What questions are asked at the YCombinator interview?


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
Tylar Michaelson
41 points

1 Answer


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
Chrissie Gray
1,107 points
  • That's an awesome list. Most of these are great to ask yourself as well when starting a new company. – Nishank Khanna 7 years ago

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