We rejected an invite from YC to join TinySeed S21

I woke up this morning to a call from a YC Group Partner: that's been my dream for a long time. Unfortunately, I had to reject the offer. The good news is: we're joining TinySeed 🌱 S21 batch!

We rejected an invite from YC to join TinySeed S21

15 months ago, at the age of 23, I said to my boss "I don't really enjoy this job anymore, I'd love to quit".

I decided to focus full-time on my two months old side-project: an API to search online-published news articles. I asked my friend Maksym to join me as a part-time CTO.

That's how the NewsCatcher story truly began.

About us

We're two data engineers building the largest database of online-published news articles that is updated in near real-time.

This data helps our clients better understand the market trends, risks, and opportunities. So that they can achieve a competitive advantage.

If you're a developer -> try our Free News API for all the non-commercial use cases.

If you need a demo call, or just want to talk with us -> book a time via this link.

Applying, interviewing, and being invited to the YC

We applied to the YC 3 times. We only got to the interview stage this time.

This winter, we applied for our 3rd time. I have not asked anyone to proofread our application.

Filling in the application, I followed 2 rules:

  • write as simple as possible
  • only write about the things you do know and do have an in-depth understanding

Interview invite!

Last Monday, we had our interview. We did only about 2 hours of preparation:

  • we simply listed all the classic questions
  • we re-read our own application
  • no mock interviews at all

Interview time: it didn't go well.

Second interview invite!

Yesterday, we had another chance. This time, we didn't prepare at all.

Interview  time #2: great connection with interviewers, it went really well.

Why we had to reject the YC invite

This morning, I received a call from a YC Group Partner. They wanted to see us in the YC S2021 batch.

We already committed to another accelerator called TinySeed. That's it.

I didn't have a choice but to thank YC, and say that we're not able to join this batch. Doesn't mean we're not going to do this later.

We had 3 accelerators that we were interested in:

We applied to all of them (and only to them). We got an interview invite to all three:

  • we pitched the Alchemist, and received a rejection.
  • we talked to Tracy, Einar, and Rob from TinySeed.
    20 mins session with each one within one week. In ~8 weeks we received an invite to join TinySeed S21. It was a super achievement to us. We slept over this, and we accepted this offer.
  • YC interview invite came 6 weeks after that. We took it already knowing that we won't be joining this batch.

Note: we'd join any of these with a great pleasure. It's like getting your first internship invite from Google. You're just going to accept it even if you have a chance to get into Netflix, or Amazon: they're all good.

Why TinySeed sounds like the best fit for NewsCatcher today

Last summer, I had a call with Kevin Sahin, co-founder of ScrapingBee.

Our discussion was like an amateur talking to a pro: Kevin knew all ins and outs of everything related to ScrapingBee. I wanted to be like him.

That's when I learned about TinySeed: a program that Kevin and Pierre joined a few months ago (at that time).

And, shortly after that, I've been seeing the best promotion of a startup accelerator: ScrapingBee's MoM MRR growth.
ScrapingBee's MRR

What is TinySeed

According to their own website:

TinySeed is not just another venture fund: Our year-long remote accelerator program is designed to help founders with a revenue-generating SaaS optimize product-market fit and grow faster.

For us, there are 3 main benefits of TinySeed:

  1. One year-long remote program
    This is a long-term commitment. For a company at our stage (~$3,000 MRR) this most likely will be the most important year.
  2. It's about growing our business, not a Demo Day
    We are two first-time founders. We've just incorporated. Let us learn the basics of running a company.
  3. We're not yet there to raise VC/angel rounds
    We don't know what we're doing yet: no specific client type, no sector, no business model. We first need to understand what we want to build.  

TinySeed S21

We're excited to join this year batch with such companies as:


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