- 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 about an interesting project, preferably outside of class or work, that two or more of you created together.
How 25 YC companies answered the "Please tell us about an interesting project, preferably outside of class or work, that two or more of you created together." question from the YCombinator Application.
— 25 answers
We made a consumer subscription app called [REDACTED] in December 2020 because we thought that the space was super interesting. We learned iOS development, designed and shipped v1 in 1 week and then launched a TikTok Ad campaign. The app reached $8K MRR in mid-Feb but we got bored and decided we wanted to do something much bigger so we stopped working on it as much. It's currently running on autopilot, we haven't done any work on it since mid-Feb.
Phelim and I have worked together on my latest research project around diversity and whether it can spark curiosity and creativity. The experimental setup was complex because it was designed longitudinally and required follow-up with participants: Every 2 days over the course of 14 days I'd ask participants to complete a 5-min study session. Phelim wrote python scripts to help me to combine, manage, and analyze the data sets (there are no good tools to automate this, yet...). Interestingly, in this work we found that exposure to diversity can spark curiosity, but not necessarily creativity.
Yes! We won a global hackathon in Miami! See this report: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/hacking-startups-growth-globally-pedro-g%C3%B3es/
Last winter, we were curious about what it would take to build a decentralized social network and hacked together Peppy, a block-chain alternative to Twitter as an experiment.
A while ago, we did a fun little project together called Milkshake. Using the app, users could express what they were up to at anytime by using up to 3 emojis, their location, and optionally an image. Our assumption was that the barrier to post a good picture on Instagram or tweet something interesting was too high and most people didn’t create content on those platforms often enough. Maybe if people were constrained to 3 emojis and their location to express what they were up to, they would not feel too much pressure to post content. During the prototyping phase, we learned that although creating content was easier, the generated content was not interesting enough for users to scroll through every day. No working demo anymore but here’s one of the designs! https://imgur.com/a/u2jw0
As I'm a solo founder I will talk about one of my personal project, Wikiwars(wikiwars.co). 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 ?!
The Flex Company(S16)Full application
Our team is based in San Francisco but one member (Whitney) lives in L.A. We’re always looking for ways to save money on gas or flights. I came up with a concept for a DJ set and pitched a popular S.F. nightclub. I had never done anything like this but I managed to successfully broker a deal that paid for Whitney’s flight and her time. Plus, we had enough money remaining to purchase product samples and business cards! She played a sold-out show with another popular DJ and we took the opportunity to promote FLEX, gain trial sign-ups, and give away product samples.
80,000 Hours(S15)Full application
Will and I started to work together on career content the first time we met, over four years ago. Our first project was a talk on how to make the most difference with your career, which we gave as part of Will’s first charity, Giving What We Can. The first time we gave the talk, a quarter of the audience completely changed what they were planning to do with their lives. So we decided to work together some more! The (embarrassing) original is still on youtube….https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lAnh2FApskM
We created GitLab together () and now over 100.000 organizations are using it. We also created GitLab CI and GitLab CI Runner together . This pair of programs allow organizations to distribute their code testing over a number of workers.
James & Praful: http://www.northeastern.edu/entrepreneurs/programs/northeastern-io/ In 2010 we co-founded iMadeIT (now NU.io), an entrepreneurial club that teaches students of all levels and backgrounds to create their own websites. Our members were primarily composed of business majors with lots of ideas and no background in programming. Within 2 years, we became the biggest entrepreneurial club at Northeastern. The club still runs successfully today and grew to over 100 active members by the time we passed it over to other student leaders.
During high school the three of us ran a small freelance development studio called In0v8. Our biggest project was developing an iOS and Android app called KoKoKo for TinkTank Inc (Firm based out of Chicago that was shut down a year ago). Kokoko was a learning game for young children who speak Korean to learn english or vice versa. I still don’t know how we got the contact to this date considering we had never developed a mobile app before but we managed to get it finished and released. http://dailyappshow.com/tinktank-announces-release-of-kokoko-app https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhkE_6t34Cg
Our first start-up idea was a loyalty program that works without requiring cashiers to verify. We took the idea of a RSA token combined with the idea of Foursquare check-ins to produce a device that validates whether someone is really in a store. We built the hardware together beginning from breadboard prototypes to fully enclosed and polished product. We did this so that we could scale to more locations with lower cost. We learned a lot from doing this but ultimately had to do a pivot because it didn’t solve a painful enough problem for retailers. Pictures of the AvidTap box evolution: https://dannysu.com/2013/06/14/evolution-of-box/
We haven't worked together on any other projects, but it turns out we have competed against each other twice. Once about ten years ago when building fighting robots (Battlebots, on Comedy Central) and more recently during the DARPA self‑driving car challenges. Battlebots: http://battlebots.wikia.com/wiki/Decimator http://battlebots.wikia.com/wiki/Bot‑a‑Bing Self‑driving cars: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10100100951758668 https://www.dropbox.com/s/t48lfkzsy1gq5va/AVS09.pdf
We spent the last year building a tech startup together ‐ Datoral (rapid data visualization with natural search) We secured pilots with 5 blue‐chip companies, raised a £150k round at a valuation of £1.5m and built a tech platform that wowed many clients and investors. We sadly had to close the company due to the hostile actions of a third co‐founder. We hugely enjoyed working together and found ourselves a great pairing
Standard Treasury(S13)Full application
http://deciens.com/ We raised the money, we have made investments. We have been to YC demo days and invested in Keychain Logistics.
Fei (bebefuzz) and Travis (beambot): In Jan 2010, Travis and Fei set up a blog (HerveLegerObsessed.com). Fei worked on the blog (part-time outside of work) for ~2 years. It morphed into a pseudo-auction site that resulted in over $60,000 worth of transactions (not including affiliate or ad revenue) -- which inspired this company!
We prototyped an app called Firesale that helps people sell unwanted stuff. To create a market of buyers, we brought on full-time Craigslist market makers. The Craigslist expert users complained about the process of being first to email a poster, so we optimized the messaging to make transacting as fast for them as possible. They also complained about Craigslist lacking a reputation/identity system, so we implemented one. We put Firesale on hold to work on Apptimize.
One Month(S13)Full application
Over the last few years I've helped launch over a dozen products at various startups, so I've started teaching a popular workshop at General Assembly on growth hacking for startups. On Slideshare the slides for the class have been viewed and shared over 118k times (http://www.slideshare.net/mattangriffel/growth-hacking). I was able to bring together a solid team of writers and strategists – including my good friend and business partner Conrad Wadowski – and started GrowHack, a growth hacking agency for startups (http://www.growhack.com/). So far we've done training or set up monthly retainers with companies like Detroit Venture Partners, Quotidian Ventures, First Round Capital, Betterment, JPMorgan and Pepsi to help them (or their portfolio companies) better understand how to acquire and retain users.
We've worked on many projects together that have gone viral and plugged on TechCrunch, Mashable, Time, Geekwire, and even an interview on the Seattle evening news. Our business this summer was AvantCard, an exchangeable branded gift card that we billed as a better alternative to your everyday gift card for most gift card givers: http://getavantcard.com. Our API-hacky projects are numerous and got tons of attention: http: //readstreamapp.com http://grimtweeper.com http://wheremyfriends.be http://tasteplug.com
The Muse(W12)Full application
For several months in 2009 and 2010, all three co-founders co-led a team that tackled the 10-year strategic review for Sesame Workshop (aka Sesame Street)'s South African production, Takalani Sesame. We created a strategy and operations project that focused on key strengths and weaknesses of the organization's partners (broadcasting, production, and funding), as well as areas for Takalani's growth in the future. Starting in September 2010, all three cofounders began working on a venture called PYP Media, which was the predecessor to The Daily Muse. We had two co-founders at the time who were not a good fit, which led to a split in July 2011 after which we formed The Daily Muse (see below).
Make School(W12)Full application
Ashu and Jeremy work together at Manifold Studios. We develop iOS games (www.manifoldstudios.com). Our first game, WarSquared, was featured on the App Store, and we are currently taking time off from school to work on another game, Realms at War, that we are launching by Christmas.
For a mobile development class, we created a Barefoot Running application for the iPhone. The app allows users to report and view the location of glass shards — centralized in an off-site database — and keeps track of speed and distance data throughout a run. We also jointly created BijectKarma, a community connecting designers and developers. We had trouble attracting initial users, however, and the site was taken offline.
High school produces much that is sub-impressive. One result for us, now 12 years in the running, was the creation of an international holiday. Mind you, it is only celebrated by about 100 people--but we have met people outside of our influence, and even from other countries, who celebrate the day. Observed on Dec. 27th and known as the "twenty-seventh" or "the new day". We created the day in response to the nonsensical notion of people being over-excited about the new year, when in fact it is just another day. Festivities include your standard revelry on the evening of Dec. 26th, followed by the collective singing of Louis Armstrong's rendition of "What a Wonderful World" to bring in the day
Recently we’ve been working on a music search and on-demand streaming site called SongRaptor (http://songraptor.com). We built it to use as a case study for Mixpanel; we use Mixpanel for all the metrics and we’ve been making design decisions based on this data. Eventually we hope to show the effect that Mixpanel metrics can have on the growth of a site. We haven’t gotten much farther than the most basic functionality yet. We’ve been spending most of our time on Mixpanel while our other friends continue development.
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.)