YCombinator Looking For Awesome Indian Entrepreneurs

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Y Combinator or YC, an 11-year-old California-based startup accelerator, is one of the most sought after accelerators. Entrepreneur caught up with two of their partners – Tim Brady and Adora Cheung, while they were here for their very first visit.

Entrepreneur India

This is your first visit to India, what are your expectations?

Tim Brady : This is the first ever visit to India from YCombinator and we are very excited about it. We are here to recruit great companies, meet people, learn and we are here to tell everyone about the YC.

What are your views on the whole startup community here?

Adora Cheung : I think founders here have a lot of good ideas. Few years back, lot of people were working on things similar to what we were building in the US, but now people have moved on to solving internal problems.

Does YC have any set criteria while recruiting startups?

Tim Brady : I think apart from having great teams and ideas, with each application we ask ourselves -ould this become a big company? Could this be scaled into something really big? There are slow and medium paced businesses, which are great businesses but our program is not optimized for those. Our program is fit for venture backable businesses with foreseeable calability. So when we interview shortlisted teams, we ask them all sorts of questions regarding scalability like when would this become big, how will it become big, etc. We try look at how the idea will look in five years or 10 years time and does it have the potential to do something really impactful.

What major differences you see in Indian entrepreneurs viz the US counterparts?

Adora Cheung : India is very different from the US at a macro level. So a lot of infrastructure is required to be built and technology scaled, companies need to be put in place, and there are other issues like low credit card penetration and low per capita income. These things are very different compaed to the US. Things are constantly changing and improving, but still the market need to catch up fast.

Any tips for the entrepreneurs who are looking to apply to the YC?

Adora Cheung : There is one thing that I keep on reiterating - be clear on your product. We have a written application and you have to tell us about your idea in that. A lot of applicants either write a wall of text there, which are just really long answers or their answers are too vague, three sentences are enough to explain an idea.

We would like to encourage people to work on that. Are you looking at any particular sector in India?

Adora Cheung : I am personally interested in things that people are building just for India. It's for a billion people, so it's worth the effort. But there certainly is no particular vertical that we are focusing on. We just want to have great teams and ideas on board; sector is not a consideration as such.

(This article first appeared in the Indian edition of Entrepreneur magazine (October 2016 Issue).