For years, the popular accelerator program Y Combinator has interviewed applicants to its program in the Bay Area, reimbursing teams for their travel expenses. It will continue to do so, but the outfit tells us they are for the first time also hosting interviews in New York, on February 23rd, and that plans to interview applicants in both Tel Aviv and Bangalore are in the works.
We were in touch yesterday with YC partner Dalton Caldwell, who heads up admissions for the organization, to get a few more details that might be good for potential applicants to know.
TC: Remind us of what the in-person interview process involves. What are the steps to land time with one of the partners for an interview?
DC: Founders fill out an online application. The application is reviewed by YC partners. We invite select founders to meet us in-person for a 10-minute interview. We tell founders that day if they’re funded.
TC: And that application involves . . .
DC: The application asks for a one-minute video where founders can introduce themselves and their startups. There is no change from our standard application and interview process.
TC: How many people were accepted into the winter class and how many were rejected?
DC: We’re not yet announcing the stats from the Winter W19 batch. We’ll keep you posted on when those go live.
TC: When might YC revisit a team to whom it has said no?
DD: In a typical YC batch, about the half companies have applied multiple times before being accepted. If you’ve applied before and not gotten in, we strongly encourage you to apply again. Having made progress since your last application is a strong signal to us.
TC: How many times do people typically apply to YC before they are accepted?
DC: I don’t have this data handy. But roughly half the companies in a typical YC batch had a founder that applied more than once. Some teams apply once and get in, but we’ve also had teams that applied six times before they were accepted.
TC: Why is it necessary to host these interviews elsewhere?
It isn’t necessary for YC to do this, but it seems like a good thing to do. We often plan events for founders around the world and realized we could use those opportunities to interview local startups.
TC: What are you and the rest of YC looking for in these very short in-person interviews?
DC: YC interviews let us meet the founders and have a conversation about what they’re building. We ask questions and look at what they’ve built so far. The conversation helps us understand how founders think about the problem they’re solving.
TC: Will the interview process be any different in Tel Aviv or Bangalore versus here in the U.S.?
DC: Founders will experience the same process as the interviews we host in the Bay Area.
TC: YC says a “small number” of interviews will be taking place in a couple of weeks. What does that mean?
DC: We don’t have an exact number of interviews in mind. We’ll see what comes in and plan accordingly.
TC: Any ideas from now regarding how many startups YC can accommodate for its summer batch?
DC: We don’t set a specific number in advance.
TC: Is this a first step toward anything else, like Y Combinator New York?
DC: We’re staying in the Bay Area for now — but we’re always looking for ways to better support founders who are based in other cities and internationally.
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