Let’s help (more) French startups get into YCombinator

YCombinator Logo in front of their building

[TL;DR: if you are a French team thinking about applying to YCombinator, and want to easily get access to 10 French YC Alumni (currently living in the US) ready to help on your application for YC & more, simply send 1 email to frenchtoyc@gmail.com and you’ll have all the help you need — obviously for free)

More than 2 years ago I was lucky enough to be accepted in YCombinator’s seed & acceleration program. It was a dream come true for me and my co-founders. Since then, a great amount of French teams have applied to the program, and even though many have been rejected, France can be proud to have sent that many teams to YC. We think there’s a lot more to come.

So 10 (to start with) of those French Alumni (including myself) gathered together to figure out how we can better help French applicants get a shot at YC. (It’s important to note that even though you can *absolutely* get accepted by YC with no connections, it helps to have recommendations or feedback from Alumni to better communicate the value of what you’re building to YC Partners. Recommendations are only worth something if they’re solid, see here: https://www.quora.com/Y-Combinator-Should-you-try-to-get-endorsements-from-YC-alums-or-does-it-not-make-a-difference).

Here’s the problem with the current situation

  1. A lot of applicants waste time and energy reaching out / obtaining intros to a few French YC Alumni
  2. Those Alumni are usually very busy, and twice a year (when YC’s application process is open), every Alumni gets drowned in email requests to review an application, give a recommendation, hop on a call etc.
  3. A lot of requests from the applicants are not even targeted on a market-fit with the alumni, but simply based on the fact that a given Alumni was closer to their own network (therefore easier to get an intro to)
  4. Alumni can’t help every team who reaches out, and it leaves a lot of teams dry, while other teams get 20 calls with different Alumni to review their application

So together with 9 other French YC Alumni, we have decided to do something to make this process more efficient. We have decided to centralize all of this work, with one goal: make sure more French companies get a shot at YC and the US market.

So here’s our first solution and how we can help better: frenchtoyc@gmail.com

From now on, if you send just 1 email (details below) to frenchtoyc@gmail.com, here’s what happens:

  1. You get instant access to French YC Alumni, currently living in the US, ready to help
  2. Your email & YC application will be reviewed and sent to the most relevant Alumni (a few of them)
  3. Those few relevant Alumnis will be able to hop on a call with you, discuss your application, and give you feedback
  4. Every Alumni will be able to jump in and help you if (s)he sees a good way to do so for your specific industry
  5. Every Alumni will be able to propose other Alumni (not necessarily French) who can help you with your application / industry

Here’s what you should send us in your email

  1. Your deck (attached or link to, if you have one)
  2. A link to (google doc for example) your YC application questions & answers
  3. 1–2 lines (directly in the email) about what you’re building & 2–3 keys metrics. Please keep this one short
  4. Your contact info (phone & skype ID etc.)

Alumni

Here’s the first 10 French YC Alumni (US based) who are in to help you more:

We hope that this will allow :

  • French teams with no connections in the US to have a great kick-start
  • more French teams to apply to YC
  • more French teams to be recommended and get feedback more easily
  • An even more active and solid startup ecosystem in France ?

Please help spread the word to French startups by sharing this post, we can’t wait to get started. Any feedback is also greatly appreciated to improve the process even more.

You have our email, and you can reach us on twitter as well: @frenchtoyc This is just step 1, we’ll be adding more stuff as we go.

PS: Ironically, this post is targeting French startups and yet I realize I’ve written it in English. I know, but it’s too late now :)

PPS: Don’t think doing YC is mandatory to succeed. An awful lot of companies succeed without YC. However, YC is often a great boost, especially if you plan on expanding / launching in the US.

Want to support this free initiative ? Please hit ‘Recommend’ below and share with your network ! That would be greatly appreciated

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