- 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?
Please tell us something surprising or amusing that one of you has discovered.
How 27 YC companies answered the "Please tell us something surprising or amusing that one of you has discovered." question from the YCombinator Application.
— 27 answers
1/ The vast majority of subscription revenue comes from people who forgot they were paying for a service and consumers’ willingness to pay for stuff is way higher than people give them credit for. 2/ Paid marketing is a *much* better channel than people give it credit for. It often costs a heck of a lot more to get word of mouth growth and “organic” growth than it does to just use FB or Google Ads for customer acquisition. Few companies like Netflix, Wish and Spotify understand this deeply; most others just complain about CAC and give up quickly.
Restaurants and hotels spend an insane amount of money on electricity but obsess over keeping lights turned off in toilets. Who hasn’t found themselves in a dark toilet because the motion sensor flicked the lights off while you were doing your business? :)
I had an issue when ordering sushi rolls from Japanese bars. I wanted them without cream cheese. It was hard. I got in trouble sometimes. People said they could not "customize food" for me. So I discovered a trick. I started saying I was allergic to cream cheese. It solved the problem. How you sell is very important. Keep trying until you make it.
Did you know that most claims about human psychology and behavior in the world's top journals are based on WEIRD samples (i.e., from Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic societies)? This is a big problem as you can't generalize most findings to the broader population or to other countries!
As I was working on a previous side project & getting into deep learning methods, I discovered the Word2Vec Libraries. Those are the equivalent of image recognition algorithms for text, and go way further: they let you modelize words in such a way that sentences and their meaning can be mathematically explained. For instance, it will give you in output : Obama = Poutine + US - Russia That's not by chance I chose this example, at some point this algorithm could create a lot of intelligence within your Slite usage.
Last year, we discovered that when we get a video interview with YC and the web page says “Wait until Adora connects” for longer than 3 hours, it probably means our connection dropped and the video interview is not happening. ?
Recent college grads in the Bay Area without student loan debt will spend 12 years saving for a home. Recent college grads with debt will spend 27 years to do the same.
The Flex Company(S16)Full application
I’ve always gotten yeast infections for a full week after my period when using tampons, and I learned through speaking with hundreds of women that many have the same issue; a dirty secret tampon companies and women themselves don’t talk about. After using FLEX many women — including Erika and I — no longer get post-period yeast infections. This isn’t so much amusing as it is amazing. Many of the women I speak with about their periods tell me that their mom started them on pads… because if they used a tampon, they “wouldn’t be a virgin anymore.” Women are always surprised at themselves for saying that. I think we don’t realize that period stigma is so deeply ingrained in us.
80,000 Hours(S15)Full application
The eradication of smallpox in 1973 has saved five times more lives than world peace since that time would have done. Even if we assume that all foreign aid was completely wasted except insofar as it caused the eradication of smallpox, it would still have saved a life for every $40,000 spent.
Before GitLab Sytse has build recreational manned submarines from scratch, the company he started is currently the largest producer of them in the world and is called U-Boat Worx http://www.uboatworx.com/
The word sonder from The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows. It is the realization that everyone you see on a daily basis has a life just as complex as your own. Not something you really think about. http://www.dictionaryofobscuresorrows.com/post/23536922667/sonder
Have you seen how many bathrooms some warehouses have?? They have some of the highest densities of bathrooms in a workplace. One union negotiated a clause that every employee must be less than 90 feet from a toilet at all times.
It turns out that if you vaporize alcohol into fog, it becomes a lot more fun. From inhaling just milliliters of the fog, one becomes light headed and tipsy. Furthermore, you can create flavored aromatic cocktails by crushing herbs into a glass, then passing the vapor over them and inhaling. I plan to incorporate this into a piece of immersive theatre.
Americans, each year, write roughly 25 billion checks. They use their credit cards roughly 22 billion times. While the number of consumer-to-business checks is going down, the number of consumer to consumer checks is going up. American consumers write on average 2.5 billion checks to each other each year.
I spent a week as a tourist in Iceland and never had to touch a piece of physical currency. It was amazing. Everyone took debit cards. Yet I still have to fumble through my pocket for some wadded up dollar bills to get across the Bay Bridge.
People think it’s red, but no one knows the best button color.
Standard Treasury(S13)Full application
The failure, if it was one, lay in the fact that, having too much to hold on to, they slowly lost what they had. On the whole, it was those who had least who were able to move most freely to the new world which was coming into existence. --That reading The Making of the Middle Ages can make you think of everything from startups to the state of America in the world (this happened in December)
-- Scammers and fakers hate us. We helped uncover a scam ring (selling counterfeit designer clothes) that was honeypotting Google servers . If we’re pissing off the scammers and fakers, we must be doing something right!  http://www.hervelegerobsessed.com/blog/2011/07/31/google-adword-loophole-anyone-can-redirect-ad -- Historically, Chanel bags have a stable rate of appreciation: 20% annually. This outperforms many stocks! -- Approximately 70% of Herve Leger dresses sold on Ebay are fake. -- Women think about fashion more than men think about sex . (Travis & Dave: Seriously?!? Fei: Yep. Travis: Bummer.)  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/08/fashion-study-online-2012_n_1580663.html
One Month(S13)Full application
The Nike logo was designed in 1971 by a graphic design student for $35 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swoosh).
The Muse(W12)Full application
91% of women feel advertisers don't understand them. Also, honey badger don't care.
Make School(W12)Full application
We recently found out that Trader Joe's sells the cheapest beer money can buy: Name Tag Lager. It turns out to be far more palatable than all the typical cheap college bears.
Red Robin is one of many companies who don't realize gmail users can add a period (".") anywhere in their email address and it lands in the same inbox. And because Red Robin now offers new loyalty club members one free appetizer and a free burger every year on the month of their 'birthday,' gmail users can get several free appetizers and a free burger every month of the year (I am 6 down, and 6 to-go).
You can start small word-memes among family and friends. Choose a word that is fairly obscure (but not obviously so), something like pedantic, sycophant or obsequious. Over a few days, casually inject it into conversation. Listen throughout the next week. The word will come up with surprising frequency. You can also do this with unique inflections, and distinct rhythms of speech.
Children are useless until around the age of three. I never thought it would take them that long to become real people.
Users have the tendency to defy your expectations all the time. If you don’t listen, you won’t survive.
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.