Y Combinator is among the top seed accelerators in the world today, whose portfolio of investments include market disruptors like Airbnb, Reddit, Dropbox and Mixpanel among others. Fortune magazine has recently called Y Combinator “a spawning ground for emerging tech giants”. Being the brand behind many successful startups around the globe, Y Combinator runs a 3-month startup program twice a year to incubate and scale some of the most promising startups across the globe; getting into this coveted program is akin to striking gold for startup founders.

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Y Combinator has so far selected 6 startups in India (Razorpay, Cleartax, Innov8, Meesho, Kisan Network and JustRide) and in their efforts to share valuable insights and motivate the startup community in India, they hosted the very first Y Combinator India Startup Conference last September, here at the Razorpay headquarters in Bangalore.

The day long event had an impressive list of speakers that included partners and alumni from Y Combinator, and other successful entrepreneurs. The speakers for the event were:

Y Combinator Partners

  • Adora Cheung (CEO and Co-founder of Homejoy)
  • Tim Brady (Yahoo’s first employee and Founder of Imagine K12)

Y Combinator Alumni

  • Razorpay (Harshil Mathur and Shashank Kumar)
  • Cleartax (Archit Gupta)
  • Kisan Network (Aditya Agarwalla, Sanjay K Agarwalla)

Entrepreneurs

  • Kunal Shah (Founder & CEO, Freecharge)
  • Aditi Avasthi (Founder, Imbibe)
  • Anil Advani (Founder, Inventus)

The event was focussed on providing handy tips and practical advice to startups and entrepreneurs and witnessed an astounding turnout with more than 180 people attending the event.

Here are some of the key highlights from the event:

On cracking Y Combinator

Y Combinator partners and Y Combinator alumni spoke about some of the key tips for making it to the program. Speaking from experience, the alumni spoke about how on the product front, building market context and knowledge about important metrics around customer behaviour and engagement were considered essential. In addition, presentation and communication skills were highly valued by both the partners and alumni.

“While you present, you need to have your thoughts very clear. Also, think of possible questions and have answers ready for them at the back of your mind since you don’t have much time to think during the interview. Finally try sticking to simple language for all your communication”

— Harshil Mathur – Founder & CEO, Razorpay

“YC helped us a lot in how to interact with and assess investors. This is very crucial as it is very important to understand feedback from investors in order to move ahead”

— Archit Gupta – Founder & CEO, ClearTax

Highlights about Tuesday Dinners at Y Combinator

Speakers at the event spoke about Y Combinator’s popular Tuesday Dinners. Tuesday Dinners are once a week events where eminent leaders from the startup and tech community in the Silicon Valley address and interact with the Y Combinator startups. Generally startups treat these dinners as mini demo days and show progress week on week.

Alumni discussed how Tuesday Dinners are a great place to exchange ideas from peers and leaders alike. It is a platform which forces participants to get into the fast lane of learning. They also spoke about each of them found it reassuring to listen to successful startup founders talk about their experiences and near death business situations and how they came out of it.

Fundraising experiences after Y Combinator Demo Day

Y Combinator has become the industry standard for ensuring startup credibility and this helps Y Combinator startups in a great way. Startup founders at the event spoke about how Y Combinator greatly honed their ability to attract and convince investors. Founders spoke about their individual fundraising experiences post the 3-month program. For instance, Razorpay was able to raise 2.5 million within 2 weeks of the final demo day.

Founders emphasized how important it was to assess fundraising outcomes, as it is a great way to ensure partnering with the right investors.

The conference also covered interesting stories from other leading startups. In case you have missed the event, watch the complete show here:

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