- 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?
Who are your competitors? What do you understand about your business that they don't?
How 59 YC companies answered the "Who are your competitors? What do you understand about your business that they don't?" question from the YCombinator Application.
- Who are your competitors, and who might become competitors? Who do you fear most?
- What do you understand about your business that other companies in it just don't get?
— 59 answers
I divide competition into two groups: established and upcoming. Established competitors are Notion and Roam. These tools all provide a better take on knowledge management and have significant traction and funding with their current user base. Upcoming competitors are Obsidian, Logseq and Foam. These tools are all free and attract a similar customer base as Dendron. At this point, no competitor offers the equivalent of Dendron's hierarchal features. My greatest fear and hope, is that they do. Using hierarchies to manage notes goes against what is currently trendy (eg. structureless approach to note taking). Half the battle right now is convincing people to give Dendron a shot because of our focus on hierarchies (once they do, they end up sticking with it). If more tools adopt hierarchies, it'll lower the friction for people to adopt Dendron. If we end up in a world where we compete on hierarchical features, not only will Dendron have a headstart but it will also have significant mindshare in pioneering the new trend.
Dendron is hierarchy first because we believe hierarchies are among the most efficient structures for people to make sense of vast quantities of information. The reason we don't see more people using them is because there has never been a note taking tool that has made working with hierarchies simple and scalable. Dendron is such a tool.
We think most people in the space don’t understand how overlooked DS tooling is and that if you capture the DS notebook (home for Data Scientist/ML Engineer), you can expand easily into other areas of the data and ML pipelines. There’s a ton of focus on DevTools for devs, not much on tools for pseudo-devs (DSs) -- we think this is a pretty big opportunity that we can go after.
We don’t have any real competitors right now except Deepnote (YC S19) and Naas (https://naas.ai). We don’t really fear them. In the future we think Databricks, Domino Data Lab, AWS, Azure and GCP could all become competitors. We do fear Databricks changing their notebook product to be exactly the same as ours -- if they do this, we’re not sure what we’d do because they own so much of the data infra in a company’s stack that it would be very difficult to compete with them.
In an ideal world, everyone would use our API from day one and skip building email notifications entirely. However, today, most companies have already invested in their email notifications and are reluctant to switch to a new API. We find that it's vital not to underestimate this inertia. To help them migrate to MagicBell, without writing any code to talk to our API, we let them bcc their existing email notifications to us and embed our notification center in their product. This setup takes less than 30 mins. Over time they can start using the API to build new notifications. This quick and low-risk way of delivering value to their users significantly reduces the friction of adoption.
Twilio provides APIs for delivering notifications on different channels and hence could be considered indirect competition. In fact, Twilio just participated in the Series A funding of XXX, that’s solving the same problem, albeit with a different approach. It's possible that companies like Pusher or Onesignal offer a competing product in the future.
We’re not seeing majors players in this space, but companies that are most equipped to take on this space: * Mighty Networks * Teachable * Lambda School We fear Teachable the most due to their access to a rich pool of online creators. It’s important to note here that online courses don’t cut it for career-changing education.
A few things really: 1/ Online trade schools are the future. Online courses are a generally ineffective medium for job training as only 13% of those bought are ever finished. For career-changing education, students need a project-based environment with direct access to the instructor and peers (for accountability and social pressure). 2/ Mid-career education and job retraining will continue to become increasingly important. Only 27% of college graduates land a job related to their major. This along with a host of other factors is leading to record job dissatisfaction rates; however, students aren’t willing to enroll in expensive 2–4 year-long programs to fix this problem. They want a more lightweight solution that helps them pick up new skills without the high cost of traditional universities. 3/ Income Share Agreements are essential for any mid-career educational programs to work. Unlike undergraduate programs, which can be financed through the support of your parents and/or student loans, the risk of transitioning to a new career after undergrad is drastically higher. ISA’s help de-risk this transition by requiring students to only pay the institution back if they are successful.
Right now, our biggest competitor is Amazon's Mechanical Turk (MTurk) – it's been the primary solution for academic researchers in the past 10 years. Smaller competitors in the academic space include TurkPrime, Positly, and Testable Minds. The wider "people research" space (including market and user research) is a much bigger market, and more crowded. The largest potential competitors include Nielsen, Dynata (formally Research Now SSI), YouGov, Cint, IposMori, Qualtrics, and SurveyMonkey Audience. We see the greatest growth in on-demand online platforms that give researchers direct control over data collection. So we fear other fast-moving startups the most, such as panel aggregators ([redacted]) and platforms for user research ([redacted]). We hope that our upcoming API will allow us to be the "people research" infrastructure layer of some of these companies, turning them into partners/clients instead of competitors.
1. TRUST. Researchers aren't willing to pay if they can't be sure the data will be good. Participants aren't willing to answer thoughtfully and honestly if they can't trust their efforts will be fairly appreciated. Other companies in our space don't treat their users well – they underpay participants, randomly kick them out of surveys, and don't help mediate or resolve disputes between the two sides of the marketplace (researchers <> participants). As a result, trust is low, data quality is bad, and research progress is way slower than it needs to be. 2. INCENTIVES. Competitors in our space don't get that it's important to align incentives to achieve high data quality. On MTurk, the misaligned incentives create a race to the bottom: Winners are those who complete the most "HITs" per hour, or those who spin up bots to complete "HITs" on their behalf. It's a constant battle between researchers and participants, and it's slow and difficult for the researcher to screen the data for quality. 3. CONTROL. Researchers want transparent access and control over the data collection process because *how* the data is collected will affect the results. Traditional vendors do not realize this – they act as gatekeepers who slow down the research and reduce its quality.
Cvent and etouches and splashthat. splashthat is the newest one (founded 2012) and they have raised 10 million USD, but our biggest fear is us not being able to meet our potential.
The integration between parts. People think that their system is so special for the customer. The current enterprise now has more than 35 SaaS solutions, your solution is just part of a bigger thing. So make your best effort to connect well with the other 34 or so SaaS platforms. Data should flow easily within the org.
There are traditional cloud phone systems that have captured 14% of the market. Google Voice, Sideline, Grasshopper, Phone.com to name a few. These solutions are outdated, not maintained or barely updated, and compete on phone system features and pricing. They do offer a second phone line for business but outside of that, they are not solving enough problems.More modern phone systems like Dialpad are focused on larger businesses with different needs. Communication products that offer CRM-like capabilities like Front, Intercom, Drift, and so on are primarily focused on email and live chat as their core channels. For our target market, live chat is not a channel they use and they are happy with Gmail as their email client. Products like Facebook, WhatsApp, Telegram and iMessage are offering their own business solutions and what they are doing is fragmenting the communication space even more and forcing small businesses to be active on many channels. This gives us the opportunity to integrate with all these channels and create a unified place for all business communications. None of the existing players we named here can simply add a phone system or CRM to their product to compete with us. Building a phone system first CRM is not an afterthought, it impacts every decision in the product. I think our biggest competitor is some unknown startup building towards the same vision as us somewhere in the world right now.
Instead of focusing on being the best and most comprehensive phone system in the world, our goal is to build a product that helps small businesses communicate more effectively, save time and earn more money. We believe the product that will achieve this vision will be a fusion between a phone system and a CRM with integrations to further enrich the product as needed. The best CRM for small businesses will look nothing like Salesforce.
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
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.
Gradii, Tuition, Student Loan Genius, Peanut Butter We fear large financial institutions with significant resources and existing partnerships.
A focus on employees (not just employers) as end users: Many employee benefit vendors are focused on developing relationships with employers, Goodly is building a highly differentiated brand that is employee centric. Goodly will provide all of the tools needed for employees with student debt manage and pay off their student loans, allowing Goodly to become a trusted resource for employees and employers.
Relationship Hero(S17)Full application
Other companies in our industry have either not recognized the new problem modern daters are facing or aren’t trying to fix it on a global scale. Until recently, the biggest issue with dating used to be about finding people to date. Over the last 15 years, online dating websites like eHarmony and apps like Tinder have fixed that problem. But in fixing it, a new problem arose. In the past, you’d date people you somewhat knew or had an initial connection with. Today, your online matches are complete strangers with more options, making it harder than ever before to get to know who they are and how they feel about you throughout the dating process. This makes navigating the new world of dating a struggle for those without the right communication skills or experience. There are a few other companies that recognize this new problem. However, none of them are trying to solve the problem like dating websites and apps solved matchmaking. Unlike them, our business is designed to solve the problem on a global scale.
Users’ lifetime value is HUGE, as they usually get up to 30 payroll deductible loan in their life. However, banks, correspondent banks and brokers treat users in a transactional manner, always looking for gaps to profit more, regardless of their users needs. Their operation is focused on their monthly sales target and they lack the culture of recurrence. Our business, on the other hand, is based on recurrence. We believe in using transparency and convenience to help users empower themselves to make the best decisions regarding their loans, winning their trust in the long run. Even more, we understand that by giving them advice on how to wisely manage their loans (refinancing, lowering their interest rates, paying it back in advance) they will stay with us through their lifetime, rising their LTV while lowering their customer acquisition cost.
Our biggest competitors are bank correspondents: regular stores that can sell financial products on behalf of the banks. They count on freelancer street brokers that go to government offices to find deals and bring them in. And, although we sell loans on behalf of the banks, they could also go online (and they eventually will) and start offering themselves their own payroll deductible loan, but that would only represent an online version of their biased bank manager.
Simple Habit(W17)Full application
There are two things that companies in our space don't get: 1) Our competitors don't get that users experience meditation fatigue from listening to the same voice/personality over and over again. In other words, they start to tune out. Imagine if Spotify or iTunes only carried one band. One's enjoyment of music would diminish over time. Similarly, the effectiveness of meditation on a listener diminishes over time as they get accustomed to the techniques and personality of the same meditation teacher. 2) Our competitors also don't understand that teachers can be a powerful channel for user acquisition. The key to developing this channel is to focus on creating a great experience for meditation teachers. This includes setting up the right financial incentive structure for teachers and building them tools that enable and encourage them to be an evangelist of Simple Habit.
Well, we’re firstly developers, then business owners, and merchants so we can feel the pain from a developer and merchant perspective. every other person right now seems to be more interested in their vested interests.
We have 3 types of competitors: (1) Local Financial Institutions (2) Global Payment cos and (3) Local non-Financial Institutions Local FI’s are not able to progress because they mostly buy white label solutions. No incremental progress or problem-solving. Global companies like Stripe and Braintree are competitors but it will be difficult for them to meet the needs of the African Merchants. It’s easy for them to offer Bitcoin or Apple Pay integration but what about Verve Cards (a pan African card scheme), or Mobile Money or other local card schemes? Local Non FI’s are the real competition, but we believe that as long as we focus on solving the merchant’s needs we will continue to grow our business.
The Flex Company(S16)Full application
Women (and men) love our branding and positioning. 25% of our signups are from men. We’ve found a way to stand out amongst the cheap, pink-and-purple packaging of traditional feminine hygiene products, and our messaging (mess-free period sex) has been an effective hook to get women to try our product for the first time. Once women try FLEX, they want to switch to FLEX permanently for a few reasons: * When women wear a pad or tampon, it’s a constant reminder that they’re undergoing this really uncomfortable experience * FLEX is so shockingly comfortable that women tell us that they forget that they’re on their period when wearing it * Instead of running to the bathroom 4–5 times per day to change a leaky tampon, FLEX requires changing only once every 12 hours * It’s very easy to use In addition to a high-quality product, we’ve created a quality customer experience online. Most menstrual product purchases happen in drug stores, but drug stores don’t facilitate discovery of new feminine hygiene products. Millennials read and shop online, and we’ve created an e-commerce platform that educates them with peer-generated reviews and content. Women learn about feminine hygiene products from their friends. The bulk of our early traction (20k organic signups) have come from word-of-mouth. On average, every person that signs up to try FLEX, recommends us to at least 1 additional person. Our campus ambassador program is one great example of our grassroots marketing efforts.
Our competitors include large consumer goods companies and menstrual cup manufacturers. We fear large consumer goods companies most: P&G (Tampax, Always), Kimberly-Clark (Kotex), Playtex Products, Energizer (o.b., Stayfree, Always). They have significant resources and channel relationships, but they also lack a standout brand; they don’t have a voice that resonates with millennials. Softcup is another competitor* to watch because their product design is most similar to ours. Their awareness is very low, our brand is highly differentiated, and we’ve created an entirely different distribution strategy (direct to consumer, subscription-based with higher margins than traditional retailers). Major menstrual cup manufacturers are competitors (DivaCup, Lunette) because they share many of the same benefits of our product and they have been in the market since the early 2000’s. Finally, startups like white-labeled tampon subscription companies (LOLA, Cora) and absorbable period panties (THiNX, Dear Kate) are gaining momentum with millennials. The products aren’t new, but they have brands that engage millennials.
GitHub Enterprise and Atlassian Stash are our primary competitors. We fear Atlassian Stash most since the GitHub Enterprise offering is weak (black box VM that doesn’t scale or cluster) and overpriced (4x more expensive than Stash or our standard subscription). We compete with Stash on usability, integration (no need to install Jira and Confluence separately), flexibility (you can inspect and adapt the source) and price.
An open source development process allows you to market your product for free. It also allows a good product market fit at a low cost. We believe that version control is infrastructure software and that open source is the natural model for this kind of software . But to create and grow a competitive open source offering you need to have a proprietary commercial version to generate scalable revenue, support income alone is not enough.
Competitors: ShipWire, SymphonyCommerce, JaggedPeak, Amazon Fear the most: Amazon
Our competitors and the experts in the field focus too much attention on the differences between each company’s fulfillment operations. For our first account, it took over 200 phone calls and 10 days to get a handful of quotes. Most facilities refuse to work with startups due to inconsistent volumes. We found by aggregating products under a major account, providing a standard procedure, and packaging requirements, we eliminated 80% of the fulfillment differences. There will still be custom operations which will be beyond our scope but most startups have similar requirements and dimensional-weights for their products.
Those holding a CS degree are best qualified to teach CS courses. There such a high demand for developers that CS graduates are more incentivized to take a high paying job at a tech company rather than go teach at a High School. That is why purely providing content and materials to run a CS course is not enough. We need to 100% automated classroom the Mimir Classroom offers.
Our competitors are organizations such as CodeHS and Code.org that are offering course content for instructors to use in their courses. The problem with them is that they only provide that content and still require schools to hire a qualified CS instructor to teach the material and handle the assignments unlike our platform. But by far, our biggest fear is Google. Google is continuously making a push for expanding CS education. They have released a vast amount of resources to help teachers better their current CS courses. They have yet to introduce a pre-builts CS program that can be deployed into school but it is certainly something we can see them doing. We plan building Mimir to the point we become an acquisition target for them.
Google currently has the most impressive self‑driving cars. Elon Musk has announced Tesla's plans to have cars that drive 90% of the time in 3 years. Most major auto manufacturers have already demonstrated self‑driving R&D prototypes and have partnered with various universities. OEM's like Bosch and Continental have large teams working on self‑driving technology that could end up in future generations of new cars. We are most afraid of Google. Their systems potentially have access to Streetview and Maps data, which is extremely hard to replicate. Their current technology is too expensive to sell directly to consumers, and their commercialization strategy is unclear, but those things could change very quickly.
1) First‑mover in this market will gain a large advantage in datasets, maps and branding. We aim to be that first mover. 2) The best way to differentiate a car is with new technology (like self‑driving systems). Existing car companies are adept at charging more money for leather and chrome, but that approach is pretty much dead.
Microsoft powerpoint, Google docs, Apple Keynote, Slide design outsourcers, OCR companies might become competitors, Tablet note taking companies might become competitors, Startups of the future. We'd say our closest current competitor is the low cost slide design outsourcers. We most fear other startups due to their speed and innovation. Overall though, we focus on our clients rather than our competitors.
We combine real‐world experience of the problem with a deep knowledge of computer science, cutting edge technologies and interaction design. All of competitors have just one of these.
Others are trying to make it easier to accept credit cards or get rid of the physical card. But that whole process is useless. Credit cards work fine. They are just too expensive. Folks working on Bitcoin get it. And we get it. Unlike Bitcoin based businesses, we think government-backed money has redeeming features worth saving. We have spent almost two years talking to retailers. In quick serve restaurants, for example, the average margin for a retailer run between 1 and 4%, and credit card fees often eat up to 1-2% of total revenues. Often, a reduction of fees by 25% would increase the bottom line by 25%. That’s why our existing retailers are pushing their customers to use our app. We have a direct impact on their bottom line.
Venmo (now inside PayPal) is really impressive. As is Dwolla. We are different than both of these companies because we focus primarily on retail transactions. Our goal is to do this live, at retail locations. We don’t fear Visa or MasterCard. We talked to a senior executive at MasterCard and they don’t worry about “interchange busting.” They want to become more mobile, but they see no risk to their existing way of processing transactions. We do worry about Square and PayPal. If they wanted to cannibalized their main revenue source in credit card processing, they could take us out. But that’s a difficult business decision for either of them to make. We do fear Google and Apple. If they get their act together, they could really disrupt the whole industry. Also, if Bitcoins become mainstream and replace government-backed currency, that would destroy the entire market we are aiming to disrupt.
Our competitors are developers building for other developers, so most only offer programmatic interfaces. We understand often the goal setters and decision makers aren’t programmers. Apptimize makes it simple for non-technical owners, product managers, designers, and marketers via a WYSIWYG interface and a website to control and create experiments. Our experimental setup, results, and analysis will be superior. Stanford PhD’s helped with our statistics by pointing out problems with competitors’ setups (ie. fixed sample sizes, small data set handling). We’ll target companies who don’t monetize through app sales, instead using apps for branding, coupons, other off-app conversions. Although our first users are indie developers, most profitable apps make <$2K per month, so we’ll grow to targeting corporations like United, Starbucks.
Several companies very recently entered the game. Swrve has so far focused on games. Pathmapp is focusing on overall analytics (pretty different from our approach). Abstate is unlaunched. Artisan and Arise.io have buggy, immature products. A risk is that Visual Website Optimizer or Optimizely will decide to focus on expanding from websites into native apps. Native might be a natural next step for them since they offer web app support in premium plans, so we’ll grow aggressively. We think there’s no dominant player because nobody has made anything good yet. Our goal is to be the best.
One Month(S13)Full application
People. If other coding education companies really understood people and their motivations, they would never start by introducing variables and data types. In its FIRST LESSON on Ruby, Codecademy explains that Ruby is "Interpreted", "Object-oriented", and "allows users to manipulate data structures". Are you kidding me?! People are lazy and get frustrated or bored quickly. They want to learn how to code because they want to build something and they can't find anyone to do it for them. Other companies focus solely on developing code fluency. I'm not saying there isn't a market for developing fluency in code, but the market for helping non-technical people quickly get their own web apps live is much, much bigger and largely unaddressed.
Online competitors include Codecademy, Treehouse, Code School, Thinkful, AngelHack (they'll announce it soon), Khan Academy, Skillshare, Lynda.org, and Code.org. Potential competitors include offline "bootcamp" programs like General Assembly, Flatiron School, Starter League, Dev Bootcamp, as well as more traditional for-profit institutions like University of Phoenix. My biggest fear is that the big for-profit players like University of Phoenix shift in the direction of web development and are able to outspend smaller startups to capture the mainstream market.
eBay, Bonanza, HipSwap, ThreadFlip We fear eBay the most. However, Ebay is built around a broad, general audience. Our authentication process isn’t necessary for the bulk of their listings (eg. sub-$100 items). Our site targets eBay’s underserved luxury good niche -- starting with women’s designer clothes.
Buying and selling luxury goods online is very unique -- security, trust, and risk mitigation are tantamount. The process requires more care than a “general online auction listing.” EBay suffers from numerous issues: counterfeit items, inaccurate descriptions, insufficient photo evidence, photos culled from the net, reused photos from old listings, etc. These frequently lead to PayPal disputes -- which negatively impact everyone involved. Our system solves all of these problems. Of the 200 transactions on the test blog, we had fewer than 1% result in disputes (one out of 200!). Our system easily resolved this dispute: it provided the photographic (and temporal) evidence of the item’s pre-sale condition, expert testimony about its authenticity, and a baseline for comparison with the buyer’s received item. Collectively, these things make our process safer and more comfortable for all parties.
Standard Treasury(S13)Full application
People who run banks don't care about providing high quality technology services, and the people who care about technology don't want to work with (or buy) a bank. Schlep blindness, as it were. Also, there is great power in abstracting away thinking about your particular bank. Take ACH: since we are willing to suffer through forming eight banking relationships, we can provide next-day payouts to 80% of checking accounts in the US. Everyone else can only do next-day payouts on their one bank.
Possible competitors: Square, Stripe, Braintree, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan, Bloomberg, Intuit, PayPal Banks cannot innovate on technology. A senior exec at JPMC told us that even if building good APIs was a Jamie Dimon priority it couldn't get done before 2017. Commercial banking broadly - including every service we're imagining other than ACH (F/X, Wires, Factoring, Lending, Account Creation/Deletion, etc) - is not something that the innovative payments companies plan to provide to others, although they're all services they, themselves, need. Stripe, for example, is trying to make payments work on the web. We're trying to make commercial banking work in the world. They're both trillion dollar problems, but they're different. So, who do I fear most? I fear regulators the most. Banks can't beat us on technology but we might be so successful they beat us with the law.
Athlete profiles are the most important feature because it interests the largest amount of parties and the data collected from a large number of profiles can be valuable to many people. Perfecting profiles can bring in money from coaches (for converting to a full team site), parents (for recruiting exposure), and recruiters (for access to search the data). As students and athletes, we get the user's point of view: they want a beautiful page of basic stats that they can show to recruiters and look professional. As a 3-sport athlete in high school, and a 2-sport D1 varsity athlete in college, I would have wanted this product for myself. So we're building it now.
Competitors: eTeamz, TeamSnap, LeagueLineup. Potential competitors: BeRecruited, Takkle, MaxPreps, Rivals, Scout, Weplay. Who we fear most: BeRecruited.
The Muse(W12)Full application
LinkedIn will always be a fearsome player in the recruiting space, but its approach and interface will always leave room for other players in the space. The Ladders is another likely competitor, though we believe they are limited by the banker-esque brand they've created and the fact that many young professionals do not solely define themselves by the ability to make over a certain salary; more and more, individuals are drawn to tech startups or global development in addition to, say, corporate strategy. On the media end, Marie Claire is moving sharply in our direction (professional women, career content) but because of its strategy and the limitations of its mass-market, print-focused model, it is likely to become more of an ally than a competitor. We are in frequent touch with Marie Claire's publishers to talk about how we can work together. LearnVest is another potential competitor, should we decide to move into personal finance or should they move strongly into career.
We understand the demographic, inside and out. Most of the people trying to hire these women, market to them, and entertain them are well outside of it. They may have the "fashion advice for women" angle down pat, but we have a deep and nuanced understanding of the ambitious professional that makes our fans rabid and our voice distinct.
Make School(W12)Full application
While developing iOS games has a fairly low barrier to entry, there is a high barrier to success. As Ashu experienced himself, it was intimidating as a lone developer to spend money on art or marketing for Helicopter. Additionally, once you begin working in a team with 1,2,3 other people, legal issues and other complexities arise. We hope to reduce the friction involved in collaborative creation. What others do not realize is that there are throngs of talented people capable and willing to create high quality games but are intimidated by the process. By creating a community of game creators who use us to meet other talented collaborators and publish games, we can in essence uncover latent talent who currently have no clear route to success
Companies like Odesk, Elance, or 99designs are competitors, so are mobile game publishers (Zynga, EA). Incentivized install and ad networks such as Flurry and Tapjoy have raised developer funds which will compete with our service. Appcelerator’s Open Mobile Marketplace is who we fear most, they sell individual components and modules created by developers to be used in other apps.
Writing code is much like putting words to paper, an act of creation. When you write, it is important to spell things correctly, but few writers spend much time on this task, for they have spellcheckers. We think that testing should be just as straightforward. It is quite important, but should not monopolize your attention.
Coverity and Klocwork also find program bugs, but they don’t target web applications. Moreover, engineers use their products throughout the development process, whereas Taazr operates, automatically, on live production code.
Not Google or Yahoo. They've both tried to partner with newspapers, and never thought big enough. Facebook is a definite possibility: their biggest growth right now is coming from baby boomers. Thankfully Facebook hasn't figured out how a local online community should look, as they seem to think that business information should be displayed in the same way as profile information. Like many YC applicants, we're most worried about other start-ups. Right now there are other start-ups working on this problem -- and they're not married, have no social life, and have been doing it for a lot longer.
Our primary competitor is Google Analytics. Many of the inquiries we receive ask “How are you different from GA?” and a successful solution has been to explicitly say what we offer and how we are different from the beginning. We fear Google the most because of their market penetration and their engineering resources. Aside from Google, there are a few other companies entering this market: nuconomy, KISSmetrics, Aster Data, and Gumtrail.
Working at Slide, known for being data-driven, inspired me to build Mixpanel. While at Slide, I got to work closely with Max Levchin on a specific product where he helped teach me how to truly build and iterate data-driven products from the start. Mixpanel was conceived from the ground up with companies like Slide in mind as well as the problems people there had to face letting us offer a more compelling solution. We can really say, we’re building an analytics platform the way large data-driven companies expect it to be.
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).
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.
— advice from YC partners
Aditya Agarwalla (Founder at Kisan Network, YC alum)Source
This is another way of asking what the “secret sauce” is? So far we have seen that it is imperative to not assume the reader knows much about the problem in your region. This question requires the same approach as the others, but a little extra caution should be exercised here. This is because you’re trying to explain, what is possibly, a nuance or subtlety about the problem that your company has discovered and is going to exploit. You would like the reader to be able to understand and appreciate this.
Zain Shah (Data Scientist at Opendoor, YC alum)Source
Be realistic and reasonable regarding your competitors. Startups are made by people with delusive passion, but who still have an understanding of their environment and assess risks appropriately.
Zain Shah (Data Scientist at Opendoor, YC alum)Source
Your critical insight. Your secret that makes your business competitive against your competitors and likely to succeed against all odds.