact as many people as it would in India/Asia.
I've been working out of Denver and Vegas for several years now and the timing of this couldn't be better. After all, why iterate on the same dimension over and over and not try something new? I turn 50 on July 27. I've been working on fun projects for pretty much all of my adult life and I have better things to do than worry about things I can't control.
France gives you a lumpsum of your unemployment benefits if you start a business. If you were paid an average engineer salary, 2200€ net pm, it makes 42000€, and it's called ACCRE. The condition is to be fired, and not on our heavy fault. Most of my friends negotiate giving cash to their employers to get fired, so they could get ACCRE.
There are other grants (e.g. 6000€ for being a woman) and loans (28000€ for being a woman, and others named CIR if you employ PhDs). For all of that, you don't even need to have a good project, as opposed to applying to YC.
What I mean is, YC isn't targetting France, or is it?
Perhaps something got lost in translation, but that sounds unethical at best, and highly illegal at worst.
And we want people from all over the world to apply to YCF too. As long as you have a good enough internet connection for clear video chats, you don't have to move here either.
How many €10M+ companies got started with ACCRE money? Probably not even as many as there are $1B+ YC companies.
There's just no way we could create an Apple in France. It's too agressive, therefore we would forbid it.
YC certainly fares better in a decade than France in 30 years. But you shouldn't be self-deprecating, or you may start to believe it's impossible to start a startup in France. When there's a will, there's a way.
Anyhow, we're getting off-topic.
Essentially a variation of Cialdini's "reciprocity" principle (among others..)
People are free to do whatever they want with the grant and not go any further with YC but it's obvious that the good will and grant will cause a large percentage of them to not do that.
I did think about this reciprocity initially when I heard no equity involved, however I don't think YC & Co's problem is getting startups to agree take their money after mentoring? Their issue is likely getting enough investment opportunities to put cash into as fast as they can raise it. ( ie-pretty fast ). For that they need a bigger opportunity pipeline.
So, i basically agree that they are getting first dibs, but due little to Cialdini's rule on reciprocity. I'd point more towards 'Liking' (ie building the trust early) or 'Authority' since they are getting in the door first with founders and are likely the initial startup mentor.
What I see, is that this program is just a simple (relative) way to ignite some ideas that are on the cusp of being implemented, remove some of the founding barriers, and start a conversation with their team earlier on in the process (no one wants to be the third on the list to call to invest in a great co.). The standard YC class schedule and size limitations are likely the gating factors to their growth, especially when interest in 'startup investing' isn't declining, and YC has already made moves to make it easier for non-accredited investors to invest.
Maybe this is in line with what you were referring to.
Unfortunately a lot of these kids will probably feel guilt over taking the money and feel like they have some kind of obligation to take deals that are much worse for them.
As a next move, I'd like to see them go "pre-team" and put talented individuals with complimentary skill sets together behind a single idea.
Full disclosure: I have worked with them
How greatly do you anticipate this program impact getting into the "real" YC winter batch? Do you expect that after 8 weeks most good startups would be "ready" to be accepted into the winter class?
Do you expect that after completing the 8 weeks, teams will be ready to raise funds?
We hope we'll be able to help teams a lot -- YCF teams will be held up to the same standards as all other YC applicants though if they choose to apply. There won't be special treatment for YCF teams.
Maybe -- we at least hope they'll apply for funding from YC!
Edit: The application servers are back up! Look forward to reading your apps :)
I have a work contract through the end of December and must give at minimum three months notice to my employer if I leave before then, in order for them to have time to find a replacement. And three months is the legal bare minimum; better to plan more like 6 months out. Pretty sure this is the standard timeframe throughout the country, if not continent.
Just a heads up -- I'd guess there are at least a handful of others in my position.
We thought about trying to combine them, but they seem too different.
According the PG, the big ideas are not obvious at first, so how can you make good decisions on so many ideas in so little time? Probably YC is going to filter the apps through 1-2K YC founders or something and then have a score sheet, silos of expertise, etc. Basically selection by committee.
Though I like the concept, I am skeptical of the judging, as well as the sheer number of apps coming in worldwide - too much white noise which hurts the ability of the many US based startups trying to get a seat at the table.
The fwd.us initiative seems dead in the water, so can't do much there. This is a much more clever, more politically astute approach to finding possible candidates.
> for some people, [YCF] may be the difference between going to work at a big company and starting the next Airbnb
This is me. I applied to the YC summer batch and was rejected (I applied late, as a single founder, with only an idea). I've tried to push ahead anyway with my idea/startup and built a small prototype, but in the end decided to find a job. I have just now gotten a job offer from big G.
YCF looks really interesting to me. What should I do? Accept the job at G and then if accepted to YCF quit my job after 1 month? Any advice is appreciated
Of course, you can decide to launch sooner. :)