So many incredible founders applying to @ycombinator for a chance to change trajectory/prob of success of their companies.

This was me 5 years ago, with my 3rd attempt, applying for Poppy, my previous company.

This is what finally worked:

📈 The results spoke for themselves.

Prior two times I had written more about potential than about actual results.

YCs motto is Make Something People Want.

Only way to prove that is w/ results. That consistently grow each week, each month.

I had growth no one could deny.
I had a team that could do justice to the potential to grow.

The prior two times I didn’t have team to demonstrate how I could make good on the ambition.

I found technical partner our company needed and I hired an incredibly talented person that jump started supply side.
I wrote in short, succinct sentences, packed w/ numbers.

Having other YC founders review application helped me to cut out all jargon, flowery language and punch up the numbers and facts.

YC is reading through thousands of apps. Stand out with clarity and focus.
I got a couple impactful recommendations from former founders.

YC takes recos of their alums (both good and bad) v seriously. Get some (genuine recos) from YC founders.

Best bet is founders in your city/ country, vertical or network.

Find them here:
Founder video/questions focused on why, above all, we were founders to back.

Most of our companies are so early stage, it’s v likely that precise version won’t be what actually succeeds. YC ultimately makes bets on who are founders to back.

Make it undeniable that it’s you.
We were building this company with or w/o YC.

Often founders will be waiting for external “validation” like getting into YC to really commit full time. Huge red flag. This is not a school project. You need to have conviction regardless of what anyone else says or does.
Last note - the process of writing your application shouldn’t take more than a couple hours if you’re doing it right.

Again, the results and vision and facts should speak for themselves.
And don’t forget. The prize is always the opportunity to continue building the company, not who funds you or which program “accepts” you.

Good luck to everyone and let’s keep building. 💪🏽

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