What happens at Y Combinator?
How do we choose which startups to fund?
We'll fund companies from anywhere in the world. We fund companies doing everything from building mobile apps to diagnosing cancer.
We'll happily fund companies that just started and have nothing more than an idea. And we've funded companies that had over $20M in annual revenue and over 50 employees.
How can we get funding for our startup?
Apply online for our next funding cycle. We fund startups twice a year.
How much do you invest?
We have a standard deal - we'll invest $125k on a post-money safe in return for 7% of the company when the safe converts.
Do we need to write a business plan?
Not for us. We make funding decisions based on our application form and personal interviews. We love demos, but we never read business plans.
Will you sign an NDA? How do I know you won't steal my idea?
No, we won't sign an NDA. No venture firm would at this stage. The informal commitment to secrecy on our application form is more than any VC would make.
In this connection you may want to read the first section of How to Start a Startup on the value of mere ideas.
Our group has two ideas. Can we submit two applications?
We don't recommend it. You should pick your favorite idea and apply with that one.
Will you fund multiple startups working on the same idea?
Yes. If you fund as many companies as we do it's unavoidable you'll end up with some overlap. Even if you tried not to accept competing companies, you'd still get overlap because startups' ideas morph so much. The way we deal with it is that when two startups are working on related stuff, we don't talk to one about what the other's doing.
In practice it has not turned out to be a problem, because most big markets have room for several slightly different solutions, and it's unlikely that two startups would do precisely the same thing.
Why didn't you accept our application?
Strange as it may sound, the better your application was, the less likely there is to be an answer to this question. So don't take it personally. The fact is, even the best investors are quite bad at picking winners. VC firms consider themselves to be doing well if 4 out of 10 companies they fund succeed.