Y Combinator is one of the most prestigious accelerators in Silicon Valley.  Some of the companies to come out of YC include Airbnb, Dropbox, Stripe, Twitch, Instacart,  DoorDash and Reddit.

HIVE has had three companies accepted to Y Combinator (Collectly, Wakie and Eventgeek).  We had a chance to sit down with Levon Brutyan, founder of Collectly, and get his tips for how to get into YC.

“Getting into YC is one of the best things that could happen to a startup, for the 3 main reasons: invaluable advice and network, focus and getting rid of distractions, gaining traction (both business & fundraising).

YC is also a startup in itself, so the program is constantly evolving and getting better.  The main thing one has to remember is to “hack” your way through building a business. Hacking, defined as figuring out shortcuts and smart ways to get things done,  is one of the best skills you can learn during YC, so to get into YC you actually need to hack the process as well.

To “hack” YC, you need a lot of things but here are the top 6 essentials:

  1. Big enough problem (your market better should be > $2B)
  2. Great founders
  3. Some users (better paying if b2b) that really love you and can’t live without your product
  4. erfect timing (markets they are interested in (nowadays Africa & India, besides traditional markets))
  5. Recommendations from YC alumni (good ones, because any YC alumni can give actually a bad recommendation as well)
  6. Persistence (70% of YC teams have had multiple attempts to get in to YC)

Here’s an example profile of a B2B Startup that has a higher than average chance of getting in:

  • 2-3 founders, who are either well known or are from the industry, or/and were previous YC founders, or used to work in a YC company;
  • you solve a real world problem that is painful to a particular group of people, your potential market size is > $2b, and there is a good timing;
  • You have 3-5 paying customers (cool of YC companies) that love you so much that without you the life of your users will be really awful
  • you have talked to like 2-4 YC alumni and they gave you a great recommendation
  • you have cracked the application process and interview

YC S17 Batch just finished and is accepting recommendations now.  HINT – The best way to get a recommendation is to email us at Team@HIVEfund.co (HIVE has had 4 companies go through YC).

Nina Achadjian

Author Nina Achadjian

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