Startup School - The Best Resource for Founders (2024)

Startup School

Is there a cost to Startup School?

Startup School is completely free. All you need is a device with access to the internet.

We believe that all founders should have access to the best startup advice - no matter where in the world you're building your company. Startup School is the compilation of the best advice that YC partners have offered themselves or gathered from experts in the field. We offer this for free so that founders can use this advice while focusing on building your startup. We also hope that more founders from Startup School will apply to YC!

Who should sign up for Startup School?

You should sign up for Startup School if you are at the early stages of building a startup, considering turning a side project into a company, or just curious to learn about becoming a founder.

My startup is already launched and we have customers, is there value for later stage founders?

You can still sign up for Startup School, but if you have launched, have customers, and are actively working on your startup,the YC batch program is probably a better fit. You can learn more about and apply here.

How does this relate to Y Combinator? Does it replace YC? Will it improve my chances of getting into YC?

Startup School is a free resource created by YC for anyone considering starting their own company. It is designed to help founders get to the point where they can successfully get funded by Y Combinator and participate in the YC accelerator.

While being part of Startup School does not automatically improve your chances of getting into YC, it can certainly help by making your company more successful!

In the most recent YC batch, 45% of the companies were former Startup School participants.

If I'm working with other people, who should participate?

We recommend inviting your co-founders to participate with you.

I remember Startup School working differently. Has it changed?

Startup School has taken various forms over the past several years. Startup School has been a one day conference, a class at Stanford, a live online course, and a self-paced program. Currently, Startup School provides continuous access to the resources that we think are the most helpful for early stage founders and anyone who plans to start a company in the future.

Co-Founder Matching

Who is eligible for co-founder matching?

Anyone who is seriously looking for a co-founder! You can have an established company, or no idea at all. You can be solo or already have a co-founder, as long as you're looking for another one.

Will my profile be public? Can my employer find me?

No, your profile is not public to the internet. Your profile is visible only to other people who have been approved for Startup School co-founder matching.

Can I use the platform to sell services or hire people for my company?

No. The platform is solely for seeking co-founders. If we receive reports that you're using co-founder matching for anything else, we will remove you from the platform.

How does the co-founder matching platform work?

  1. Create a profile. You will be asked about your education, employment, anything else you want to share, and your preferences in a co-founder.
  2. We need to approve your profile before you can use the platform. This may take up to a week.
  3. Once you've been approved, you can look through profiles of potential candidates. If you're interested in connecting with them, you can send a personalized message, and if they accept, we'll send you an email to match the two of you. To prevent spam, you're limited to sending 15 invites a week.
  4. Of course, you may also receive invites! If you choose to accept an invite from someone we'll send you a match email as well.
  5. Once you match, we let you take it from there, but we recommend scheduling a time to meet over video chat ASAP, and to work on a trial project together before committing to anything.

How do the trial projects work?

When you start a trial project with a potential co-founder, you should set up a brainstorming session to discuss your goals. Be sure to cover the following topics:

  • What type of project would you like to work on to test the relationship? This could be a small piece of a larger startup idea, or even something totally unrelated.
  • How many hours a week do each of you have to dedicate to this project? Is the number of hours acceptable to both parties?
  • How often and on what channels are you planning on checking in?
  • How long do you want to spend determining fit? We recommend starting with 2-4 weeks of close work. If you're not excited about the relationship after that period, you can let your co-founder know and move on.
  • We recommend putting the details of this discussion in writing.

What are the community behavior guidelines for co-founder matching?

The platform should only be used to find a co-founder. Behavior that may result in removal from the platform includes:

  • Using the platform for any purpose other than trying to find a co-founder, including hiring and selling goods or services
  • Being unresponsive when trying to schedule a time to meet after matching
  • Reaching out to users on a different platform (e.g. LinkedIn) without their permission
  • Harassing other users

I've matched with someone. What should we do now?

The first step is to reach out and set up a video call. The questions below may be helpful to cover on your call. These are based on the Startup School curriculum on co-founder matching.

  • Is there a specific startup idea you definitely want to work on?
  • What progress have you made/can you make without a co-founder?
  • How do you respond to stress/difficult situations?
  • What motivates you?
  • Why do you want to work on a startup?
  • What's the ideal trajectory for you: venture-backed rocket ship, lifestyle business, something in between?
  • What skills do you have; are they complementary? Will you be able to build an initial version of a product together?

If you're both excited after the initial conversation, we recommend working on a project together!

Otherwise, if it doesn't seem like a good fit based on this initial discussion:

  • Is there anyone who comes to mind in your network that would be a good fit?
Startup School - The Best Resource for Founders (2024)


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