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2016
08-03

译文:YC孵化器都干了些什么 What Happens at Y Combinator

YC孵化器是世界上最著名的孵化器之一,它所孵化的项目当前的总估值已经超过三百亿美元。为了介绍YC孵化器的有关经验,我们翻译了一些文章供内部参考,这篇是其中之一。
原文来自YC孵化器网站。
科创研究院创新工程局,覃永良译。
转载译文请注明上述信息。

INTRODUCTION
Y Combinator runs two three-month funding cycles a year, one from January through March and one from June through August. We ask the founders of each startup we fund to move to the Bay Area for the duration of their cycle, during which we work intensively with them to get the company into the best shape possible. Each cycle culminates in an event called Demo Day, at which the startups present to an audience that now includes most of the world’s top startup investors.

简介
YC孵化器每年有两轮时长3个月的资助期,分别是一月到三月以及六月到八月。我们要求每个创业团队在这期间搬到Bay Area,并尽一切努力与他们一起把创业公司推上最健康的发展轨道。每一轮资助期以“Demo Day”高调收场——届时各个团队要向包括世界最顶尖的创投人士在内的一群观众进行演讲。

DINNERS
1
During each cycle we host a dinner once a week at Y Combinator and invite some eminent person from the startup world to speak. It’s a bit misleading to call these events “dinners” though, because they last half a day. People start to show up for dinners around 6 pm. We encourage founders to treat each dinner as a mini Demo Day and to show each other and us what they’ve built that week. We’ve found these weekly deadlines tend to push people to finish things in order to show them off.
晚宴
每轮资助期内,我们会在YC举行每周一次的晚宴,并邀请一些创业界的实力人士来讲话。说实话叫“晚宴”略有误导,因为通常得持续半天。人们从下午六点开始逐渐聚集。我们建议创始人们把每次晚宴都当成一个迷你版的Demo Day,并与他人分享本周的进展。我们发现每周的这种赶工期有助于推动人们为了装逼而尽快完成作品。

The time before dinner is a chance for founders to talk to one another and to us in an unstructured way. Dinner itself happens around 7:15. Everyone eats together at long white tables designed by our architect Kate Courteau. The general atmosphere is like a modernist version of an Oxford college dining hall, but without a high table. 1.
晚宴前那段时间,是创始人与其他创始人以及我们之间互相大方交谈的一个机会。晚宴大概是7点15开始。所有人围坐在白色的长桌旁吃东西,整体气氛犹如现代风格的牛津学院晚宴厅——除了没有贵宾席。

The speaker usually shows up before 7 and talks informally with the founders before dinner. The actual talk happens over dessert. Most speakers are successful startup founders, and the talks are usually about the inside story of what happened in their startup(s). Talks are strictly off the record to encourage candor, because the inside story of most startups is more colorful than the one presented later to the public. Because YC has been around so long and we have personal relationships with most of the speakers, they trust that what they say won’t get out and tell us a lot of medium-secret stuff.
演讲者通常7点前就现身,并与创始人作非正式交流。真正的讲话在甜点时间开始。大部分的演讲者都是成功的创业公司创始人,演讲内容则通常是他们创业过程中发生的内幕故事。讲话内容要求严格保密以鼓励坦诚,毕竟创业过程中的内幕故事要比在公开场合讲的那些要有趣得多。因为YC历史足够悠久,加上我们与大部分演讲者都保持私人关系,他们相信他们的言论不会被外传并跟我们分享了许多非常私密的内容。

I didn’t consciously realize how much speakers at more public events censored themselves till I was able to compare the same people speaking off the record at YC dinners and on the record at Startup School. YC dinner talks are much more useful, because the details people omit in more public talks tend to be the most interesting parts of their stories. About half the interesting things I know about famous startups, I learned at YC dinners.
最开始我并没有意识到演讲者在公开场合会自我阉割到何等程度,直到后来我将同一个人在YC的无码演讲,与在Startup School的有码演讲加以比较。YC晚宴上的讲话会更受用一些,毕竟打码的内容通常是最有趣的。我所知道的那些创业公司的逸闻趣事,有一半都是在YC晚宴上听到的。

One founder wrote:
Most of the practical advice is redundant, but there’s value in it even as such—if you hear the same things over and over again from different angles, especially from prominent people, it tends to sink in more. The stories tend to be galvanizing though, especially hearing about the screw ups. That’s the actual beauty in the off-the-record-ness: you hear just how screwed up most of these successful startups were on the way up.
某位创始人如是说:
大部分实用建议都被来回反复地讲,但即便如此,仍不失其意义——当你从不同的角度,尤其是从那些牛人的口中,听说同样的事情一遍又一遍地发生,教训会更加深刻。那些故事总是动人心弦,尤其是听到各种日狗事件——这就是无码的好处:让你知道这些成功创业公司中的绝大部分,当年都是怎样日狗的。

It’s a shame the only record of all the YC talks over the years is in the memories and notes of founders who heard them. It seems inefficient that only the founders in that specific batch and a handful of alumni guests get to hear each talk. We often think about this problem but there seems no way around it. If we broadcast or even recorded the talks, the speakers would clam up.
遗憾的是,这么多年来的YC演讲,都只能留存在参与者的脑海中。只让某批次的公司创始人,以及部分校友嘉宾听到某次演讲,似乎是非常低效的做法。因此我们也时常考虑这个问题,但说实话,别说录像了,哪怕是录个音,演讲者都会开始自我和谐。

Talks end with a period of usually quite intense Q&A, after which everyone gets up and breaks into smaller informal groups, like before dinner. Nearly all speakers hang around for a while, talking to individual founders. We make a point of introducing speakers to those who particularly want to talk to them. Sometimes founders and speakers exchange contact info to talk more later. But the speakers are not the people responsible for advising the startups. They’re just an added bonus. The startups are advised by us, and sometimes also by alumni.
演讲末尾通常有一段紧锣密鼓的互动问答,再之后大家会像晚宴前那样起立并互相交谈。几乎所有的演讲者都会转上几圈,与公司创始人单独交谈。我们此时会将演讲者介绍给那些特别希望与他交谈的创始人们。不过演讲者并不负责给创始人们当顾问——他们可以看做一种附加奖励。实际的顾问工作,由我们(有时也由YC校友们)承担。

OFFICE HOURS
2
Half of YC is events in which all the startups participate. The other half happens in individual conversations with us. There are 16 full-time partners: Sam Altman, Tim Brady, Paul Buchheit, Dalton Caldwell, Jared Friedman, Kevin Hale, Aaron Harris, Justin Kan, Carolynn Levy, Jon Levy, Jessica Livingston, Kat Mañalac, Kirsty Nathoo, Geoff Ralston, Michael Seibel, and Qasar Younis.
对话时间
YC的精髓,一半是团队将参加的各种活动;另一半,则发生在与YC合伙人们进行独立对话的过程中。
16位全职合伙人:Sam Altman, Tim Brady, Paul Buchheit, Dalton Caldwell, Jared Friedman, Kevin Hale, Aaron Harris, Justin Kan, Carolynn Levy, Jon Levy, Jessica Livingston, Kat Mañalac, Kirsty Nathoo, Geoff Ralston, Michael Seibel, and Qasar Younis.
There are also 10 part-time partners: Joe Gebbia, Elizabeth Iorns, Andrew Mason, Rick Morrison, Yuri Sagalov, Emmett Shear, Ben Silbermann, Ilya Sukhar, Peter Thiel, and Anne Wojcicki.
10位兼职合伙人:(略

The individual conversations with the startups happen during office hours they book online. There’s no limit to the number of office hours they can book; startups talk to us as often as they want, which in practice varies enormously depending on the startup and where we are in the cycle. The office hour software is designed not just to book slots, but to show us if startups are getting enough time with us. The office hour request queue shows us how many founders need to talk to us; when it gets long, we schedule more blocks of office hours.
与创业团队的独立对话,会在他们事先线上预约的对话时间进行。预约对话时间的总时长没有任何限制——想多频繁都行,而且实际上这个频度与团队本身以及所处资助期的阶段等有很大关系。预约系统除用来预约对话之外,还能帮助我们判断创业团队是否都获得了足够的对话时间。预约队列可以告诉我们有多少创始人等着与我们谈话,当队列变长,我们就安排更多的对话时间。

What we talk about at office hours also depends on the startup and where we are in the cycle. Usually we talk about whatever is the most urgent question right now. Sometimes, especially early on, the most urgent question is to figure out what the most urgent question should be. That’s less trivial than it sounds; we spend a lot of time telling founders what not to worry about.
具体对话内容,也和具体公司以及发展阶段紧密相关。通常我们会就时下最紧要的问题进行对话。有时,特别是在发展初期,最紧要的问题就是“到底什么是最紧要的问题”。这可没有听起来那么无关紧要;我们花费了大量时间告诉创始人哪些问题是没必要担忧的。

(About 10% of the time we talk not about immediate problems but about the big vision for the company. You don’t have to be bound by this, but it’s good to have one. Some startups arrive with a big vision already, but most don’t. It’s a useful exercise to spend some time thinking about what the path would be from what a startup is doing now to a giant company, even if that’s not the current goal of the founders. Helping founders come up with these big visions is one of our strengths, because we’ve explored so much of the space of startup ideas that we know what’s over each hill.)
(大概10%的时间我们不谈紧要问题,而是聊聊公司的长期战略。长期战略未必要影响你的决策,但有战略总是一件好事。有些创业公司是带着战略来YC的,但是大部分都没有。即便长期战略与眼下目标几乎无关,花点时间来思考一个团队如何从手头的工作发展为一家大企业,仍然是相当有益的。帮助创始人拓展未来视野是我们的长处之一,因为我们毕竟是身经百战,见得多了,水浅坑深我们最清楚。)

If the startup either hasn’t decided what to work on or wants to change their idea, then we talk about what the company should do. That usually means satisfying two constraints: something (1) users would want, that (2) the founders of this startup would be good at building. We have these types of conversations surprisingly often. Startups modify or even replace their ideas much more than outsiders realize. By Demo Day perhaps 15% are working on new ideas that grew out of conversations during office hours. Some of the most successful startups we’ve funded have.
如果创业者既没有决定要干点啥,然后又没打算改变思路,那么对话内容就会集中在“现在该干啥”。“干啥”通常要满足两个限制条件:(1)用户要什么,以及(2)创业者擅长干什么。这类对话的频度出奇地高。与局外人的观感相悖:创业者修改甚至更换创业目标的概率是很高的。一般到了Demo Day,大概15%的团队会奋斗在通过“对话时间”选择的新的创业道路上。这其中不乏成功团队。

If the question of what the company should do is settled, the most urgent question tends to be what to build first. Usually we advise startups to launch fast and iterate. This doesn’t apply to all startups (Clustrix, for example), but it works for most. The reason we advise startups to launch fast is that till you launch you’re designing for hypothetical or at best tame users, instead of actual ones. Once you launch you begin the conversation with real users, whose often surprising reactions to your product teach you what you should have been building.
如果公司已经确定了该干什么,那么最紧要的事便是决定什么先做。通常,我们会建议创业团队尽早发布、快速迭代。对大多数团队来说这是正确的。理由很简单,直到发布产品之前,团队都是在为假想用户而非真实用户奋斗。发布之后你开始与真实用户对话,他们对产品的各种意外反应能让你更清楚当初应该往什么方向走。

Usually we advise startups to launch when they’ve built something with a quantum of utility—when they’ve built something sufficiently better than existing options that at least some users would say “I’m glad this appeared, because now I can finally do x.” If what you’ve built is a subset of existing technology at the same price, then users have no reason to try it, which means you don’t get to start the conversation with them. You need a quantum of utility to get a toehold.
通常我们建议团队在产品拥有至少一个“单位功能”的时候发布——简而言之,产品必须比已知的其它选项优秀到一定程度,直到至少部分用户会说“此功能既出,终于可以干某事了”。如果你的产品仅仅实现了同样价格下已有技术的一个子集,那么用户就没有使用它的理由,因而你也就没有与用户对话的机会了。你需要至少一个“单位功能”作为最初的垫脚石。

Since there are a large number of points on the perimeter of most existing technologies at which one could push outward to create a quantum blister, what to build first is one of the most important questions we talk about. The general answer is to pick something where the product of how fast it can be built and how excited users would be about it is high. (How excited is distinct from how many would be excited.) But in practice the answer tends to be very specific to each startup. The goal is for office hours to end with the founders having a clear direction and saying “OK, we’ll go build x.” That goal is almost always achieved, though in practice about 10% of the time x turns out to be a bad idea and we have to go back to the drawing board.
在大部分现成技术的基础上,有无数的点可以产生“单位创新”,因而先干啥就成了对话内容的重中之重。一般来说,我们建议选择令“出品速度”和“用户激动程度”的乘积较高的一个点。(“用户激动程度”和“激动的用户的数量”是两码事。)不过实践中,答案很大程度上取决于具体团队。对话时间的终极目标,就是让创始人在对话结束的时候有一个清晰的方向,并表示“好,我们准备做XX”。这些目标几乎总是能够实现。虽然实践中大概有10%的几率XX最后日了狗导致我们得再来一次。

Deciding what to build is not simply a technical question, because a startup is a company, not just a piece of software. The larval product should also have a larval business model. Like the product, this can change, but there should usually be an initial hypothesis about who to charge, how much to charge them, and how to reach them.
决定干啥不是一个简单的技术问题,因为创业团队本质上是一家公司,不是一堆代码。一个幼虫阶段的产品应该有配套的幼虫商业模型。如产品一样,商业模型总会改变,但在初始阶段就应该做好前提假设:从谁那里收钱,收多少钱,如何收钱。

If a startup has built something that’s ready to launch, then the conversations at office hours tend to be about how to launch it. That’s two questions: how to present it to users, and how to present it to the press and investors. If the startup has a web site, we try to ensure it’s at least above a basic threshold of usability. Startup web sites tend to be confusing to users who show up for the first time with no idea what the company is doing (and not caring that much either), so it’s critical the site convey clearly and briefly what it is. Two partners, Garry Tan and Kevin Hale, are designers who can give advice about site design. As a writer, Paul Graham can often help startups come up with a concise explanation of what they do.
如果团队的产品已经可以发布,那么对话时间的内容将主要针对如何发布。这是两个问题:如何把它呈现给用户,以及如何把它呈现给媒体和投资人。如果项目涉及网站,我们会尽力确保这个网站至少达到可用性标准。
通常,创业团队的网站对第一次访问的用户(往往不知道也不关心这家公司是干啥的)总是充满迷惑,所以一个简单明了的总结非常重要。YC的两位合伙人,Garry Tan和Kevin Hale将作为设计师给网站提设计意见;而作为一名作家,Paul Graham常常帮团队网站写简明扼要的说明以解释其功能。

The second half of launching, explaining the company to the press, is also the beginning of explaining it to investors. When each startup is ready to launch, they stand in front of a whiteboard with a YC partner and figure out what the basic pitch should be. The founders usually photograph this and writes up an initial draft that we help revise. On the day they launch, we turn that into an email to whatever publication they’ve chosen (most often TechCrunch). They’re free to contact the publication themselves, of course, but the reasons we usually help them with the intial intro is because (a) we help them use plain language instead of the marketing-speak even technical founders often revert to when describing their own companies, and (b) journalists know we can’t bullshit them, or they’ll stop believing us.
发布的第二个阶段就是向媒体介绍,同时也就是向投资人介绍的开始。当每一个团队准备发布的时候,他们要和一名YC合伙人,在一块白板前搞清楚究竟应该用一种怎样的基调去介绍。创始人通常会把内容拍下来并且写一个初稿,随后让我们审核。发布日当天,我们会把稿件发给他们选择的媒体(常见比如TechCrunch)。当然,团队也可以自己跑去联系媒体,但我们之所以帮他们审初稿,是因为(1)我们帮他们用朴素的现代汉语,代替那些即便是技术创业者也常常喜欢用来自我吹捧的营销语言;以及(2)媒体们都清楚,YC绝对不会忽悠它们。

The whiteboard pitch is useful for more than just launching. It becomes the basis of how the company will describe itself, particularly to investors. In fact it usually helps the founders themselves both clarify and agree with one another about the vision for the company.
白板成果在除产品发布之外的阶段也有它的作用。它将成为公司今后自我介绍的基调,尤其是对投资人。而且事实上,它还有助于让创始人在公司道路及未来上达成相互共识。

If a company is launched and has users (about a quarter are before they come to YC), then the conversations at office hours tend to be about the various things that happen to actually launched companies. Most things that happen to newly launched startups are bad. But paradoxically, these disasters are precisely the reason to launch fast: they all represent problems you’re going to need to solve eventually, and the only way even to find out what they are is to launch. In practice they vary from technological bottlenecks to threats of lawsuits, but the most common problem is that users don’t like the product enough.
如果一家公司已经对外发布了产品并且拥有用户(大概1/4的公司在来到YC前就实现了),对话时间的内容就会转向那些已经发布产品的公司将会遇到的各种问题。大部分都是灾难。然而与常识相悖——各种灾难正是应该尽早发布的真正原因:它们代表的是各种你早晚都得面对的问题,然而发现这些问题的唯一方法,恐怕也只能是发布产品。实践中遇到的灾难包括技术瓶颈和法院传单,但绝大多数情况下不过是用户并不够喜欢这个产品。

This is normal; it’s to learn where your initial hypothesis is wrong that you launch. Now at least you have some evidence to analyze. So for companies at this stage, the conversations at office hours tend to be about how to figure out from available evidence what users want, how to get more data about what they want, and how to reach more of them. It’s similar to the initial phase when we’re trying to figure out where on the perimeter of existing technology to break out, particularly in the sense that the search space is huge. Fortunately this is an area where our experience advising so many startups is especially useful. This is detective work, and we are experienced detectives.
很正常;只有通过发布,才能搞清楚当年的前提假设究竟错在哪里。现在你至少有了线索。因此对于这个阶段的公司,对话的内容就变成如何从有限的线索分析用户需求,以及如何获得更多线索以进行分析,以及如何接触更多的用户。它和我们当初挑选技术突破点有很多相似之处,尤其是问题空间非常庞大。幸运的是,这个领域正是我们通过培养数以千计的创业团队所获得的经验的最佳用武之地。这是侦查工作,而我们是经验丰富的侦探。

As the 3 month cycle progresses, conversations at office hours start to be about investors as well as the company. Some questions all startups have, like what the fundraising strategy should be. How much should they raise, and from whom, and when should they start? The answers depend on the startup. Some startups are immediately attractive, and they’ll find it easy to raise money. Others are ugly ducklings, who will grow into swans in time, but initially should try to raise a comparatively small amount of angel money and use that to get the company to a more swanlike stage. 2.
随着资助期一天一天过去,对话时间的内容也会如关注团队一样开始关注投资人。有些问题很普遍,比如应该采取怎样的融资策略。融多少钱、找谁、什么时候开始?答案因团队而异。有的团队是独角兽,可以背着书包收钱;有的则是丑小鸭,他们总有一天会成为白天鹅,但初期应尝试融一小笔天使资金,以让公司撑到天鹅阶段。

It’s important for a startup to have an accurate estimate of their fundraising potential, because raising money is like choosing an angle of attack for a plane. If you try to climb too steeply you just stall. Similarly, if you try to raise too much for the stage you’re at, you’ll not only waste lots of time and end up with nothing to show for it, you’ll even jeopardize your chances of raising a smaller amount, because your initial leads will cool as you start to seem shelfworn. Fortunately this is another area where our experience helps. We can predict based on data about hundreds of previous startups what investors’ reactions to you will be and suggest an appropriate strategy.
对于团队来说,准确地评估自身融资潜力非常重要。因为融资就如同选择飞机的攻角。爬升太陡容易失速,同理,如果融资野心过大,很有可能导致花太多时间在这方面,而产品上却进度缓慢;甚至可能令你失去获得数额更小的融资的机会,因为当你看上去像盘子时,原来的投资人就不想接你了。幸运的是,我们在这方面也很专业:我们可以基于YC过往数百个团队的数据,判断投资人对你的反应,并为你推荐合适的融资策略。

Once fundraising starts, the conversations about it at office hours shift from the strategic to the tactical. Raising money is, unfortunately, usually a question of breaking deadlocks. Once you start to get hard commitments from investors, more investors want in. So the most important tactical question is usually who to close first, and how to convince them. This again is something where our experience helps, because we know a lot of the investors’ personalities from previous interactions. At this stage we do more than advise, though: we also talk directly to investors to help convince them. We can often do this more credibly than the founders themselves could, because we have to tell the truth; if we bullshit investors, they’ll stop believing us.
融资一旦开始,对话内容就从战略转向战术。融资这件事情,很不幸,是一个化解僵局的过程。一旦有投资人确认入股,你马上就会被其他投资人包围——因而战术上的关键,在于先和谁谈,以及如何谈拢。当然这也是我们最擅长的,因为我们从之前的接触中,了解了许多投资人的个性和特点。不过这一步我们就不止是建议了,我们也会直接跟投资人交流并帮助说服他们。我们往往比各位创始人更具有说服力——因为投资人都清楚,YC绝对不会忽悠他们。

The goal of course is not just to get the startup money, but to get it from the investors who will help them most. Our knowledge of investors helps us identify those as well as convince them.
目标当然不仅仅是资金,而是从能为团队提供最大帮助的投资人那里获得资金。我们对投资人的了解可以帮助我们进行说服,同样也可以帮助我们进行这种区分。

As Demo Day approaches, conversations at office hours start to be dominated by questions about presentations. This is the busiest part of the cycle for us. Since the startups are at different stages, they need to talk to us different amounts the rest of the cycle. But the week before Demo Day they all need to talk to us about what to say on Demo Day. So during that week office hours run together into one long rehearsal. We’re there most days well into the night as founders come in and rehearse successive versions of their presentations.
随着Demo Day越来越近,对话时间开始被与演讲相关的内容占据。这是YC最忙的一段时间。既然团队各自处在不同的阶段,他们在资助期之后也应该各自有各自的对话安排——然而在Demo Day之前的一周,他们关心的内容都是“我应该在Demo Day上演示什么”。于是这周的对话时间就连成了一次漫长的彩排——这段时间我们总是守到半夜,帮各个创始人一遍又一遍地迭代他们的演说。

Usually we begin with a whiteboard conversation like the one before launching, during which we figure out the most important points to convey. Then the startup makes a presentation based on that, we (and whatever other founders are around) watch it, and then they fix what’s broken and try again. These sessions make the presentations markedly better than they’d otherwise have been. Startups who come to YC a lot the week before Demo Day always have better presentations than the ones who for whatever reason don’t, even if their companies aren’t actually as good.
通常我们会从之前提过的白板大法开始,并且在过程中确定哪几个最重要的点要覆盖。接着团队就基于此做一次演讲,我们(以及周围的所有其他创始人)观看,然后团队把过程中的失误纠正,接着再做一次。这样的特训使得演讲最终能达到远高于初始状态的水平。Demo Day前一周跟我们耗费较多时间的团队,往往最终演讲的水平也更高——即便他们的公司本身不一定优秀。

Office hours don’t stop after the 3 month cycle ends. In fact, the only thing that stops at the end of the 3 month cycle is the dinners. We have office hours year round, and startups from all previous cycles can book time whenever they want. (Except during interviews, and the first week of each cycle and the week before Demo Day, which we reserve for the startups in that cycle.) We still talk regularly with founders from the first YC batch in the summer of 2005.
对话时间不会随着3个月的资助期结束而结束。实际上,3个月之后唯一结束的,仅仅是每周的晚宴而已。我们的对话时间全年开放,而且来自YC过往资助期的创业团队也可以随时预约时间。(除了面试期,启动周和结束周,这些时间我们要留给本期的团队。)我们仍然会经常与YC第一期(05年夏天)的创始人们对话。

Eventually we may hit some kind of limit on the number of people we can advise, but we haven’t hit it yet. There are only 4 weeks a year (2 each cycle) when so many people want office hours that we have to limit them to startups in the current batch. And the length of the office hour request queue shows us that, as of now at least, we’re never so overloaded that we can’t satisfy everyone who wants to talk to us.
总有一天能够与我们对话的人次会超出限制,不过至少目前没有。每年只有4周时间预约会爆满以至于我们必须为本期团队保留。而且从预约队列的长度来看,截至目前为止,我们还从未因需求过旺导致无法满足所有预约。

DEMO DAY
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Demo Day has become a big deal. From the first one, which had 15 people in the audience, it has grown into a day-long event for about 450 investors. The important thing is not the size of the audience, however, but who those 450 people are. We doubt there’s another occasion when such a large percentage of the top startup investors are all in one place.
DEMO DAY(演示日)
Demo Day 已经从最开始的15位观众,发展成了长达一天的、有450位投资人参加的大型活动。不过重点不在观众的数量,而在于这450人都是谁。在我看来,可能没有任何其他活动能一次性召集这么多顶尖创投人士了。

There’s no specific thing startups are expected to be able to present on Demo Day. The startups we fund are all at different stages when the 3 months start, and some reset the clock by changing their idea. So the goal on Demo Day is simply for startups to present their product or service as convincingly as they can for the stage they’re at.
Demo Day并不要求团队非得展示点什么成果。我们支持的团队3个月前处于各自不同的发展阶段;其中一些团队因为改变想法而推倒重来。因此Demo Day的目标,仅仅是让团队以最令人置信的方式展示他们处于当下阶段的产品或者服务。

Between and after the presentations on Demo Day, founders and investors mingle and talk further. The goal for startups is to introduce themselves. Most of the convincing investors to invest happens in subsequent meetings.
在Demo Day的演讲期间以及结束后,创始人和投资人会互相接触并交流。创始人应集中于介绍自己。对投资人的说服工作,绝大多数发生在后续的会面中。

FUNDRAISING
After Demo Day what the startups usually have is a bunch of great contacts. If a startup plans to raise money after YC, these contacts are a great place to start. Our default advice is to do a breadth first search, weighted by expected value. For example, an angel who will decide quickly but will invest a small amount might have the same expected value as a VC who would invest a lot, but could take weeks to make up their minds. Whereas an angel who will only invest a small amount and will take weeks to make up his or her mind has a lower expected value and should be put on the back burner. Fortunately because we not only know many of these prospective investors but can predict their reaction to each specific startup, we can advise startups what the weight should be for each lead. There are a few investors for whom it should be zero, and we can tell startups about those too.
融资
DD之后,团队通常会得到一系列珍贵的联系方式。如果一个团队准备在资助期结束后融资,这些联系方式将会非常有用。我们的一般建议是做一个广度优先搜索,按照期望值决定权重。举个栗子,一个【决断迅速但给钱少】的天使,期望值应该与一个【愿意花大价钱,但是要考虑很久】的风投相同。而一个【给钱少,但是要考虑很久】的天使则具有更低的期望值,也不应该优先考虑。幸运的是我们不仅认识很多这种潜在投资人,而且还能够预测他们对每个具体团队的反应,因而可以帮助团队评估每一个融资机会的权重。有些投资人的权重为0,对此我们也会告知团队。

In the weeks following Demo Day we keep in close touch with the startups as they negotiate the fundraising maze, and help them decipher the real messages in investors’ sometimes deliberately ambiguous responses. Often we talk to the investors ourselves, to find out what they’re really thinking about a particular startup.
接下来几周我们会与那些深陷融资迷宫的团队保持紧密联系,帮他们翻译由投资人释放的充满歧义的信号。通常我们会直接和投资人交谈,以了解投资人对具体项目的看法。

Because YC-funded startups are a known quantity to investors and get introduced to enough of them to create serious price competition, companies tend to get higher valuations than they might otherwise. One founder wrote:
因为YC在投资圈内家喻户晓,被YC资助的公司通常会得到大量来自不同投资人的价格竞争,因而相比一般公司会得到更高的估值。某创始人如是说:

I would bet any day that my cap was significantly higher (probably 2x) as a direct result of being part of YC.
我可以确定的说,我们的估值因参与YC而直接提高了(差不多一倍)。

Though probably more important than valuation is that startups get the investors they want.
虽然相比估值而言,更重要的是团队能找到他们需要的投资人。

We’re in favor of startups raising some angel (size) money during YC if they can do it without taking too much time away from working on the company. Though it might seem great to raise series A before Demo Day, we don’t encourage most companies to try. It’s risky to get into series A negotiations too early, because these draw the founders’ attention away from working on the company and often end in a no, whereupon the company would be screwed on Demo Day because they’d have neither a deal nor impressive progress on its product or service. But if VC interest crosses a certain threshold, we’ll often advise a company to risk it and seek series A.
我们乐于看到团队在YC期间融一小笔天使资金,如果团队能确保不在这上面消耗太多时间的话。虽然在DD之前就拿到A轮听起来很屌,但我们通常不建议大部分团队去尝试。这么早便宣布A轮,会不会让人感觉是钦点:创始人将为此消耗大量工作时间,而失败的概率也非常高,等到Demo Day时就悲剧了——既没有拿到融资,而自己的产品或服务也没有太大进展。当然,如果风投的兴趣超过了某个给定限度,我们其实也常常建议某些公司冒险试试A轮。

OTHER EVENTS
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We have several other events during each cycle. The first, Prototype Day, happens about 2 weeks in. At Prototype Day all the startups present to one another for the first time. The goals are (a) to make sure everyone knows what everyone else is working on, in case they can help, and (b) to get the founders to start thinking about how to present what they’re doing. At this stage, though, the founders should still be focusing more on building than presenting, so we suggest they not spend too much time on their presentations, and to keep the pressure low, no one except the current batch of startups gets to see them.
其他活动
每轮资助期还有一些别的活动。 首先是“原型展示日”,大概在过了两周的时候举行。在原展上,所有团队将第一次作互相演讲。活动的目标是(1)保证每个人都知道其他团队在干什么,以促进互相帮助,以及(2)让创始人开始思考:如何跟他人介绍自己的工作。当然,在这个阶段创始人应该集中精力做产品,因此我们建议大家不要花太多时间在演讲上,同时也不要有太大压力,毕竟除目前这批团队以外,不会有其他观众。

A week before Demo Day we have another event called Rehearsal Day. The format is just like Prototype Day, except now the presentations are supposed to be the first drafts of the startups’ actual Demo Day presentations.
DD前一周,则是另一个叫“彩排日”的活动。形式上和原展差不多,但这次是真的要开始为DD做第一次彩排了。

Towards the end of the cycle we bring in 5 or 6 of the best fundraisers from among the alumni to talk candidly about their experiences and give advice to the startups about what they should do. There is a certain kind of brutal candor only peers can deliver, and if there’s one topic where it’s warranted, this is it.
随着资助期临近结束,我们会从YC校友中邀请五到六位最成功的融资者,来跟大家分享经验以及为团队提供建议。这里弥漫着一种特殊的、只有“同志”之间才有的直率和坦白——只有这一点我可以保证。

The day before Demo Day we run an event called Alumni Demo Day, which has the same format, but is for an audience of just alumni. The goal is to iron the last bugs out of everyone’s presentations in front of a friendly audience.
DD前一天我们会举行“校友DD”,形式和DD一样,但是观众只有YC校友。这个活动的目的在于让一帮善意的观众帮大家把演讲中最后的bug都给挑出来。

Now that there are so many alumni, we can have entire conferences where the speakers and the audience are all YC alumni. This makes it possible to talk about controversial things without worrying they’ll be repeated. These are not part of any specific cycle, but when one occurs during a cycle the startups in it are of course invited.
如今YC校友人数是如此之多,以至于我们可以办一场观众和嘉宾都是校友的完整的研讨会。这允许我们讨论许多具有争议性的话题,而无须担心外传。这类研讨会并不服务于任何一轮资助期,但每当开这种研讨会的时候,当轮的所有团队自然会被邀请参加。


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