Is remote YC worth it?
Papercups went through YC summer of 2020. I've had a lot of friends and people reaching out asking about our experiences and was it worth it. They are mostly worried about two things: the size of the new YC batch and the remote YC experience.
When we were going through YC's application process we were also worried about the size of the batch and being remote. But after going through YC I felt like most of these concerns was mostly unfounded. There were disappointments for sure but I think YC is more than worth the 7%.
So the short answer is: As someone who went through YC during the remote batch with over 250+ companies I think YC 100% worth it.
Benefits of YC:
Advice from group partners
During the batch you are assigned to three group partners. They break the startups up into groups and subgroups so you can interact closely with companies that are the most similar to yours. You can book office hours with any partners but your group partners are the ones who will know your company the most intimately. During our time in YC we would have phone calls with our partners around once a week. For shorter questions, we would email or send a slack message and typically would reply within a few hours or minutes. During our time in YC without our group partner's advice, we would have wasted several more months on an idea that would have gone nowhere.
Community of founders/Alumni network
Second, the YC alumni network is incredibly helpful when it came to getting early customers or getting feedback. There are so much startup information and advice out in the world now that you have to spend a lot of time sifting through the noise. The best information you can get for your startups are from other founders that have gone through the same path as you. We got tailored advice from founders of Docker, Gitlab, and Mattermost which was invaluable. The other benefit is you get connected with other founders that are similar to you that are at a similar stage. You can trade notes and strategies to make your startup better. As YC scales the number of startups the YC network will be more and more valuable. There is a sense of reciprocity in the YC community and that you want to help those who come after you.
Access to fundraising
Third, you will have a much easier time fundraising through demo day than with traditional fundraising. Typically to raise a seed (500k-2mil) round you will end up having to fundraise full time for anywhere between 2-4 months outside. YC dramatically shortens the time to fundraise and can easily save you 1-3 months of time fundraising. There were founders in our batch that only took a few days to fundraise saving them months of time and funding. The valuation you will receive is also much higher after going through YC than before. If you need capital to grow your startup there is no better place to go for your startup.
Downsides of remote YC
The main downside of a remote YC batch is that you miss out on in-person experiences. Watching the talks from your bedroom doesn't have the same impact as being in person. We also missed out on the YC dinners and more of the social part of YC. I don't think these made much impact on how likely my startup would succeed but it would have been great to get those human experiences
By going through YC I believe we have more than doubled our chances of success which is easily worth the 7% equity. There were definitely downsides to being a remote batch but I think the benefits far outweighed the negatives.
Papercups is an open source customer support tool and an alternative to Intercom and Zendesk
GitHub repo: https://github.com/papercups-io/papercups