A month at Y Combinator: What it’s like after you’ve been accepted

Mathilde Collin, founder of Front, wrote about her experience in YC's S14 batch for The Next Web

About six weeks ago, I was sitting in front of my computer waiting for one email. Not just any email. The email.

We had just flown from Paris to Mountain View for our 10-minute interview at the Y Combinator and it was now over. All we had left to do was wait.

Finally, a couple of hours after the interview, the news finally arrived. We were accepted. The email was so short, but it instantly changed all that we were about to do with our company in the following months.

Since that day, it pretty much has been rush hour every hour of the day and we’ve kept ourselves busy. We’ve been asked a lot how it’s going and what actually happens inside of YC once you’re there.

The famous Mountain View incubator definitely has a reputation of being quite mysterious and we want to share our insider’s view after our first month.

Interview with YC's Kate Courteau

New Profit, a venture philanthropy fund, posted a two-part interview with YC's Director of Nonprofits Kate Courteau. 

Excerpt from Part 1

(SH): Why did YC decide to start supporting social entrepreneurs?

(KC): We came to this somewhat by accident, which is exactly how YC itself started in 2005. We found WATSI on Hacker News (YC’s listserv) because it was generating a lot of buzz as a nonprofit startup doing impactful work and utilizing the power of technology to reach a lot of people. YC’s Paul Graham reached out to WATSI directly and asked if they’d like to be part of the current YC batch which included a baseline grant of $24,000 and 3 months of focusing on their work and utilizing our team for mentoring. We’d always talked about doing work in this space but this was the unofficial humble beginning of our work in the nonprofit sector.

WATSI told us how much the YC program impacted their progress so we realized that a lot of the benefit of YC could be universally applied to all startups; for-profit and nonprofit. We also recognized that the WATSI team operated in the way that most great for-profit startups do. They were very determined and focused and moved quickly; launching early and iterating based on watching how their users interacted with their site. They had a vision for the future of WATSI. It’s evolved a bit but they continue to be a strong, mission-based company that works in the nonprofit world in a very transparent way. This experiment seemed to work so well that in January 2014, we decided to officially launch our nonprofit program.

Read Part 1 and Part 2 on the New Profit blog

An E-Commerce Site Where You Can Haggle Down The Price

Founders Andrew Kurland and Joe Marrapodi created their e-commerce negotiation site, Greentoe, out of frustration. The two were spending too much time trying to find the best deals online. That was proving time-consuming and difficult...

The site works like this: You want to buy, say, a new Canon EOS Rebel camera and you want the best price you can get. But you don’t want to spend a lot of time looking. Greentoe recruits a bunch of vetted online retailers. It then simplifies the process by showing you the average price and the lowest price for each product currently available online. You are then able to say how much you are personally willing to pay for that product.

Going with our EOS Rebel theme here, you see that the price for the kind of camera you want is around $549-$594 online. We found it on Amazon for $749 (and that was with a $50 savings offer). You decide you would like to buy this camera for the much lower price of $460. The Greentoe meter will let you know whether you’ve got a good chance or not to get that price. You are lucky on this one. The seller agrees to the price. Congrats, you’ve made a deal!

Read the full story on TechCrunch

Make Things and Show Them

We've often been asked to make a section of Hacker News that's just for Show HNs, so we did. We're releasing it today, along with a new set of Show HN guidelines.

In late 2008 and early 2009, users submitting their work to Hacker News began prefixing submission titles with "Show HN". This caught on [1], and "Show HN" became a sort of badge for posts sharing original work with the community. Show HN threads became places for in-depth discussion of new work. They are a way for products to get users, creators to get feedback, and readers to learn and be inspired.

There have been about 24,000 Show HNs so far. The first used the title "Show and Tell HN", and was GitHub-related. The second, and the first to use the "Show HN" convention [2], was a face recognition project. And the third was a Hacker News alternative. Plus ça change...

Hacker News users have grown fond of their Show HNs. We often hear that they're the best part of the site. We hope there will be many more, and look forward to seeing what you all come up with!


[1] But it took a while: there was 1 post in 2008, 9 in 2009, and 452 in 2010.

[2] Its submitter, lbrandy, says the title "was definitely a play on 'Ask HN'."

New RFS: One Million Jobs

We want to fund companies that have the potential to create a million jobs.  There are a lot of areas where it makes sense to divide labor between humans and computers—we are very good at some things computers are terrible at and vice versa—and some of these require huge amounts of human resources.

This is both good for the world and likely a good business strategy—as existing jobs go away, a company that creates a lot of new jobs should be able to get a lot of talented people.

(We aren't looking for companies that plan to have a million employees.  Probably the easiest way to do this is to create a platform that lets a million people create their own jobs.  Uber may do this, for example.  Healthcare or education platforms that let people provide services are other examples of what might work.)

View other Requests for Startups.

Nightingale (YC S14) Is Building Software To Simplify Behavioral Therapy Tracking

For decades, the data collection process for behavioral therapists has mostly been manually done. But now, a new startup called Nightingale is seeking to change the way that behavioral therapists collect and report data, simplifying the process with mobile apps instead of pen and paper.

According to Nightingale co-founder Delian Asparouhov, most behavioral therapists today take notes manually and then transcribe those notes and enter them into Excel spreadsheets. As a result, they spend most of their days not working with students, but doing paperwork. Furthermore, not much is done with the data once it’s collected. It’s used to measure improvement in a student’s behavior, and is occasionally audited by insurers to qualify payment for therapy. But that’s about it.

To start, Nightingale is targeting Autism therapy. It provides a solution that will allow clinical directors and behavioral therapists to decide which data is collected and how it is graphed, with an easy, customizable drag-and-drop system.

New Y Combinator Website

Our website got a facelift.

The content is pretty much the same. Since the old site was mostly text, I did my best to just make that text easier to digest and hopefully entice people to get through more of it. A lot of the best content on the site like What Happens at Y Combinator and How to Apply Successfully went largely unread because a number of people were either intimidated by the wall of text or didn't have the patience to read through it.

The new site is responsive, but if you're viewing it on a mobile phone right now, I want you to know my favorite way to go through it is on a  large monitor. For posterity, we preserved the old version of the site at http://old.ycombinator.com. If what you see makes you worried for Hacker News, I want you to know that I have very different design goals for HN

Many thanks to Nick Sivo for helping me dig through the server to find everything I need. We're still making tweaks and changes, so if you have feedback on things you think we should improve, please let us know!

Last day to apply to YC Hacks

It's the last day to apply to Y Combinator's first hackathon, YC Hacks

The hackathon will be hosted at YC's office in Mountain View, CA on August 2-3. Our goal is to give smart hackers an excuse to get together and spend time building something they find interesting. We don't have a theme—we want to leave it open to any good ideas.

Kickoff will be at noon on Saturday, August 2. YC companies that develop platforms, services and developer tools, will be around to act as mentors. Judging will happen the evening of August 3. YC alumni are donating prizes, and the top teams will get guaranteed YC interviews for the next batch.

You can apply individually or as a team. Please have each team member fill out an application.

Apply here by 11:59pm PST tonight. Invitations will be sent by July 7.

BlockScore Lands $2M In Funding For Making I.D. Verification Easier

In 2012, about 7 percent of all people aged 16 or older in the U.S. experienced identity theft, with their financial losses totaling $24.7 billion. Christopher Morton is familiar with the crime because in 2007, he had his identity stolen. Fortunately, the thieves were prevented from obtaining new credit cards, but Morton became interested in how identity verification systems work.

With co-founders John Backus and Alain Meier, Morton created BlockScore, an identity-verification startup and member of Y Combinator’s latest batch that is launching today with $2 million in funding from Battery Ventures, Khosla Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners, New Atlantic Ventures, Boost VC, Y Combinator, and several angels.

YC-Backed ClearTax (YC S14) Tackles India’s Fast Growing Online Tax Filing Market

ClearTax is not the typical Y Combinator launch. Founded in 2011 and based in Delhi, the startup already has a strong presence in India, where it automates the income tax filing process for workers. Last year, over 300,000 people used ClearTax to file their taxes. Furthermore, the company is also the first one focused specifically on the Indian market to join Y Combinator (though the program has accepted other, more internationally-focused startups with India-based founders before).

While their market opportunity is currently in India, ClearTax decided to join Y Combinator because the startup got access to “a set of resources we don’t get in India,” says founder Archit Gupta.