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:

Aurelius

Aurelius is an all in one space for researchers to organize notes, capture insights, analyze data and share outcomes with your team

CloudForecast, Inc.

CloudForecast eliminates wasted cost in AWS without significant engineering resources. Through easy to understand daily email and Slack reports, engineering teams can quickly react to cost anomalies and mistakes that can often sit for weeks.

Harbor Plan

Harbor Plan is an out-of-the-box sales tool that enables non-tech savvy users to follow-up automatically via email and text message. The software extracts a lead’s contact info as soon as it lands in the user’s inbox, sending a campaign of built-in content until the lead responds or books a consult.

Localyser

Localyser is an online reputation management solution that helps businesses manage all of their reviews from across multiple platforms all from one place. Whether you manage one brand or several, one listing or a chain, our easy to use dashboard allows you to monitor, respond, analyze and also generate more reviews quickly.

MSPCFO

MSPCFO leverages data in a managed services provide’s systems to identify actionable items that can drive growth and stability to the bottom line.

Planifi

Planfi provide’s project & resource planning for architects and engineers. Planifi makes it easy for Design Professionals to plan & schedule projects, forecast project performance and staffing utilization across offices and disciplines.

Rails Autoscale

Rails Autoscale is a Heroku add-on for avoiding app slowdowns and lowering your Heroku bill.

Senior Place

We build a CRM system specifically designed for the rapidly growing Senior Placement and Referral industry.

Zentake

ZENTAKE is a patient intake management tool that improves Medical practices patient interactions with HIPAA compliant electronic forms. Taking the busywork out of collecting patient information, saving time, and improving the patient experience.

Breachsense

Breachsense enables security teams to reset stolen usernames and passwords before criminals exploit them.

CraftyBase

Craftybase is an inventory and bookkeeping package for handmade sellers.

Lasso Analytics, Inc.

Lasso is the all-in-one affiliate marketing plugin for WordPress. Lasso helps you create beautiful product displays, find new affiliate opportunities, and easily manage all of your important links in one place.

Lexgo

Lexgo is the first automated legal service for startups in Latam, enabling founders to complete their legal processes faster and at a fraction of the cost of a lawyer.

Monolith Forensics

Monolith Pro is case, evidence, and lab management software for digital forensics labs and teams.

Postaga

Postaga is an all-in-one link building and outreach platform that helps marketers more quickly and easily drive traffic, increase search rankings, get press coverage, and connect with potential customers. Postaga’s workflow analyzes websites, blog posts, and podcasts to find the best outreach opportunities, retrieve their contact details, and sends them personalized outreach and follow-up emails.

SecurityStudio

Security risk SaaS applications.

Testable

Testable helps behavioral researchers create experiments and surveys in minutes instead of hours or days, using natural language instead of coding. We also help scientists collect better data through our reliable and diverse pool of verified participants.