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Startup School of Y Combinator – my Key Learnings and Lessons from it

Starting Your Business in Germany

Startup School of Y Combinator – my Key Learnings and Lessons from it

Startup School type of startups

The Startup School started yesterday on July 22, but you could still join for free until August 4. Currently, 21 thousand startups across the globe have joined this year’s program. The introduction video and all later videos are publicly available in youtube.

Key lessons:

Week 1

  • Track revenue weekly which is the relevant metric for 99% of all startups.
  • The top ten participating cities: San Francisco, New York City, London, Bangalore, Toronto, Lagos, Moscow, Berlin, Paris and Bogota. Really surprising were Bangalore as no. 4, Toronto as no. 5 and to find Lagos, Moscow and Bogota in the top 10. What I am missing are Chinese cities or cities from other Asian countries.
  • There are too many startups pursuing the same technologies/applications, namely AI, E-Commerce, Marketplaces, Fintech, Dev Tools, Blockchain and Esports. And only a very few startups (97!) trying really something new, what they call “Moonshots” at Y Combinator.

Week 2

This week was about the MVP (Minimum Viable Product) and which KPIs/goals to select for a startup as well as analytical tools to choose.


Key message for the MVP is that “you should think about something ridiculously simply” and launch it (very) quickly and then get some initial customers for it. And then iterate.

The primary KPI for 99% of the startups should be revenue plus some secondary KPIs. Then it was showed what kind of weekly growth would be expected to become a startup with a 1 billion USD valuation (i.e. 5-10% per week!). E.g. a 10% weekly growth rate means that a startup would be 142 times larger in one year.

The last session was on analytics for startups. It showed useful available tools to analyse your visitors on a website. The most interesting for me was the solution “fullstory” as one can visually see how an internet user intereracts with an website. Also the use of the retention cohorts mectric to measure what percentage of customers are repeating users was interesting.

Overall I have found the sessions useful, however they really apply only to high-growth internet startups (so only 0,1% or less of all startups). So one needs to modify the concepts to the “real” startup world, but then I think they are potentially very useful. It also shows a bit the thinking / business philosphie in the Silicon Valley (with the goal to find the next unicorn), which worries me a bit, because many important problems cannot be solved just with the internet nor offer 5-10% growth per week.



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