YC Software Ideas from a First-Time Applicant Who “Barely” Made It (S21) | by Daniel Kang | The Startup | Feb, 2022


YC Software Ideas from a First-Time Applicant Who “Barely” Made It (S21) | by Daniel Kang | The Startup | Feb, 2022

Get the fundamentals proper.

YC has particular directions on the best way to full the applying. Full the applying. Use good grammar. Comply with the instruction. Now will not be the time to be artistic. YC mentions receiving a 20-minute religious journey video as an alternative of a 1-minute video required within the utility. Don’t do this. There’s a ton of recommendation produced by YC directions. Actually, a whole lot of the content material right here is roofed by Dalton, the pinnacle of admissions, in his video Methods to Apply and Succeed at Y Combinator.

Reflection: I’d give myself 5/10 for 2 causes. First, I didn’t observe fundamental directions like having all co-founders within the video recording a part of the applying. I’m stunned we obtained the interview. Second, I began the applying three days earlier than the due date, which created pointless time stress that would’ve been prevented.

Make it easy and clear to know.

Companions at YC learn over 18,000 purposes per batch. They’re human. They’ve restricted time, consideration, and mind area. Be sure your utility is straightforward and simple to know. Dalton makes use of the phrase “readability” to speak about this level. Even from my very own perspective having screened CVs and purposes previously (to be clear NOT for YC, however for different companies), the best approach to get filtered out is that if the evaluator doesn’t perceive what you’re saying.

Functions ought to be clear. It shouldn’t really feel like a thriller novel or a puzzle.

Consider it as a funnel: understanding the applying → evaluating the applying → deciding the outcomes of the applying. Don’t get filtered out within the first stage. Hiding behind jargon, buzzwords, and ambiguity might be the quickest approach to get filtered out.

Listed below are examples YC offers of their publicly out there video:

Supply: Methods to Apply and Succeed at Y Combinator by Dalton Caldwell
Supply: Methods to Apply and Succeed at Y Combinator by Dalton Caldwell

Reflection: I’d give myself an 8/10 right here. Language and concepts have been communicated such {that a} particular person of high-intelligence, however not accustomed to a selected trade or matter, may perceive. I don’t suppose that is particular to YC — I utilized fundamental guidelines in argumentation for formal debates at school stage right here.

Inform a narrative based mostly on details.

Each part of your utility is meant come collectively to inform a narrative. You’re in command of the narrative. For a narrative to make sense, there might be a set of claims and assertions that results in the conclusion that your organization is superior and ought to be in YC. Subsequent, for that story to be convincing, these claims and assertions have to be backed up by details.

For instance, let’s say you’re constructing a gene-sequencing product that’s 100x cheaper than the choice. Let’s keep the influence is that it could possibly scale back hospital diagnostics prices by 50% for any given hospital.

  • Claims would possibly embody issues like: having experience in gene-sequencing, having the community to distribute this product, having expertise passing medical merchandise with regulators, or having technical capabilities to construct.
  • Details would possibly embody issues like: having a PhD in genetics, having labored in software program procurement staff in hospitals, having recruited a co-founder who sat on the evaluation staff on the FDA, and having coded up the preliminary MVP with 30 hospitals able to pay.

Claims are what it takes to craft a narrative. Details are what it takes to make a narrative convincing. Each are required for a compelling story.

Reflection: I’d give myself 7/10 right here. Most of my claims have been backed up by details. Due to the character of being pre-product, a lot of the proof was round constructing confidence that we may do execute slightly that what we’ve executed. I feel we did the perfect we may do right here given the circumstances.

Stand out.

It is a broad precept that applies any analysis. As soon as the minimal packing containers are checked off — saving your self from computerized rejections — evaluators usually need to see a memorable “spike”. What’s the one memorable factor in regards to the applicant? I’d give attention to one tremendous memorable factor slightly than 2–3 much less memorable issues.

Reflection: With out talking to all my interviewers, I can’t give myself a significant rating. I did focus closely on founder-market match, largely based mostly on my expertise with fintech corporations as an funding skilled. For higher or for worse, having invested in fintech at Softbank appeared prefer it was memorable.


There could be legitimate causes so that you can not apply to YC. That’s high-quality. Many corporations don’t. But when your causes are one thing alongside the strains of: “I’m too early”, “I’m ready for $x MRR” , “after that one contract”, “I didn’t work at Google”, or “I’m not from a Ivy League faculty”, then I’d extremely encourage you to use.

For me personally, I used to be pre-product and pre-revenue after I utilized. I assumed I had little or no probabilities of getting in. Apply. Greatest case situation, you could have the choice of going to YC and worst-case situation, you get nice suggestions from actually good folks. Individually, if the aim is to construct a profitable start-up, going by the applying will show you how to ask good query and possibly enhance your probabilities. I one other article on why taking uneven dangers helps enhance your luck. One tactical notice is getting a referral from YC alumni if, and provided that, you really know the YC alumni nicely and they’re prepared to strongly advocate you.

Reflection: I’d give myself 10/10. I utilized. That’s it.


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