- Please enter the url of a 1 minute unlisted (not private) YouTube video introducing the founder(s).
- Who writes code, or does other technical work on your product? Was any of it done by a non-founder?
- How long have the founders known one another and how did you meet? Have any of the founders not met in person?
- Please tell us about an interesting project, preferably outside of class or work, that two or more of you created together.
- Please tell us in one or two sentences about something impressive that each founder has built or achieved.
- Please tell us about the time you most successfully hacked some (non-computer) system to your advantage.
- How far along are you?
- How long have each of you been working on this? How much of that has been full-time?
- When will you have a prototype or beta?
- How many active users or customers do you have? How many are paying? Who is paying you the most, and how much do they pay you?
- We're interested in your revenue over the last several months. (Not cumulative and not GMV).
- Anything else you would like us to know regarding your revenue or growth rate?
- If you are applying with the same idea as a previous batch, did anything change? If you applied with a different idea, why did you pivot and what did you learn from the last idea?
- If you have already participated or committed to participate in an incubator, "accelerator" or "pre-accelerator" program, please tell us about it.
- Why did you pick this idea to work on? Do you have domain expertise in this area? How do you know people need what you're making?
- What's new about what you're making? What substitutes do people resort to because it doesn't exist yet (or they don't know about it)?
- Who are your competitors? What do you understand about your business that they don't?
- How do or will you make money? How much could you make?
- How do users find your product? How did you get the users you have now? If you run paid ads, what is your cost of acquisition?
- Have you formed ANY legal entity yet?
- Please list all legal entities you have and in what state or country each was formed (e.g. Delaware C Corp, Mexican SAPI, Singapore Pvt Ltd, etc.).
- Please describe the breakdown of the equity ownership in percentages among the founders, employees and any other stockholders. If there are multiple founders, be sure to give the equity ownership of each founder and founder title (e.g. CEO).
- Have you taken any investment yet?
- How much money do you spend per month?
- How much money does your company have in the bank now?
- How long is your runway?
- Is there anything else we should know about your company?
Dropbox YCombinator Application
Dropbox successful YCombinator application from 2007 summer batch (YC S07).
If you have a demo, what's the url?More responses
Here's a screencast that I'll also put up on news.yc: http://www.getdropbox.com/screencast/ If you do have a Windows box or two, here's the latest build: http://www.getdropbox.com/u/2/DropboxInstaller.exe
What is your company going to make? Please describe your product and what it does or will do.More responses
Dropbox synchronizes files across your/your team's computers. It's much better than uploading or email, because it's automatic, integrated into Windows, and fits into the way you already work. There's also a web interface, and the files are securely backed up to Amazon S3. Dropbox is kind of like taking the best elements of subversion, trac and rsync and making them "just work" for the average individual or team. Hackers have access to these tools, but normal people don't. It's currently in private beta and I add batches of people every few days. There are lots of interesting possible features. One is syncing Google Docs/Spreadsheets (or other office web apps) to local .doc and .xls files for offline access, which would be strategically important as few web apps deal with the offline problem.
Who writes code, or does other technical work on your product? Was any of it done by a non-founder?More responses
How long have the founders known one another and how did you meet? Have any of the founders not met in person?More responses
There's a joke in here somewhere.
Please tell us about an interesting project, preferably outside of class or work, that two or more of you created together.More responses
Accolade Online SAT prep (launched in 2004) (http://www.accoladeprep.com/); a poker bot (here's an old screenshot: https://www.accoladeprep.com/sshot2.gif ; it's using play money there but worked with real money too.)
Please tell us in one or two sentences about something impressive that each founder has built or achieved.More responses
Drew - Programming since age 5; startups since age 14; 1600 on SAT; started profitable online SAT prep company in college (accoladeprep.com). For fun last summer reverse engineered the software on a number of poker sites and wrote a real-money playing poker bot (it was about break-even; see screenshot url later in the app.)
How far along are you?More responses
Prototype - done in Feb. Beta - in people's hands now. Version I can charge for: 6-8 weeks?
How long have each of you been working on this? How much of that has been full-time?More responses
3 months part time. About ~5KLOC client and ~2KLOC server of python, C++, Cheetah templates, installer scripts, etc.
What's new about what you're making? What substitutes do people resort to because it doesn't exist yet (or they don't know about it)?More responses
Most small teams have a few basic needs: (1) team members need their important stuff in front of them wherever they are, (2) everyone needs to be working on the latest version of a given document (and ideally can track what's changed), (3) and team data needs to be protected from disaster. There are sync tools (e.g. beinsync, Foldershare), there are backup tools (Carbonite, Mozy), and there are web uploading/publishing tools (box.net, etc.), but there's no good integrated solution. Dropbox solves all these needs, and doesn't need configuration or babysitting. Put another way, it takes concepts that are proven winners from the dev community (version control, changelogs/trac, rsync, etc.) and puts them in a package that my little sister can figure out (she uses Dropbox to keep track of her high school term papers, and doesn't need to burn CDs or carry USB sticks anymore.) At a higher level, online storage and local disks are big and cheap. But the internet links in between have been and will continue to be slow in comparison. In "the future", you won't have to move your data around manually. The concept that I'm most excited about is that the core technology in Dropbox -- continuous efficient sync with compression and binary diffs -- is what will get us there.
Who are your competitors, and who might become competitors? Who do you fear most?More responses
Carbonite and Mozy do a good job with hassle-free backup, and a move into sync would make sense. Sharpcast (venture funded) announced a similar app called Hummingbird, but according to Jeff (who is good friends with the tech lead) they're taking an extraordinarily difficult approach involving NT kernel drivers. Google's coming out with GDrive at some point. Microsoft's Groove does sync and is part of Office 2007, but is very heavyweight and doesn't include any of the web stuff or backup. There are apps like Omnidrive and Titanize but the implementations are buggy or have bad UIs.
What do you understand about your business that other companies in it just don't get?More responses
Competing products work at the wrong layer of abstraction and/or force the user to constantly think and do things. The "online disk drive" abstraction sucks, because you can't work offline and the OS support is extremely brittle. Anything that depends on manual emailing/uploading (i.e. anything web-based) is a non-starter, because it's basically doing version control in your head. But virtually all competing services involve one or the other. With Dropbox, you hit "Save", as you normally would, and everything just works, even with large files (and binary diffs ensure that only the changed portions go over the wire).
How do or will you make money? How much could you make?More responses
The current plan is a freemium approach, where we give away free 1GB accounts and charge for additional storage (maybe ~$5/mo or less for 10GB for individuals and team plans that start at maybe $20/mo.). It's hard to get consumers to pay for things, but fortunately small/medium businesses already pay for solutions that are subsets of what Dropbox does and are harder to use. There will be tiered pricing for business accounts (upper tiers will retain more older versions of documents, have branded extranets for secure file sharing with clients/partners, etc., and an 'enterprise' plan that features, well, a really high price.) I've already been approached by potential partners/customers asking for a web services API to programmatically create Dropboxes (e.g. to handle file sharing for Assembla.com, a web site for managing global dev teams). There's a natural synergy between project mgmt/groupware web apps (which do to-do lists, calendaring, etc. well but not files) and Dropbox for file sharing. I've also had requests for an enterprise version that would sit on a company's network (as opposed to my S3 store) for which I could probably charge a lot.
Have you formed ANY legal entity yet?More responses
If you had any other ideas you considered applying with, please list them. One may be something we've been waiting for. Often when we fund people it's to do something they list here and not in the main application.More responses
One click screen sharing (already done pretty well by Glance); a wiki with version-controlled drawing canvases that let you draw diagrams or mock up UIs (Thinkature is kind of related, but this is more text with canvases interspersed than a shared whiteboard) to help teams get on the same page and spec things out better (we use Visio and Powerpoint at Bit9, which suck for working collaboratively); some ideas surrounding better web analytics for newbies
Please tell us something surprising or amusing that one of you has discovered.More responses
The ridiculous things people name their documents to do versioning, like "proposal v2 good revised NEW 11-15-06.doc", continue to crack me up.