Top Startup Insights from Y Combinator


Heard an excellent conversation between @mwseibel and @patrick_oshag filled with many fundamental insights that would help any founder in their startup journey. Here’s what I learned from it:

#1 Don’t be too “smart” for your own good: there is nothing like that one breakthrough idea that is guaranteed to work 100%. Teams need to be willing to iterate, pivot & execute in new directions all the time 🏄‍♂️

#2 Launch!!! At the 0-to-1 stage, the most important thing is the ability of a team to build & launch a working product, as fast as possible. You can’t build a company if you don’t launch in the first place🏋️‍♂️

#3 Startups are all about momentum: teams need to demonstrate forward momentum in whatever time they have spent building the product. The best teams generate rapid momentum to acquire users & fundraise with this tailwind 🚀

#4 What kind of problem is worth solving? a) high frequency ⏱, b) high intensity 🔦, c) high willingness to pay💸. Overall, founders need to have some special insight about the problem they are setting-out to solve 💡

#5 Founders essentially take 2 kinds of risk: a) product risk 🛠, not sure if people need this product (typically taken by relatively younger founders) and b) execution risk, I know this product is needed but not sure of execution (usually taken by more experienced founders)⛏

#6 Be “real” when coaching founders: be upfront in presenting facts about high failure rates. And that to win, you have to reach out for extraordinary (be 2 standard deviations from average). Also, emphasize the importance of developing tools to manage their emotions & health 🔦

#7 Best way to create leverage during your fundraising process? Acquire users & grow m-o-m. Pitch with real users & data. It’s possible to raise money just on ideas/prototypes, but you will have zero leverage in these discussions. Your goal should be to fundraise with leverage💪

#8 What is Product-Market Fit? It’s like a sledgehammer to your jaw. It’s that month or quarter where you get so many users that it breaks your systems. When the sheer market traction bypasses all your spreadsheet plans & projections. When you have PMF, you WILL know it 🚰

To conclude, what I found most intriguing was the importance of “bravery” in founders 🧗‍♀️2020 has shoved in our faces a plethora of issues we are facing as a species. The need of the hour is a generation of founders that take on problems that are intimidating to solve 🌠

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