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Win Your Startup Capital

A business contest lets wannabe tech entrepreneurs get in the startup game.

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This story appears in the November 2007 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Twice a year, technology entrepreneurs from all over the U.S. compete for the privilege of being locked in small apartments where they work day and night for three months straight to start up their own companies. These lucky few might not sound so lucky, but they're driven by something that's near and dear to the hearts of bootstrapping entrepreneurs: funding.

Newsweek described the Y Combinator contest as American Idol meets Wired magazine. The challenge: to be selected by a panel of judges, or in this case, Y Combinator's founders--Paul Graham, Robert Morris, Jessica Livingston and Trevor Blackwell. Under the VC firm's three-month program, clever ideas involving web-based applications, cell phones and enterprise software come to life, and the future's top techies make their debuts.

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