I got in [to YC] twice. Once for Framebase (now shut down) and the second time for. How I thought about this problem is you essentially have to mitigate three types of risks for any investor, whether YC or a VC. The more you can mitigate these risks, the better your chances.
Below are the three risks factors. The importance of #1 vs #2 varies upon partner to partner. Overall, I feel like YC in general favors strong teams but you can't have one without the other.
1. Team risk
2. Market risk
3. Distribution risk
- How long have you guys known each other?
- Have you worked on projects together?
- Is at least one technical? What is your previous track record?
- Is the equity split even between all the co-founders?
- How many co-founders do you have?
- Are there any previous issues? (Lawsuits from ex co-founders)
- Do you have specialized experience in the market?
- Is there chemistry between the co-founders at the interview?
- Is there validation that your product has traction in this market? Do you have passionate users?
- Is the market big enough? What's the TAM?
- What is the trend of this market? Is it growing or downsizing?
- What are the big competitors? What stops them from completely destroying you?
- Do you have IP?
- How will you sell your product? (If you're doing an enterprise product and have no one with previous enterprise sales experience, that's a bad sign)
- How will you expand to different tangental markets?
In summary, if you just have a product that's growing like a weed and you can demonstrate you're competent, you stand a pretty good shot.
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