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s2013 application: dmor (late) dmor's vote:
Your YC username: dmor Company name: Referly Company url, if any: http://www.refer.ly Phone number(s): 4256987497 Please enter the url of a 1 minute unlisted (not private) YouTube video introducing the founders. (Instructions.)
YC usernames of all founders, including you, dmor, 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.) dmor kmorrill SparksZilla YC usernames of all founders, including you, dmor, who will live in the Bay Area June through August if we fund you. (Again, that's usernames, not given names.) dmor kmorrill SparksZilla What is your company going to make? The leading resource investors use to determine the health and value of private companies. This is the Bloomberg terminal for a growing pool of non-public companies receiving investment through platforms like FundersClub, AngelList and Kickstarter. Long term we could offer a data product in the Bloomberg/Dow Jones/Morningstar territory plus a media/analyst business competing with Gartner/Forrester. Both models have expensive subscription- based models paid for by enterprise customers.
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 Area.
dmorrill;; Danielle Morrill;; 27;; 2003, Bainbridge High School, high school diploma;; firstname.lastname@example.org;; http://www.daniellemorrill.com, https://github.com/dmorrill, daniellemorrill, daniellemorrill;; Twilio Head of Marketing kmorrill;; Kevin Morrill;; 34;; 1997, Shorecrest High School (University of Washington bachelors undeclared);; email@example.com;; NA, http://www.github.com/kmorrill, kmorrill, mistermorrill;; HelloFax Software Developer SparksZilla;; Andy Sparks;; 23;; 2011, Ohio State University, B.A. Globally Informed Entrepreneurship;; firstname.lastname@example.org;; http://andysparks.co, https://github.com/AndySparks, SparksZilla, SparksZilla;; LaunchGram CEO/Cofounder
Please tell us in one or two sentences about the most impressive thing other than this startup that each founder has built or achieved. Danielle - Twilio developer community of 100K+ users, company valuation > $100M before I left Kevin - building the core developer tools in Windows used by over 5M developers, running apps for over 400M users Andy - started 2 micro-breweries before he turned 21
Please tell us about the time you, dmor, most successfully hacked some (non-computer) system to your advantage. Kirsty sent out an email letting us know about a house available to rent for YC companies, and asked us to email the owner. I saw a phone number in the original mail and decided most people in YC were oriented toward doing everything online and would default to doing what they were told and using email. I called the landlord and within 40 minutes we had an offer on the house, toured the same day, and signed the lease the next morning.
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 co-hosted a bunch of parties over the summer at the old Referly house, but other than that, it's been all Referly/LaunchGram since we met.
How long have the founders known one another and how did you meet? Have any of the founders not met in person?
Danielle and Kevin will be married 6 years in August, and have known each other since 2005. We met over an email list in 2004, Kevin blew me off, and we random reconnected in a Seattle restaurant a year later. Danielle and Andy met a little over two years ago at a bar in Austin, Texas during South by Southwest and had a late night marathon conversation about fantasy novels and historical fiction. Of the hundreds of people Danielle met at the event, she remembered him. When Andy moved to the Bay Area to pursue his company full time Danielle became an advisor and helped get them into the 500 Startups accelerator program. When he literally had less than $20 to his name she made him 3000 calorie sandwiches because he refused to borrow money. Kevin and Andy met through Danielle and spent a lot of time together during the summer of 2012 when the Referly house was down the street from the LaunchGram house. They share a love for cigars and long talks under the stars.
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? When I was a kid (2001) I worked for my Dad and I used Morningstar everyday to crunch numbers and produce reports. I had a love/hate relationship with it, loving the data but wishing we could make something even better. Until 2009 I was Editor in Chief for Seattle 2.0 (http://www.seattle20.com) before it was sold to Puget Sound Business Journal, and we made an index of local startups that was quite controversial and got a lot of press coverage and web traffic each month. For a long time I've dreamed of making an index of all startups worldwide, and eventually all privately owned companies. I performed vendor searches for financial custodians for 401k plans (family biz), PR firms, vendors etc. at Twilio. It's a huge pain doing this research and turning to analyst reports is an expensive solution which doesn't include most smaller companies. I have been meeting with people to understand what they'd user this for. So far, I have heard interest from VCs/angels for investment decisions, senior executives for buying decisions, and individuals for employment decisions. I think with the creation of Funders Club, Kickstarter and many more new exchanges for private company liquidity there is a need for better sources for due diligence.
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)? The fastest growing companies are increasingly non-public and rely on totally different metrics than firms like Bloomberg or Morningstar offer. Today VCs do their own analysis to figure out who the hot firms are, we expect to commoditize some of that. People rely on expensive ($15k/quarter minimum) analyst services like Gartner & Forrester in big companies, but I think for the most part we are competing with handmade and researched spreadsheets.
Who are your competitors, and who might become competitors? Who do you fear most? Crunchbase, Forrester, Gartner, Bloomberg, StartupStats.com, Dow Jones Business Wire, various business indices, Morningstar
What do you understand about your business that other companies in it just don't get? I'm an insider to small business, not a professional trained journalist or analyst. I have experience trying to create a meaningful footprint for Twilio, so I know where to look for the data to indicate growth and success. Often their are non-traditional ways to do this that require scraping, crawling, and mucking through seemingly disconnected information - but I can see patterns I think other people miss, and I am willing to dig deeper than anyone else because I find it endlessly fascinating.
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 can make money for data subscriptions, analyst reports, custom research and banner advertising on our media properties. Morningstar had $100M net income in 2012 (on $650M revenue), Bloomberg LP had $7.6B in revenue in 2011, Gartner had $165M net income in 2012 (on $1.6B revenue). Based on these benchmarks I believe it is reasonable to build a $100M/year income business in this space.
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've been working on this for about 3 weeks, most of the research is in spreadsheets rather than code at this point. We've written 663 lines of code for scrapers and crawlers to pull various data and process it.
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 both)? Our beta is paid subscription email targeted at private equity investors. We've gotten commitments from 4 people to pay at least $20/month (that's $240 a year - Morningstar charges $195/year).
If you have an online demo, what's the url? (Please don't password protect it;; just use an obscure url.) A very early prototype: http://www.daniellemorrill.com/the-startup-index/
How will you get users? If your idea is the type that faces a chicken-and-egg 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? Direct sales, online media property using our own data to write interesting data-driven content, highly targeted paid advertising.
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, at what valuation(s)?
Incorporated 2012 Danielle Morrill - 72% Kevin Morrill - 20% YC - 7% Eric Ries - 0.5% Dave McClure - 0.5% $1,010,000 convertible note, 12M cap (20% discount)
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.) We have not yet given Andy Sparks equity as a cofounder, we need some advise on this but it will probably be in the 4-10% range.
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 us
For founders who can't, why not? What level of commitment are they willing to make? NA
Do any founders have other commitments between June and August 2014 inclusive? No
Do any founders have commitments in the future (e.g. finishing college, going to grad school), and if so what? No
Where do you live now, and where would the company be based after YC? San Francisco, but we are planning to move back to Mountain View (regardless of whether we are accepted to YC) back into the house we had last summer
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? No
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.) No
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.)
no 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. Twilio for global logistics P2P postal delivery service
Please tell us something surprising or amusing that one of you has discovered. (The answer need not be related to your project.) Andy wants to go to the moon or Mars one day, and he's fine with a one-way ticket.
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