We just got back from Silicon Valley, where we went to pitch to the prominent investments firm Y Combinator. It has undoubtedly been one of our most important experiences as a startup.
Y Combinator (also known as YC) invest in small businesses hungry for growth, and mentor them through a three month programme in the US. Airbnb and Dropbox are just some of YC’s multi-billion dollar successes.
Thousands of startups apply, from student teams developing an app out of their dorm rooms to fledgling robotics companies in Japan. Only around 7% of applicants get through to the final round: a ten minute interview with the partners at the head office.
I’m the co-founder of Bello, a messaging app for freelancers and agencies. We decided to try our luck in the venture capital lottery and apply for YC.
We submitted our YC application less than two months later after launching our business and three weeks after applying, we received an invitation to meet the YC partners in their office south of San Francisco, right in the heart of the tech scene.
Now there was only a single ten-minute interview between us and an investment from the most prestigious accelerator in the world. That might not seem like much time, but when you’re in the room, it goes by even faster.
And once it was over and we could look back at it, it’s incredible just how much we learnt from the process.
So, how did it go?
After six or seven agonising hours of waiting, we received an email from one of the partners who interviewed us. Unfortunately they were not going to fund us.
A disappointment? Of course.
But the experience of applying and interviewing for Y Combinator has helped us to understand our business better. From drilling down into exactly who are target market is, to explaining every product and strategy decision we have made. Now back in not-so-sunny Copenhagen, we can focus our efforts with a fresh perspective and a renewed vigour.
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