WINNING Y COMBINATOR: Read the successful applications that hot startups used to win a spot in the accelerator that launched Airbnb and Dropbox


Yunha Kim Simple Habit

  • Y Combinator is an incredibly selective startup accelerator. An impressive application can help you win a spot.
  • Business Insider has highlighted below some examples of successful applications from Y Combinator alumni.
  • March 16 is the deadline to apply for Y Combinator’s Summer 2020 batch.
  • Business Insider regularly interviews founders about their entrepreneurial journeys. You can read about them all by subscribing to BI Prime. 

Since Y Combinator opened its doors in 2005, more than 2,000 startups have gone through the accelerator.

Many of those startups have since achieved tremendous success. Think Airbnb, Dropbox, Instacart, Coinbase, and Brex.

The admissions process at Y Combinator is notoriously selective: Roughly 1.6% of the companies that apply make it in. Once they do, those companies receive seed funding, plus advice from seasoned founders. The program culminates in a Demo Day, when founders get to pitch investors on their business.

The deadline to participate in Y Combinator’s Summer 2020 batch is March 16. In order to convince the admissions committee that you deserve a spot in the program, you’ll have to craft an impressive pitch.

Business Insider has talked to several founders who have done just that — and we’ve shared the original applications that got them in.

Below, we’ve listed those applications, which you can use as inspiration when you’re writing your own.

Goodly: Read the application form that got a company with $0 in the bank into the selective startup accelerator that launched Airbnb and Dropbox

InEvent: The startup accelerator that launched Airbnb and Dropbox rejected 3 founders in 2015 — so they rewrote their application and tried again. Read the form that finally won them a spot last year.

Simple Habit: Read the application form that got the ‘Spotify for meditation’ into the selective startup accelerator that launched Airbnb and Dropbox

Prolific: Less than 2% of applicants get accepted to Y Combinator, the startup accelerator that launched Airbnb and Dropbox. Read the application that helped 2 scientists who bootstrapped their business get in.

Are you a startup founder who’s participated in Y Combinator and wants to share your story? Contact Business Insider correspondent Shana Lebowitz at

SEE ALSO: A former Y Combinator partner says a founder’s answer to this one question on the tech accelerator’s application strongly predicts their startup success

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