Let's help you put together a great YC application.
YCombinator has flagged open its Summer 2022 intake and early-stage startups can start applying from now till the 24th of March (8 pm PST).
For sixteen years, YC has accepted some of the best founders with great ideas from all over the world, enabling them to build the best products and businesses for their market.
As a YC alumni startup, we understand and have experienced the impact that a YC entrance can have on your startup journey, and it is our hope that other early-stage startups in Africa can get this solid footing at the beginning of their journeys. This is why we're excited to announce that we'll be assisting 50 early-stage startups in completing and reviewing their applications.
It is important for us to pay forward the immense support that we received from others when we were at this stage. Our CEO, Abdul Hassan, CTO, Prakhar Singh, and other seasoned members of the team will assist in this application review, providing constructive feedback and support.
Some helpful tips before you apply
Beyond answering questions, the most important part of your application is the quality of your responses. It is important for your answers to be factual and for your insights to reflect clarity and understanding of your business and market. Here are a few tips
1. Show a clear understanding of your audience and their demand
Your application should show that you understand the market and audience that you [will] target, the place that your product will have in their lives and financial priorities, how to acquire them, and how to not lose them. It's also important to study your competition, use their products if possible, and identify pitfalls that you will build your product to overcome.
2. Putting your team forward
In your application, you'll be asked how you and your cofounders are qualified for the domain that your product sits in. Your answers should detail the domain expertise of each founder and reflect how much you know and have studied about the industry you plan to launch into. Share work, study, research, or even past entrepreneurial experience that you have, in the industry. This demonstrates both your capability and confidence in the project.
Now that we’ve covered what you should know before applying, here are the questions you should expect during the application, and brief descriptions of what you’re expected to provide.
The YC Application questions
The application form is split into ten categories. Here's what you can expect in each.
In this category, you'll be asked introductory questions about your company. This includes its name, a URL (if you have one), the shortest possible description of what your company does, a description of what your company plans to build/make, a link to a demo (either in the form of a screen recording or video), and place of residence, currently and after YC.
Here, you'll supply your contact details; personal email and phone number.
You'll supply information about the number of founders your company has, their personal email addresses, and the link to a recorded video introducing the founders(s).
Here, you'll select what category/industry your company falls under.
In this section, you'll be required to document your progress on the idea or product you're building; how far along you've come in the building of your business/product, how long each founder has been working on it, how much of that time has been full-time; if you have people using your product already; if you've recorded any revenue; if you've applied with this same product/idea before, if you've pivoted and why, and if you have already participated in any incubator/accelerator programs.
In this section, you'll need to share a lot of detail about your company's idea and any insights that validate the choice of your direction. You'll be asked
why you've chosen this current idea; if you (and your founders) have domain expertise in it, and if people need what you're building/making.
what is unique about what you're making and what substitutes people resort to today, in its absence.
who your competitors are or will be, and which of them you're most afraid of.
what you understand about your business or industry that other companies in it do not.
how you plan to make money from this idea
how to acquire users
Here, you'll supply information on if you've formed a legal entity for the business, if you've taken any investments, if you've issued stock to any investors, and if you've raised money using crowdfunding. If you are yet to form a legal entity, you will be required to provide information on planned equity distribution for each founder, employee, and any other proposed stockholders.
In this section, you'll be required to provide details that are recognized by law. These include:
If any founder has a non-compete or intellectual property agreement that overlaps your current project.
Who writes code and does the technical work in the company, and if a non-founder has performed this function.
If you have received any government grants.
Any other legally-binding situation, for example, pending lawsuits or cofounders who may have left.
This is a wildcard section that encourages you to share any other ideas that you considered applying with. This is important because in a few cases, founders may be given support for these types of ideas and not the ones they apply with. You will also be asked to share something surprising or amusing that you or any of your founders may have discovered. This does not necessarily have to relate to your project or company.
Here, you share how you heard about YC, and if anyone encouraged or convinced you to apply.
Application review and feedback
If you would like us to help in reviewing your YC application, kindly fill out this form. Please note that we can only handle the first 50 requests that we receive. All information in your application will be kept confidential.
How will this work?
After you have filled the form, you will receive some feedback on or before Monday, 24th of January, 2021.
After this review and feedback process, we will recommend the five most unique ideas and early-stage startups of the 50. These five startups will be recommended for how disruptive and nascent their ideas are.