7 Changes at Year of the Startup

June 5, 2015 (Omaha, NE)

After 10 months of our startup house experiment, the team at Year of the Startup has learned a lot. More importantly, we have implemented some critical updates based on experience and analysis from the past year.

So, what’s new at Year of the Startup?

  1. New Digs

The biggest and most noticeable change is one of scenery; we are excited to announce that we have two new properties to call home. Our new Midtown Startup House HQ will be occupied by yours truly and two nonprofit founders. Our Little Italy Startup House HQ will be inhabited by four startup founders and our program manager, Jason Feldman. Between the two properties we have 13 bedrooms total that will be occupied by founders, YOTSU staff, interns, guests, etc.

2. Diverse City

The program has become more diverse in terms of gender, race, and entity type with the acceptance of 3 women, 2 minorities, and 2 nonprofits.

3. Right Sizing

We have shrunk our core team from five to just the three most active organizing members who are involved in day to day operations, a move that we anticipate will allow us to act more quickly and effectively.

4. False Advertising

At the risk of false advertising, Year of the Startup is experimenting with a shorter 9 month program — the thought is that the 3 month break lets us reset and recalibrate the program. Also, having bedrooms available in the 3 months leading up to the start of the program year will give incoming founders flexibility with move in dates.

4. Meeting Food

Possibly our biggest breakthrough is the implementation of food at our weekly “State of the Startup” meetings. We experimented with meals at the end of Q2 and nothing fostered a sense of community moreso than some delicious grub. Also, we have some great SMEs from the community come out and spend a couple hours kickin’ knowledge to our startups, the least we can do is repay them with a hot meal.

5. Sameness

The six 2015–16 Startup Fellows will be announced on July 15th, but this year’s group is working on some very interesting concepts from all over the spectrum — per usual. The group of six contains one familiar face, Eric from Nightlife Transit is back for more. We’re experimenting with retaining our top founder for a second year to both nurture our investment and preserve the emergent culture of the YOTSU community.

6. Open to Nonprofits

As mentioned above, we’ll be accepting a couple nonprofit founders into our program this upcoming year. The structure for nonprofit founders looks a bit different but is programmatically identical. We had several inquiries throughout our first year from individuals looking to start nonprofits. Once we found that Y Combinator accepts nonprofits, we made the call to open applications for 501's. Year of the Startup charges a monthly fee for participating nonprofits but we pick up the tab for their 501 application and provide all of the same resources available to our startup founders.

7. A Startup/Year

When I first started YOTSU I told people that I was going to start a company each year with our Startup Fellow cohort. I think YOTSU is stable enough at this point for that to actually happen! I’m currently deciding between 3 different concepts to work on. I’ll announce the project on July 15 when we release our lineup for the year.

A Continual Recalibration

These are just a few of the outward facing changes we are implementing for the upcoming program year. Our inward facing changes have been numerous but have basically all been centered around the ideas of automation, incentive structuring, constant experimentation, and evidence basing.

Stay tuned for the 2015–16 Startup Fellow list on July 15.

Written by Sabastian Hunt, July 5, 2015.