Having run the LAUNCH Festival for almost a decade, and the LAUNCH Incubator for just over a year now (with 27 of 29 startups graduating), I’ve learned a lot about how people are selected for events and incubators.
Not only did I write the book on this kind of thing, starting with my “Ready, Set, Pitch event!” in New York City in 1997, I’m literally writing a book about it right now (book announcement coming soon!).
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In this quick post I’m going to explain to you how the first round of sorting works for incubators like Y Combinator, Techstars and LAUNCH Incubator (which is almost identical for events like DEMO, TechCrunch Disrupt and LAUNCH Festival).
After you apply to an incubator you are put into one of three buckets: NFW, HFS and MAYBE.
Depending on the dealflow of an event or incubator, there are different percentages in each group, but for argument’s sake here is the rough breakdown:
50%: “No f@#$ing way!” bucket
25%: “Holy f@#$ing s@#t!” bucket
Your goal is to be so awesome that one of the reviewers says “Holy f@#$ing s@#t this is cool!” In the past couple of years I’ve had this experience a number of times, including when I saw Mint.com, CafeX, FitBit, Zembula and Yammer.