What questions are asked at the YCombinator interview?


3

My startup has been selected to fly over to Mountain View and interview for YCombinator. What are some of the types of questions we can expect Paul Graham to ask us?

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asked Jan 29 '14 at 18:41
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Tylar Michaelson
41 points

1 Answer


4

First of all, congratulations! It's really hard getting into YC now unlike a few years back.

While I've never been accepted for a YC interview (have applied twice for two different ventures), I had researched extensively on what VCs usually ask when you meet them.

Here is an enormous list of questions I assembled from several sources:

  • So what are you working on?
  • Have you raised funding?
  • What makes new users try you?
  • How much does customer acquisition cost?
  • What's an impressive thing you have done?
  • Why did you pick this idea to work on?
  • Will you reincorporate as a US company?
  • What do you understand that others don't?
  • How will you make money?
  • What's the worst thing that has happened?
  • Why isn't someone already doing this?
  • Who might become competitors?
  • What is your distribution strategy?
  • What's the conversion rate?
  • What is your burn rate?
  • How many users do you have?
  • What part of your project are you going to build first?
  • How will customers and/or users find out about you?
  • What are the key things about your field that outsiders don't understand?
  • What domain expertise do you have?
  • Who are your competitors?
  • What is your growth like?
  • What has surprised you about user behaviour?
  • Who is “the boss”?
  • Where is the rocket science here?
  • Tell us something surprising you have done?
  • How is your product different?
  • How many users are paying?
  • Who would you hire or how would you add to your team?
  • What do you know about this space/product others don't know?
  • How big an opportunity is there?
  • How much money could you make per year?
  • What is the next step with the product evolution?
  • Who in your team does what?
  • Who needs what you're making?
  • Are you open to changing your idea?
  • What problems/hurdles are you anticipating?
  • Why do the reluctant users hold back?
  • Who would be your next hire?
  • What is your user growth rate?
  • What obstacles will you face and how will you overcome them?
  • Why did your team get together?
  • What are you going to do next?
  • What do you understand about your users?
  • How long can you go before funding?
  • In what ways are you resourceful?
  • What are the top things users want?
  • How did your team meet?
  • How do you know customers need what you're making?
  • What competition do you fear most?
  • Where do new users come from?
  • What, exactly, makes you different from existing options?
  • How do we know your team will stick together?
  • If your startup succeeds, what additional areas might you be able to expand into?
  • What's the funniest thing that has happened to you?
  • How does your product work in more detail?
  • How do you know people want this?
  • What resistance will they have to trying you and how will you overcome it?
  • Would you relocate to Silicon Valley?
  • What's the biggest mistake you have made?
  • What's new about what you make?
  • How are you meeting customers?
  • What systems have you hacked?
  • Who is going to be your first paying customer?
  • Will your team stick at this?
  • Who would use your product?
  • How are you understanding customer needs?
  • Six months from now, what's going to be your biggest problem?

Best of luck! Do update your question with your experience later so we can get a first hand look.

answered Jan 29 '14 at 19:00
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Chrissie Gray
1,067 points
  • That's an awesome list. Most of these are great to ask yourself as well when starting a new company. – Nishank Khanna 4 years ago
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