What The Y Combinator Does Differently

This article is written by Jeremiah Uke, a Contributor Author at Startup Istanbul.

Adora Cheung was co-founder and CEO of Homejoy, which was funded by Y Combinator in 2010. Before that, she was the lead product manager at Slide where she had the opportunity to learn about startups. She has a bachelor’s in computer science from Clemson University and is an economics Ph.D. dropout at the University of Rochester. Adora founded Homejoy in July 2012 and has successfully grown the Homejoy team from just her and her brother to a team of over 120 employees and platform that serve hundreds of thousands of households in over 30 cities across the US, Canada, UK, and Germany. Currently, Adora is a partner at Y Combinator, She attended Startup Istanbul and explains the Y Combinator and how it works. You can watch the video here

The Y Combinator is an early stage incubator designed for funding startups, the basic funding is $150,000 dollars for each a number of startups, this is in exchange for about %7 of equity of the startups after successfully applying, all the successful applicant startups are taken to Silicon Valley for a 3-month program where they are mentored. In addition to mentorship, the growth of the startups are accelerated and at the end, the startups converge for a demo day, in which hundreds of investors show up, to help the startups raise funds. After the 3-month program, Y Combinator continues to aid the startups until they are either successful or otherwise. Adora Cheung is a partner at Y Combinator, she attended Startup Istanbul 2017 and was part of a fireside chat where she talked  how the Y combinator has set themselves apart from other Incubators, being the most reputable, here are a few questions and answers from her session.

QUESTION: The Y Combinator is considered as the most reputable accelerator in the world, why?

One reason I think it is because of the first mover advantage, but also I think the way we run Y Combinator is different from other accelerators in the sense that we are founder first, we make decisions to benefit founders if we lose money from those decisions, we build long term goals and it helps build goodwill over time, I think a lot of other accelerators build short term goals

QUESTION: How does the Y Combinator measure the startups after the investment?

There are short term metrics to be met, after the startups exit the program, you can measure how much money they have raised, in the long term, we ask them to send us updates every month, we look and ask questions like “Is your business model getting you closer to sustainability?”, ultimately, getting to profitability and scaling is the measure we use.

QUESTION: What is the percentage of startups that scale through the application phase of the Y Combinator?

I don’t know the exact percentage but it is really small compared to the amount of startups that apply.

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