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Slite YCombinator Application

Slite successful YCombinator application from 2018 winter batch (YC W18).

Improving communication for remote and async teams.
Slite gives your team one place to collect knowledge and stay in tune across time and space. Built since 2016 in remote, it's the ideal documentation and communication tool for remote teams and comes with the best templates and advices for these teams.
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Describe what your company does in 50 characters or less.

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The first note app designed for teams

What is your company going to make? Please describe your product and what it does or will do.

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Slite brings transparency and accessibility to your team’s knowledge through notes, much like Slack brought transparency to your communication with chat.


Please enter the url of a 1 minute unlisted (not private) YouTube video introducing the founder(s).

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Who writes code, or does other technical work on your product? Was any of it done by a non-founder?

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Christophe kicked off the first version of the project. The technical part of Slite is now lead by our 2 senior developers Pierre & Arnaud, both highly invested, while the product development is lead by Christophe.

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

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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.

Please tell us about an interesting project, preferably outside of class or work, that two or more of you created together.

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As I'm a solo founder I will talk about one of my personal project, Wikiwars( It's a straightforward web app allowing you to play the Wiki game in real time with friends or strangers : you have to go as fast as possible from 1 page of wikipedia to another, using only internal links. The first challenge was to build entirely the app, from the conceptions to the development and design. The second unexpected challenge was to write a efficient script to find reachable pages in the vastness of wikipedia. Try it out and let me know if you enjoyed it ?!


How far along are you?

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I wrote the first line of code 1 year ago, and the journey has been incredible. In a year, we designed and developed a real-time desktop app with a full-featured collaborative editor, with no technical debt. We built an incredible team with the right skills in product and development. I kicked-off Slite technically, built the first version of it, and found Pierre and Arnaud, our 2 first senior developers. They had respectively built a chrome note editor with more than 50K users and a B2B collaborative business plan editor. More than their technical skills and experience, the cornerstone of Slite has been our human fit. We launched our private beta 5 months ago, and with no public communication, we have a gathered a great set of beta testers, companies from 3 to 120 users, giving us incredibly useful feedback. It allowed us to fix the remaining weaknesses of the product in order to launch our public beta in October. To handle this, we are now a team of 7, with 4 amazing developers, a sales, a marketing person, and myself handling the product.

How long have each of you been working on this? How much of that has been full-time?

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Full-time, I have hard times being part-time on something ?

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?

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We launched our private beta to a limited set of pilots 5 months ago and we currently have 400+ active users spread among 50+ teams. Interesting fact: we both onboarded small teams and SMBs. Our largest by far, ABTasty, has more than 100 users active on Slite.

If you have already participated or committed to participate in an incubator, "accelerator" or "pre-accelerator" program, please tell us about it.

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Slite is funded and benefits from the thorough help of eFounders, a startup studio that previously accelerated Front & Hivy among others.


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?

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I launched Slite because note is an evidence to me. Like Chat went from private sphere to business sphere with software like Slack, I'm convinced Note will spread from consumer to businesses. Note is more than writing, it's holding our personal knowledge, and nothing is as powerful as sharing knowledge. That's why we're building Slite: to have 1 place for teams to make the content that matters to them both transparent and easily accessible.

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)?

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Slite replaces all the tools you use to write content that matters: Word, Google Doc, wikis, the list is long. The biggest change is that we're bringing the ease of use & access of notes to teams, and therefore giving them a go-to tool to write things down and a clear view of what exactly had been written by their teammates.

What do you understand about your business that other companies in it just don't get?

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Word processors focus on independent docs, Slite is all about the big picture. And when Wikis see knowledge as static, Slite sees in it all the information that matters, and retains value over time. In short, for the first time an app makes the bridge between all the information that matters across a team, wether it's processes, how-tos, day-to-day learnings, meeting minutes, or whatever brings value to the rest of the team. And Slite leverages the power of notes to make this information clear for everyone.

Who are your competitors, and who might become competitors? Who do you fear most?

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We have 3 types of competitors : - word processors that are becoming more and more collaborative among which Dropbox Paper, Google docs and Word - wikis like Confluence & google Site - And eventually hybrid tools like Quip & Notion, trying to solve project management and knowledge while making documents evolve

How do or will you make money? How much could you make?

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We'll sell Slite on a pay-per-user model, starting at 10$/user/month. The potential here is really similar to Slack's, as we intend to be the obvious choice for SMBs up to 500 people 5 years from now.

How will you get users? If your idea is the type that faces a chicken-and-egg problem in the sense that it won't be attractive to users till it has a lot of users (e.g. a marketplace, a dating site, an ad network), how will you overcome that?

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Our first customers are tech companies from 3 to 200 users. 2 very simple ways of sourcing them is to target Slack's paying users as well as companies relying on remote teams.


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.

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Really not for right now but at some point in the future I'll build the next generation of remote tool, allowing with a set of mixed reality & 360 cameras to get the proximity effect you have with your teammate across the desk. While it's really still in my mind, I'd be happy to be challenged on this one!

Please tell us something surprising or amusing that one of you has discovered.

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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.


What convinced you to apply to Y Combinator? Did someone encourage you to apply? Have you been to any YC events?

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Feedback from startups that went through it. It feels like a must for companies like Slite that need to be mainstream super fast. Plus, after having exchanged with Alumni, I have the sensation YC makes a lot of sense in 2 different cases: companies with the right energy but that need to pivot, and companies with a beginning of product market fit, ready to deploy really fast. Slite is definitely in this phase, and YC could be gamechanger for us.

How did you hear about Y Combinator?

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