Frequently Asked Questions
Startup School is completely free. All you need is a device with access to the internet.
We believe that all founders should have access to the best startup advice - no matter where in the world you’re building your company. Startup School is the compilation of the best advice that YC partners have offered themselves or gathered from experts in the field. We offer this for free so that founders can use this advice while focusing on building your startup. We also hope that more founders from SUS will apply to YC!
We expect most founders will be focused on building their startups. The program flexibility allows for you to spend as much time as you want in Startup School.
Most weeks, you should be able to finish the required curriculum and submit your weekly update in 1-2 hours.
Startup School is a resource created by YC for anyone considering starting their own company; it is not meant to replace YC’s core program. While being part of Startup School does not automatically improve your chances of getting into YC, it can certainly help indirectly by making your company more successful!
Over the last couple of years, we have seen an increase in the number of YC companies that have participated in SUS. In the most recent YC batch, 45% of companies were former Startup School participants.
- Create a profile. You will be asked about your education, employment, anything else you want to share, and your preferences in a co-founder.
- We need to approve your profile before you can use the platform. This may take up to a week.
- Once you’ve been approved, you can look through profiles of potential candidates. If you’re interested in connecting with them, you can send a personalized message, and if they accept, we’ll send you an email to match the two of you. To prevent spam, you’re limited to sending 15 invites a week.
- Of course, you may also receive invites! If you choose to accept an invite from someone we’ll send you a match email as well.
- Once you match, we let you take it from there, but we recommend scheduling a time to meet over video chat ASAP, and to work on a trial project together before committing to anything.
When you start a trial project with a potential co-founder, you should set up a brainstorming session to discuss your goals. Be sure to cover the following topics:
- What type of project would you like to work on to test the relationship? This could be a small piece of a larger startup idea, or even something totally unrelated.
- How many hours a week do each of you have to dedicate to this project? Is the number of hours acceptable to both parties?
- How often and on what channels are you planning on checking in?
- How long do you want to spend determining fit? We recommend starting with 2-4 weeks of close work. If you're not excited about the relationship after that period, you can let your co-founder know and move on.
- We recommend putting the details of this discussion in writing. A template for a project agreement is here: SUS Co-Founder Agreement Template.
The platform should only be used to find a co-founder. Behavior that may result in removal from the platform includes:
- Using the platform for any purpose other than trying to find a co-founder, including hiring and selling goods or services
- Being unresponsive when trying to schedule a time to meet after matching
- Reaching out to users on a different platform (e.g. LinkedIn) without their permission
- Harassing other users
The first step is to reach out and set up a video call. The questions below may be helpful to cover on your call. These are based on the Startup School curriculum on co-founder matching.
- Is there a specific startup idea you definitely want to work on?
- What progress have you made/can you make without a co-founder?
- How do you respond to stress/difficult situations?
- What motivates you?
- Why do you want to work on a startup?
- What’s the ideal trajectory for you: venture-backed rocket ship, lifestyle business, something in between?
- What skills do you have; are they complementary? Will you be able to build an initial version of a product together?
If you're both excited after the initial conversation, we recommend working on a project together!
Otherwise, if it doesn't seem like a good fit based on this initial discussion:
- Is there anyone who comes to mind in your network that would be a good fit?