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Yc Application

Yc Application

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Published by Lloyd Armbrust

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Categories:Types, Resumes & CVs
Published by: Lloyd Armbrust on Oct 25, 2012
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03/26/2014

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Y Combinator Funding ApplicationWinter 2010Application deadline: 10 pm (PST) October 26, 2009. Please try to answer each question in less than 120 words. We look at online demos only for the most promising applications, so don't skimp on theapplication because you're relying on a good demo. We do usually look at the video. Submitting one greatly improves your chances. Though we don't make any formal promise about secrecy, we will try to avoid disclosingyour plans to potential competitors. We recommend you save regularly by clicking on the update button at the bottom of thispage. Otherwise you may lose work if we restart the server. 
Your YC username:
lloydarmbrust 
Company name:
Seeing Interactive, Inc. 
Company url, if any:
http://seeinginteractive.com/ 
YC usernames of all founders, including you, lloydarmbrust, separated by spaces.(That's usernames, not given names: "bksmith," not "Bob Smith." If the startuphas 3 founders, there should be 3 words in this answer.)
lloydarmbrust jnovek 
YC usernames of all founders, including you, lloydarmbrust, who will live in theBay Area January through March if we fund you. (Again, that's usernames, notgiven names.)
lloydarmbrust jnovek 
What is your company going to make?
A local business directory sold through small-town newspapers. The goal is to integratehyper-local community and business information into a format that users can trust in theirsmall towns.The directory will be branded as the newspaper's own, allowing businesses to update theirinformation, add photos, news, and daily specials. Consumers will be able to comment andreview. Eventually businesses will be able to pick a domain name and template to have afull-fledged website with the ability to sell their products on the internet. Think the Yellowpages plus Yahoo! Merchant Solutions divided by Angie's List. By leveraging trust that small newspapers have with their local advertisers we will create anationwide network of businesses that feels local. 
 
Meanwhile, we automate and streamline every news-delivery task that we possiblycan. The eventual goal is to create an all-encompassing online suite of tools for smallnewspapers: we won't be happy until small, ailing newspapers are able to cut theirworkforce by 30%. Eventually we will provide the tools necessary to abandon print mediaaltogether. 
If this application is a response to a YC RFS, which one?
1 
For each founder, please list: YC username; name; age; year, school, degreeand subject for each degree; email address; personal url (if any); and presentemployer and title (if any). Put unfinished degrees in parens. List the main contactfirst. Separate founders with blank lines. Put an asterisk before the name of anyone not able to move to the Bay Area. 
lloydarmbrust; Lloyd Armbrust; 28; 2006, York College, B.A. English;lloyd.armbrust@gmail.com; lloydmedia.com; and The Texas A&M University System andWeb Developer. jnovek; Jason Novek; 27; 2006, University of Minnesota Duluth, B.S.Computer Science, B.S. Mathematics; jnovek@gmail.com; http://www.jnovek.com/; andSeeing Interactive and CTO. 
Please tell us in one or two sentences about something impressive that eachfounder has built or achieved. 
While running the web department for a small daily newspaper, lloydarmbrust grew page-view traffic by 850% and revenue by 400%--during that process he built a web presencethat won several national awards and accomplished goals that he was told would never workat a small-town newspaper. Nine months after starting his first job, jnovek had to ask his boss for a new set of responsibilities because he had replaced his entire daily routine with a collection of cron jobsand shell scripts. 
Please tell us about the time you, lloydarmbrust, most successfully hacked some(non-computer) system to your advantage.
Our very first customer wanted a contract. This customer is notoriously picky aboutcontract terms, and a bolierplate off the internet wouldn't work. We had just spent about$3k on the incorporation process, and didn't want to drop another $2k on additional lawyerfees. Instead, I spent twelve hours scouring the web for example web-service agreements,random contracts, and a few forms purchased from Legal Zoom. It turns out that lawyersuse code just like hackers -- it felt a bit like learning PHP. Being an English major at heart,it was actually pretty fun.At the end I had a 15-page contract. I paid the lawyer $300 to look it over, hesaid: "Nice. Well written. Where'd you get it?" 
Please tell us about an interesting project, preferably outside of class or work,that two or more of you created together. Include urls if possible.
 
High school produces much that is sub-impressive. One result for us, now 12 years in therunning, was the creation of an international holiday. Mind you, it is only celebrated byabout 100 people--but we have met people outside of our influence, and even from othercountries, who celebrate the day. Observed on Dec. 27th and known as the "twenty-seventh" or "the new day". We createdthe day in response to the nonsensical notion of people being over-excited about the newyear, when in fact it is just another day. Festivities include your standard revelry on theevening of Dec. 26th, followed by the collective singing of Louis Armstrong's renditionof "What a Wonderful World" to bring in the day. 
How long have the founders known one another and how did you meet? Have anyof the founders not met in person?
14 years and we met in high school. Lloyd is a Libra and Jason Pisces--we both enjoy longwalks on the beach, and the gentle sound of the mandolin.
What's new about what you're doing? What are people forced to do now becausewhat you plan to make doesn't exist yet?
Newspapers have been operating under a failed business model for 10 years.We're rebuilding newspapers by creating profitable web products and optimizing their salesprocess with online tools. This both makes money and cuts costs. What's novel is thatwe're saving the newspaper for their relationships with millions of local businesses, andshowing them how to make money again.What are newspapers doing without us? They are dying:http://www.newspaperdeathwatch.com/ and that doesn't include weeklies. Our products makenewspapers money and bring local communities together. 
What do you understand about your business that other companies in it just don'tget? 
While everyone else writes off small newspapers as dead, we think that their tight-knitrelationships with local businesses make them worth saving. Although Google, Yahoo!, and Facebook are big players in advertising none of them havebeen able to forge relationships with small-town businesses in a big way. Those companiesall seem less trustworthy to consumers and less memorable to small business owners thanthe local paper. We take the trust that newspapers have earned with local businesses and use it to sell thosebusinesses our web services. 
Who are your competitors, and who might become competitors? Who do you fearmost?
Not Google or Yahoo. They've both tried to partner with newspapers, and never thought bigenough. Facebook is a definite possibility: their biggest growth right now is coming frombaby boomers. Thankfully Facebook hasn't figured out how a local online community shouldlook, as they seem to think that business information should be displayed in the same wayas profile information. 

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