The ApplicationAt over 50 questions long, the YC application can be a daunting task. If you’re looking for tips on how to fill out the application, you should probably start here. It gives you a good idea what they’re looking for and even gives you a sample application (from Dropbox). Here’s another useful sample application. The way we personally handled the application was by putting all the questions in a giant spreadsheet and then having each of the four of us put down our thoughts on each one. Our CEO then wrote out a first draft of the answers, we reviewed the answers together, revised them, then repeated this revision process until we were satisfied with the application (which took about three revision cycles). The main focus of our attention in the application went to the idea section. Most of our answers in this section were several paragraphs long. For a start-up that is doing a B2C company in a very competitive space (dating) we thought this was where we had to show we were special. Also, we thought for this section it was important to not only show you had a strong idea, but also to show you could talk intelligently about your idea. YC cares more about the team than the product so showing you have the brains to navigate your idea and execute it can be just as important, if not more important, as showing you have a strong idea to start with. We made sure to do a bit of research on our competitors and on the dating and discovery markets to back up our answers and show our expertise in the area. The other sections we focused on were the individual sections. Our strengths in this section were probably the reason we got an interview. Each of us has a strong educational and professional background. It also probably helped that all four of us were technical founders and had previous experience coding. The two essay questions in this section were:
- Please tell us about the time you most successfully hacked some (non-computer) system to your advantage.
- Please tell us in one or two sentences about the most impressive thing other than this startup that you have built or achieved.