What kind of team do you think YC is looking for?
This is highly varied but there is a preference for
- Repeat founders - even if they failed before
- Good schools/education
- Good references
- Founders who have known each other for a long time, especially if they worked together before in any capacity
How do you think our program and partners can best support the teams?
All of the above
What is the most important question on YC application?
All of the questions are important, although there are some trick questions. For example, “How long have you been working on this” - if you have been working on it for a long time and have little or no progress to show for it, this is a negative
Both a top down and bottom up build up to your problem and solution
What is the business idea in two sentences? First sentence to frame, second sentence to position. The more concise the better.
What type of response would you consider a red flag in the application?
Lack of flexibility of thought
Exaggerated numbers out of context, such as “we grew 500%” without hard numbers
Getting revenue definitions wrong
What topics or ideas do you think the 1-minute video should cover or focus on?
Excitement about the problem
Data driven inputs into why you are proposing the solution you are proposing
Understanding unit economics
Why is this a $10bn valued business in the long term?
What is the most common mistake founders make on their application or during an interview?
Insufficient understanding of unit economics
Not describing a problem clearly and concisely (two sentences or less)
What is the best approach to get to the interview?
Write an amazing application- have many people review it and review it again after several revisions.
Include referrals. You can even write the referrals yourself, but be sure to let them edit it. Make it as easy for them as possible
When do you think is the right time to apply for YC?
Anytime after you have conviction on an idea but definitely by application deadline
What is the most important thing to include in the application? What is the least important?
Every question is important. See pitfalls listed above.
What advice would you give to a founder who is about to enter YC?
Dig deep. Research. Know the landscape. Understand the problem deeply. Talk to potential customers to get unbiased objective feedback. Distill customer feedback into actionable problems and solutions. Turn these into product and feature ideas.
Make sure you have a well rounded confounding team with at least one technical and one business and operations
Can you provide 1 or 2 examples of the application or interviews that impressed you in a positive way?
Be prepared and relaxed
An interviewee didn’t know an answer and admitted it, but stayed relaxed and followed up with an email immediately after the interviews
How can early-stage startup founders use their time effectively?
Work smart and efficiently. Use modern day tools to help. Use ChatGPT like an assistant. Learn to use it well by tinkering.
How do founders know what feedback to act on and what to ignore when they receive input from investors or customers regarding necessary changes to their product?
For starters, be extremely cautious of confirmation bias
Read The Mom Test. Not perfect but a good start to learning how to ask questions, dig on feedback, and process it in the most objective way possible.
Also read Influence by Robert Cialdini to understand the psychology of both sides of an exchange.
What is your favorite question to ask founders?
Why do you care about this problem?
Why do you want to work on this for the next ten years? Why is this your life’s work?
Why do you want to start your own company?
What does success look like?
On the application, there is the question “if you join any accelerator or program”, if I am part of 886 Velocity, how should I answer it?
It is OK to mention you’re with 886 Velocity since we are not an accelerator.
The red flag is if you join multiple accelerators: people may wonder if you have the openness to take feedback.
Are there any common traits among YC founders?
What's the best way for founders to talk about their startups?
Get lots of feedback!
What is the important but often overlooked aspect in the startup process?
This is an entire doc in itself!
The most important thing with regards to this document is the YC application.
Marketing & Product
How would you define a good MVP?
Depends on the problem
What do founders need to consider about their product when applying to YC?
How should founders effectively communicate their vision and value proposition to the customers?
The application is it! It must be excellent