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Y Combinator Funding Application
Winter 2014
Application deadline: 8 pm PST on October 21, 2013.
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 the application because you're relying on a good demo.
Though we don't make any formal promise about secrecy, we will try to
avoid disclosing your plans to potential competitors.
If you're about to answer a question by saying you can't tell us because
the answer is classified or controversial, please tell us instead about an
instance that isn't.
We recommend you save regularly by clicking on the update button at
the bottom of this page. Otherwise you may lose work if we restart the
Your YC username:
Company name:
Company url, if any:
Phone number(s):
Please enter the url of a 1 minute unlisted (not private) YouTube video introducing
the founders. (Instructions.)
YC usernames of all founders, including you, kvogt, separated by spaces. (That's
usernames, not given names: "bksmith," not "Bob Smith." If there are 3 founders,
there should be 3 tokens in this answer.)
kvogt jebagu
YC usernames of all founders, including you, kvogt, who will live in the Bay Area
January through March if we fund you. (Again, that's usernames, not given names.)
kvogt jebagu

What is your company going to make?



Cruise builds a system that inexpensively turns your car into a self‑driving
We constrain the problem by using commodity hardware, proven algorithms
and only solving 90% of driving scenarios‑‑we still leave the trickiest 10% up to
The product is an aftermarket add‑on for certain vehicles that bolts on like a
roof rack. It contains cameras, radar, GPS, and other sensors, and we plan to
build these at a cost of under $3,000 per unit.

If this application is a response to a YC RFS, which one?

For each founder, please list: YC username; name; age; year of graduation, school,
degree and subject for each degree; email address; personal url, github url,
facebook id, twitter id; employer and title (if any) at last job before this startup. Put
unfinished degrees in parens. List the main contact first. Separate founders with
blank lines. Put an asterisk before the name of anyone not able to move to the Bay
kvogt; Kyle Vogt; 28; (MIT EECS);;; Founder
jebagu; Jeremy Guillory; 32; 2011, UT Austin, MS mechanical engineering;;, github url [none],,; founder, 3 Day

Please tell us in one or two sentences about the most impressive thing other than
this startup that each founder has built or achieved.
kvogt: Built various devices that were the first ever to crack certain kinds of
high‑security safes. One can even open the "unbeatable" X‑09 lock currently in
use on DoD safes. This is one of them:
jebagu: I helped to build a self‑driving car. My team finished alongside
Stanford and Carnegie Mellon to finish the 2007 Grand Challenge: Networked my way into Founder's Fund F50,
reportedly the most exclusive tech conference ever.

Please tell us about the time you, kvogt, most successfully hacked some (non­
computer) system to your advantage.



Due to a weird California law, I couldn't apply for a real estate license since I
dropped out of MIT and hadn't earned a college degree. I was told I'd need to
earn my degree or spend two years as an apprentice. Neither of those options
worked for me since I was busy with
So, I found a way to get a brand new Bachelor's degree by spending just four
weeks on actual coursework. I now hold a degree in Information Technology
(basically just how to install Windows).
The loophole was to use a competency‑based online university (take the test,
pass the class, repeat) rather than a semester‑based university.
Amusing side note: I am both an MIT dropout and a college graduate.

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.
We haven't worked together on any other projects, but it turns out we have
competed against each other twice. Once about ten years ago when building
fighting robots (Battlebots, on Comedy Central) and more recently during the
DARPA self‑driving car challenges.
Self‑driving cars:

How long have the founders known one another and how did you meet? Have any of
the founders not met in person?
We met in early October 2013 after being introduced by Danielle Fong (Chief
Scientist, LightSail Energy).

Why did you pick this idea to work on? Do you have domain expertise in this area?
How do you know people need what you're making?



Self‑driving car technology has so many positive effects on society that it
sounds absurd when you start to list them (but I will anyway). It can reduce
carbon emissions and oil consumption, unluck billions of hours of lost
productivity, save hundreds of billions of dollars lost due to auto accidents, and
save tens of thousands of lives. I can't think of many other ways to have this
kind of impact on the world.
We have both built self‑driving cars before. Kyle built a wifi‑controlled Ford F‑
150 at MIT. Jeremy built the LIDAR sensor systems for Graymatter Inc, the first
company ever to raise venture capital to build self driving cars. We personally
know many of the smartest people working on this stuff (it's a small circle) and
we will get them on our team.
People want this technology. A study by KPMG shows car buyers are willing to
pay a 20‑25% premium for a vehicle that can drive itself. But people also really
*need* this technology. One million people are injured in car accdients in the
US every year and 33,000 of them don't survive. 90% of those accidents can be
attributed to driver error, so this technology will save thousands of lives.

What's new about what you're making? What substitutes do people resort to because
it doesn't exist yet (or they don't know about it)?
1) It costs at least an order of magnitude less than what is being built today.
2) It's designed to work on existing cars.
Americans drive 37 miles per day on average. They sometimes drive while
texting, drive while intoxicated, or simply drive while being distracted. People
seem to be trying really hard to do other things instead of driving, but so far
there aren't many good ways to accomplish this.
Some newer vehicles have advanced cruise control systems that keep the
vehicle in the lane during ideal highway driving situations, but drivers aren't
supposed to do anything else or even take their eyes off the road. This seems
like a band‑aid solution.

Who are your competitors, and who might become competitors? Who do you fear
Google currently has the most impressive self‑driving cars. Elon Musk has
announced Tesla's plans to have cars that drive 90% of the time in 3 years.
Most major auto manufacturers have already demonstrated self‑driving R&D
prototypes and have partnered with various universities. OEM's like Bosch and
Continental have large teams working on self‑driving technology that could end
up in future generations of new cars.
We are most afraid of Google. Their systems potentially have access to
Streetview and Maps data, which is extremely hard to replicate. Their current
technology is too expensive to sell directly to consumers, and their
commercialization strategy is unclear, but those things could change very



What do you understand about your business that other companies in it just don't
1) First‑mover in this market will gain a large advantage in datasets, maps and
branding. We aim to be that first mover.
2) The best way to differentiate a car is with new technology (like self‑driving
systems). Existing car companies are adept at charging more money for leather
and chrome, but that approach is pretty much dead.

How do or will you make money? How much could you make? (We realize you can't
know precisely, but give your best estimate.)
We will make money by selling and installing our equipment on existing
vehicles. Over time, more of our revenue will come from subscriptions fees.
J.D. Power surveyed 17,000 drivers in 2012 and found that 20% would
"probably" or "definitely" buy self‑driving technology in their next vehicle at an
estimated market price of $3k.
If that survey is even remotely representative of the rest of the country, those
drivers who are ready to buy today will create at least a $100 billion market in
the US alone.

If you've already started working on it, how long have you been working and how
many lines of code (if applicable) have you written?
We have been working for about two weeks (started roughly mid October).

How far along are you? Do you have a beta yet? If not, when will you? Are you
launched? If so, how many users do you have? Do you have revenue? If so, how
much? If you're launched, what is your monthly growth rate (in users or revenue or
In our first two weeks, we've already met with many of the smartest people in
the industry to learn everything we can about what's already been done. We've
acquired an Audi S4 (has electromechanical steering + looks cool) to use as our
demo car, and have started fitting it with cameras and drive‑by‑wire
We hope to have a demo ready it by Demo Day, but it will be just a demo. We
are not launched, and don't plan to until after raising much more money. This
is a capital‑intensive business.

If you have an online demo, what's the url? (Please don't password protect it; just
use an obscure url.)



How will you get users? If your idea is the type that faces a chicken­and­egg
problem in the sense that it won't be attractive to users till it has a lot of users (e.g.
a marketplace, a dating site, an ad network), how will you overcome that?
There's already quite a bit of buzz around self‑driving cars, but nothing is on
the market yet. This has created an enormous $100 billion shadow demand
that we'll tap into once we launch.

If you're already incorporated, when were you? Who are the shareholders and what
percent does each own? If you've had funding, how much, who from, and at what
valuation or valuation cap?
Cruise Automation, Inc. is a Delaware C corp created in September 2013.
50/50 split between Kyle and Jeremy. $100K convertible note from Kyle.

If you're not incorporated yet, please list the percent of the company you plan to
give each founder, and anyone else you plan to give stock to. (This question is as
much for you as us.)

If you have already participated or committed to participate in an incubator,
"accelerator" or "pre­accelerator" program, please tell us about it.

If we fund you, which of the founders will commit to working exclusively (no school,
no other jobs) on this project for the next year?
All of them.

For founders who can't, why not? What level of commitment are they willing to



Do any founders have other commitments between January through March 2014

Do any founders have commitments in the future (e.g. finishing college, going to
grad school), and if so what?

Where do you live now, and where would the company be based after YC?

Are any of the founders covered by noncompetes or intellectual property
agreements that overlap with your project? Will any be working as employees or
consultants for anyone else?

Was any of your code written by someone who is not one of your founders? If so,
how can you safely use it? (Open source is ok of course.)

Are any of the following true? (a) You are the only founder. (b) You are a student
who may return to school when the next term starts. (c) Half or more of your group
can't move to the Bay Area. (d) One or more founders will keep their current jobs.
(e) None of the founders are programmers.
(Answering yes doesn't disqualify you. It's just to remind us to check.)




If you had any other ideas you considered applying with, please list them. One may
be something we've been waiting for. Often when we fund people it's to do
something they list here and not in the main application.
Turbotax for mortgages
DNS for snail mail
Github for CAD

Please tell us something surprising or amusing that one of you has discovered. (The
answer need not be related to your project.)
I spent a week as a tourist in Iceland and never had to touch a piece of physical
currency. It was amazing. Everyone took debit cards.
Yet I still have to fumble through my pocket for some wadded up dollar bills to
get across the Bay Bridge.


(Clicking on update doesn't submit your application; it just saves it to