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How long have the founders known one another and how did you meet? Have any of the founders not met in person?

How 25 YC companies answered the "How long have the founders known one another and how did you meet? Have any of the founders not met in person?" question from the YCombinator Application.

25 answers / 56 words on average
Unfortunately, founder breakups happen way too often. YC partners want to understand if you're in a risk zone. Show YC that you know your co-founder for a long time or have worked with them before.

"How long have the founders known one another and how did you meet? Have any of the founders not met in person?" — 25 answers


Full application

We've known each other for almost 4 yrs. We met in college where we both worked in the AI and Vision lab and quickly became best friends. We've also been roommates in SF for the last couple years.


Full application

Phelim and I have known each other for 6+ years. We met in 2012 while studying for our Masters at the University of Cambridge. Phelim was doing a Masters in Computational Biology and I was studying Social and Developmental Psychology.


Full application

We met in College, in Brazil, in 2011. University of São Paulo as engineer students. We have been colleagues and then working together for more than 8 years now. We are very direct, very transparent and we discuss everything between us.


Full application

As of today, I'm a solo founder and this situation suits me perfectly. This is especially true as I have already built an incredible team of 7 people with huge ownership on Slite and as I'm helped by great mentors, starting with the french startup studio eFounders. Having launched 2 startups with 3 cofounders, I know how hard it is to find the right co-founders. If in a near future I find someone with an entrepreneurial soul, fitting perfectly with the team and bringing essential value to Slite, It will be an evidence to incorporate her or him in the founding team.


Full application

Greg and Hemant have known each other for well over a year, and met when they started working as early hires at Rippling YC W17 out of Parker Conrad's unfinished basement in the Mission.


Full application

Known each other for two years and met through a common friend during a trip.

The Flex Company(S16)

Full application

I’m a sole founder with a strong team of two full-timers, six freelancers, and four hard-working advisors. AJ Forsythe of iCracked (YC W12) knew I was looking for someone with ecommerce acquisition experience and introduced me to his friend, Erika Jensen, who has 10 years of ecommerce business, most recently at JimmyJane leading marketing and acquisition efforts. She joined us in summer 2015 and has been building our ecommerce website and will be leading our online acquisition efforts. Panpan Wang has a background in health as an entrepreneur and investor. He’s been working with me on FLEX since January 2015 in a working advisory role and has seen the company grow from pre-pitch deck to what it is today. Over the last two months, he’s taken a more active role. He’s also my life partner and quit his VC role in SF to move to LA and help me grow the business. We’ve been friends for over two years and have dated for one year.


Full application

We have known each other for more than 5 years since we all met in High School. During High School we had a small development firm called In0v8 where we made apps and websites. We all are currently students at Purdue University.


Full application

In 2011 Dmitriy started GitLab. We met in 2012 via email when Sytse started building In 2013 we formally started a company together and went on team trips a few times since than.


Full application

James & Praful have known each other since 2010 at Northeastern University. They worked on building iMadeIT together and built small projects together. Praful & Shawn met through a Self Driving Vehicle meet-up that was setup to build prototypes of autonomous vehicles in April 2013. James & Shawn met in May 2014 at our old office in New Brunswick. All 3 of us have been working together full time on this as roommates in Jersey City since June 2014.

80,000 Hours(S15)

Full application

Will and Ben met and started working together four years ago. Since then we’ve run a press campaign that was featured in the BBC, advised policy makers at the UK Prime Minister's office, fundraised hundreds of thousands of dollars, and much else. Peter and James have both been supporters since the early days. James joined our advisory board in 2013, and we’ve finally tempted him to leave his current organisation to join us full time. Peter joined the team as a freelancer in August 2014 as we moved our focus to online. He got so much done we quickly brought him up to full time and asked him to become a founder.


Full application

Chris and I have known each‐other since undergraduate at Cambridge. We met (unglamorously) in the college bar.


Full application

We met in early October 2013 after being introduced by Danielle Fong (Chief Scientist, LightSail Energy).


Full application

Almost three years. GFlarity and DannySu met when they both worked at in 2011. CanadaKaz met the two of them through FounderDating in summer of 2012. We’ve been working together full time since fall of 2012.


Full application

Travis (beambot) & Fei (bebefuzz): We met in AP Chemistry in high school. We’ve known each other for 12 years, been a couple for 11, and married for 3. Travis (beambot) & Dave (dmohs): We’ve been close friends since we both worked at Sandia National Labs (Livermore, CA) in 2005. Travis introduced Dave to LISP; he caught the bug and left for ITA Software in Boston.

Standard Treasury(S13)

Full application

We've known each other since we were 16, when met at Harvard summer school.

One Month(S13)

Full application

I'm a solo founder. However I'm building a team for support that already consists of three of my best former students as TAs to help with questions, a Thiel Fellowship semi-finalist to help with operations, the head of user growth at SideTour to help get new students, and the lead designer at BOXEE to help with UX/UI. I'm also the NY Ambassador to the Sandbox Network, a global network of 800 entrepreneurs under 30 years old (, so I potentially have a large network of incredibly talented people to tap into to build a bigger team.


Full application

We met a couple years ago through mutual friends and started working together when Jeremy convinced Nancy to leave NYC for the Bay.

The Muse(W12)

Full application

All three founders met while working together at McKinsey & Company in the summer of 2008. We have worked together on numerous McKinsey-­related projects throughout 2008, 2009, and 2010, culminating in the Takalani Sesame 10­-year strategic planning and review described above. In September 2010, KMinshew and ACavoulacos founded their first company together, PYP Media, with two other ex-­McKinsey women. We quickly brought MMcCreery in as our first employee and Managing Editor. PYP grew quickly and won a Forbes' award for Top Websites for Women under Kathryn and Alex's leadership and Melissa's editorial direction, but some jockeying for control by founders #3-­4 led to the disbanding of the founding team (pre-­funding) and the formation of The Daily Muse in July 2011, with KMinshew, ACavoulacos, and MMcCreery as co­founders. It was a painful and an expensive learning experience ­ but a great one for us to have so early on. Needless to say, we've learned some pretty incredible lessons from the failure of our first company. [For reference, we worked closely with Bo Yaghmaie at Cooley LLP to make sure our new company was 100% legally kosher, and we're good.]

Make School(W12)

Full application

Jeremy and Ashu went to Menlo High School and took advanced classes in Math and Computer Science together in which we made our first (non-commercial) video games. We are currently living and working together at Manifold Studios


Full application

Ajay and I have been best friends since 4th grade after our parents fortunately put us in the same 'gifted education' program in Bellevue (suburb of Seattle). We bonded over nerd stuff, got into tech together in high school, and have worked on all our projects together.


Full application

1.5 years. Ethan was Muzzammil’s TA. While working on a problem set, Muzzammil mentioned his interest in startups. Ethan asked if he had heard of Y Combinator, which of course Muzzammil had. As it turned out, we were both fishing for potential co-founders.


Full application

14 years and we met in high school. Lloyd is a Libra and Jason Pisces--we both enjoy long walks on the beach, and the gentle sound of the mandolin.


Full application

I’ve known Tim for just over a year. We were in the same discrete math class, and I noticed that there were quite a few smart CS types and thought that we should get something going. After class one day I introduced myself to them and suggested we could do a startup. Then everyone expressed interest, but only Tim followed up. Since then we’ve been hanging out and talking about startups. Tim went to Singapore to study last semester, and when he got back I pitched Mixpanel to him. He was interested and I wanted a cofounder so I brought him on board.


Full application

There's a joke in here somewhere.

"How long have the founders known one another and how did you meet? Have any of the founders not met in person?" — advice from YC partners

Zain Shah (Data Scientist at Opendoor, YC alum)


Founder breakups are a leading cause of startup failure. You need to be in it for the long-haul, together. Display evidence of having worked with your co-founder before on projects or having known your co-founder for a very long time.

David Chen (Co-founder of Strikingly, YC alum)


Show strong friendship and teamwork between founders.

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