Office Hours with Kat Manalac

  • February 15, 2017
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Kat Manalac and Craig Cannon go through questions submitted on Hacker News.

To submit a question for Office Hours, send an email to with a few sentences of context and your question.

0:08 – Kat’s intro.

1:24 – I want to start an incubator/accelerator in Ecuador for local founders with global scope. How would you suggest regional office leaders foster entrepreneurship in developing countries?

3:20 – How would you go about starting an incubator in another country?

3:56 – If I know someone who would be great for YC, what’s the best way to connect them to you?

5:11 – I brought my friend onboard as a cofounder seven months back. We haven’t incorporated yet so there’s no paperwork involved.

The first three months were very productive as we both worked on the web app but as soon as I started looking into the business side of things and asked him to concentrate on technology his output has gone down drastically. He hasn’t delivered any new features in the last four months.

Here are the things he told me when asked about his lack of work:
1. Lost motivation but still want to continue working.
2. Not getting enough time to work on startup, we both are still working on our day jobs.

How can I deal with this situation? Letting him go is an option but it is really tough to find a co founder.

7:47 – As a founder of company in the early stages, how should you identify a target customer base and how do you recommend developing a plan to market and sell to them? How do you identify your first customers?

9:30 – I was part of a previous YC batch and didn’t get anywhere meaningful due to a mismatch in team dynamics and, to be honest, a bit of hubris. I think I’ve come away with a new-found perspective and I’d like to reapply to YC and try again, but I’m worried that my past mistakes will reflect poorly on my future potential.

How do you, as investors, view self-inflicted failure?

11:17 – Which are the most common mistakes you have seen first time entrepreneurs and founders make?

14:00 – I’m a solo founder and dream of having cofounders to help drive this forward with me. So, right now I’m not sure if my primary focus should be on building the cofounding team, or if I should remain completely focused on proving this out on a smaller-scale by building a scrappy prototype that proves this concept is viable before building the cofounding team?

15:25 – When should you start recruiting people?

16:09 – We are a platform for moms to connect, facilitate and empower themselves in their journey of motherhood. We are pre-launch. How do we provide the data asked for in most incubator applications?

18:20 – I am looking to apply to YC and the project fits 2 categories of among the “Request for StartUps” categories [AI and Mass Media], Is this ok if the product touches on these areas but is not defined by them specifically?

There is no exact category for product ( it detects forms of hate speech and allows users to “talk back” through various specific tools, using ai, linguistics, and machine learning.

19:26 – Regarding the Diversity RFS, does YC mean the founder is “diverse” or the product is aimed at a “diverse” market? I am “diverse” but the product isn’t particularly aimed at a “diverse” audience.

20:25 – Do you ever let founders take less money (say 60k for 3.5% instead of 120k for 7%)?

20:45 – If the company/person does not have money and is not incorporated yet, how long does it take to get a minimum amount (just so you can deal with the expenses of getting there and being there initially) from YC once you arrive in SV?

21:35 – Do you consider someone who is self-taught and built the prototype herself but does not have a “real” CS background or has ever worked as an “engineer”, a “technical founder”?

22:19 – If you’re a company launching to the press for the first time, what would you recommend doing?

24:45 – Is it ever too early to think about getting press?

25:50 – Do you recommend people become industry experts?

27:17 – What are the three most important prepper skills?

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