by Kyle Corbitt6/17/2020
We’re excited to announce that Startup School (SUS) is relaunching today as a continuous program. This change will allow us to serve many more founders than the traditional annual course we’ve been running since 2017 and better support startup founders year-round.
In addition to this change to continuous admissions, we’ve revamped the Startup School experience to double down on the things our founders have found most useful. Through thousands of founder surveys and dozens of interviews, we’ve discovered that founders get value from SUS in three key areas: curriculum, accountability and community. We’re making changes program-wide to better focus on those pillars.
Startup School’s video lectures and text library are our differentiator. No other resource online so efficiently condenses the information you need to start a company in 2020. With our relaunch, we’re making that curriculum even better.
We’ve completely redesigned our curriculum page to include both recorded lectures and high-value written content. Additionally, we’ve heard from founders that not all lectures are relevant to their specific circumstances, so we’re personalizing the required program curriculum based on your company’s stage (idea, launch or growth). We’re also making it easy to skip content that isn’t relevant to your company right now. Finally, we’ve made it easier to consume our content in whatever order makes sense for your company, since everyone is at a different place. Sign up now to get access to these features!
One reason founders keep coming back to Startup School, in many cases even after participating in YC’s core program, is because SUS gives them structure and accountability. We ask founders to submit weekly company updates tracking their goals and most important metrics. These updates encourage founders to talk to users and launch quickly. Consistent progress every week is a prerequisite for success, and updates are one way to track that. As part of our relaunch, we’re introducing streaks. SUS will track the number of consecutive weeks you’ve submitted an update as your streak number, which is important for certification and qualifying for special SUS opportunities. We hope this gives founders extra motivation to consistently work on their company week after week.
Starting a company can be lonely, especially for the majority of SUS founders that live outside traditional startup hubs. Founders come to Startup School for the personalized advice and camaraderie that a strong community provides. Over 100,000 founders have signed up for Startup School since 2018, and we’re continually improving the quality of our growing community through active moderation and new features.
For the new relaunch, we are providing exclusive forums for later-stage companies where they can discuss issues specific to their situation. We’re also improving the matching algorithm used for our weekly small-group video calls. Finally, we have new features planned for local founder communities in hundreds of cities around the world, but we’re waiting to roll those out until in-person meetups become less of a safety risk.
Startup School: It’s about the journey, not the destination
We’ve always considered Startup School an ongoing program that alumni can return to again and again for content, accountability and community. But the course format — with specific enrollment and graduation dates — didn’t support that message. For our relaunch, we’re doing away with the concept of graduation entirely and replacing it with a Startup School Certified achievement. This change makes it clear that getting certified is just the beginning of your startup (and Startup School!) journey, not an end in and of itself. To get certified, founders must (1) review all relevant Startup School curriculum, (2) participate in at least one weekly group session, and (3) complete an 8-week streak submitting updates. Founders can choose to share their public profile including certification status as evidence of their participation in the program.
Startup School will continue to offer founders access to the forum, a record of progress via weekly updates, group sessions with fellow founders, and deals to help accelerate startup growth from partners like AWS, GCP, and Stripe. To learn more about the structure and features of Startup School, read our About page and FAQs.
Since our last course began, we’ve added two new faces to the Startup School team! Joan DeGennaro, a YC alumnus and former Startup School mentor, has joined as our full-time community manager. Joan is focusing on providing the best user experience for our founders and making Startup School an inclusive community. Catheryn Li is a product engineer joining us from Facebook. Cat has reimagined core elements of Startup School with a user-centered approach and built much of the new functionality for our relaunch.
Sign up today!
Enrollment in the new program opened today! If you’re a founder there’s no better place to find the support you need to build a successful startup. Sign up now and let’s build something amazing together!
Kyle Corbitt is a software developer at Y Combinator. He spends most of his time creating software to support our founders as they build their businesses. Before joining YC he ran his own startup.