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Ask HN: Is there a $15k penalty for not accepting YC's offer to join?

I was looking at startup school's rules for being eligible for the $15k they will give out to some founders/companies who complete it.

The rules state: Additionally, to be eligible companies must apply to Y Combinator’s core program by completing the application on our website, located at ycombinator.com. Applicants who are accepted to the core program will not be eligible for the $15K grant.


In a sense if you are deemed good enough for the grant and then accepted but then don't accept the YC offer to join, you also seem to lose the $15k?

13 pointsbruceb posted 4 months ago8 Comments
gervu said 4 months ago:

There is no "but you're good enough for the grant if you're good enough for the core" or "lose the 15k" or whatever. It's not there to be an independent program, it's there so they can cover bets they otherwise lack the space to engage.

Think about it in terms of logistics.

They go over applications, which are attached to core program applications, so they decide who to accept, then they grab the pile that was good but couldn't fit and award grants to some of those that sent the auxiliary application for a grant. Then they send award letters for both.

After they've sent letters, whose grant do you propose they retroactively deny to make room for someone who got the main prize but changed their mind about accepting it and just wants money?

They could hypothetically set it up so you could pick one, but that adds a bunch of extra work to administer it, plus you'd get people trying to game the process by sending in core program apps they don't intend to follow through on. So it doesn't make any sense for them to do it that way.

said 4 months ago:
vikramkr said 4 months ago:

I don't think it is a penalty, you arent asked to pay anything. From how I read that, if you are accepted into the main program, then you are not considered anymore for the 15k grant and are out of the running for that - it just becomes irrelevant. It's not that you get 15k, then get in, then get the 15k taken away from you. You won't even be considered for the grant.

bruceb said 4 months ago:

You not asked to pay anything. But here are the 4 possible outcomes from completing startup school and trying for the $15k:

1. Go through it, apply for core, don't get accepted don't get $15k

2. Go through it, apply for core, don't get accepted to core but get $15k

3. Go through it, apply for core, get accepted to core, enter core, don't get $15k (but get more money, with strings)

4. Go through it, apply for core, get accepted to core, decline core, don't get $15k

Point is if you are accepted in to the core program then clearly you are good enough to get the $15k. But if you decide to NOT enter the core program, they seem to pull that $15k which clearly you are good enough for.

For some startups, they might actually prefer the no strings $15k over the more money and network but giving up equity.

Now of course YC is not obligated to give anyone $15k. But it seems they are pulling the $15k which they consider you at least good enough for, if you don't accept their terms. Which is again their right, though should be clear.

vikramkr said 4 months ago:

From their perspective if they think you are far enough along for the core, you might be too good for the grant. I think the aim is to support those marginal companies that just need a bit of a push to become investment ready, not the companies that are already good enough to raise from YC.

davismwfl said 4 months ago:

No, I read this that if you are accepted to YC accelerator you will get the $150k (or whatever it is) but not the $15k in addition to the $150k. If you are not accepted into YC and only into startup school then it is the $15k assuming you meet all the other criteria.

Does that make more sense?

bruceb said 4 months ago:

It might be me being legalistic, but technically it says accepted, not accepted and enter. I think because they mandate you apply to the core program, that I am wondering about the technicalities.

I get that if you do enter the core program, you don't also get the $15k, that makes sense.

said 4 months ago: