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Y Combinator Partner Gustaf Alstromer On YC’s India Plans, How Startups Can Growth Hack, And More

Y Combinator Partner Gustaf Alstromer On YC’s India Plans, How Startups Can Growth Hack, And More

Silicon Valley accelerator-investor Y Combinator (YC) these days carried out 2d bankruptcy of its Office Hours in three Indian cities i.E. Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru. Three partners Gustaf Alstromer, Adora Cheung, and Anu Hariharan, spent per week in India carrying out Office Hours and evaluating potential Indian startups for the accelerator application.

During this visit we were given a chance to interact with Gustaf Alstromer, one in every of YC’s most recent companions who joined the accelerator in June this yr. Gustaf has spent four.5 years at AirBnB in which he labored as a Product Lead in the Growth group, a crew he helped start in 2012. Before AirBnB, Gustaf changed into Head of Growth at Voxer, and prior to that, he turned into CEO & co-founding father of Heysan, which turned into a part of the YC W07 batch.

From being YC alumni to an YC partner, Gustaf has come a protracted way in his adventure. Speaking to cft on the sidelines of YC Office Hours in Delhi at Innov8, Gustaf shared his perspectives on how every high-quality organisation starts small but grows to grow to be a rocket ship while it gets its clients to like its product. That he believes only happens while one starts speaking to at least one’s customers, that is something AirBnB started doing after getting into YC, when Paul Graham, co-founder Y Combinator requested them – wherein their hosts were and how frequently they met them?

It’s then AirBnB commenced meeting its hosts, sometimes masquerading as photographers, which led them to talk to their customers and in the end fall in love with their product!

Here are the excerpts from the interplay.

Y Combinator And Indian Startups

cft: What is Y Combinator seeking out in Indian startups?

Gustaf Alstromer: We are not looking for some thing extraordinary in Indian startups than international startups. At this degree, the most crucial things are the founders. The stage at which Y Combinator gets involved in, the handiest component that subjects is that the founders can grow with the enterprise. The idea may change, the markets might alternate but the founders won’t trade. So this is why we have to look at the people.

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And while we observe the people in India, we see founders are solving one of a kind problems than different countries round infrastructure and all styles of matters that are genuine here and now not somewhere else. I suppose India desires to get precisely the same stage of carrier to its clients in all types of verticals and markets that everyone else in the international has. And a good way to show up quicker here than it will show up in different markets due to the fact India is leapfrogging on era by way of using mobile phones. So things received’t take as lengthy right here as in other countries because the infrastructural change thru cell telephones will trade society. Startups received’t watch for the center kind of enjoy. They can be building products directly for the equal kind of carrier enjoy as in US.

cft: What differentiates YC from the other worldwide accelerators entering India?

Gustaf Alstromer: I can’t touch upon what different accelerators do but I assume the way Y Combinator works these days are consequences of ten years of perfecting the version. Not the whole thing that we do these days, we did, whilst we started out. But we discovered with time what changed into beneficial beginning from Demo Day. And Demo Day is probably the pleasant way to elevate funding in the whole global. I can’t think of a better manner. There are actually more and higher investors at YC’s Demo Day whilst as compared to other demo days of other accelerators.

Secondly, being in Silicon Valley does not come up with insights about the Indian market. But it offers you insights into how to increase merchandise, a way to grow products and hire. The world is speedy converting but I will nonetheless argue that Silicon Valley continues to be the high-quality region to start a business enterprise. And I give examples of that each one the time. For example, I labored at AirBnB. We desired to examine extra about boom. But in case you are in a small metropolis in a small united states, there aren’t that many humans to analyze from. The reality that you may hire from different proper groups is important on your increase and will increase the getting to know curve clearly fast while you are in Silicon Valley. Other international locations gets there; it takes time to get to that degree inside the ecosystem. But you are in no way the great person in Silicon Valley because there may be continually someone else you can analyze from. That just enables you getting better.

cft: When you communicate of different countries, there is China that's usually seen as a competitor to India. So what are differences you have visible among the Indian and Chinese startup surroundings?

Gustaf Alstromer: The similarity is that each India and China are very huge markets. The regular thing about Chinese companies versus other companies is that Chinese organizations generally tend to attention simply on China. Only in the remaining couple of years, Chinese businesses commenced to head overseas and that’s encouraging. I spent some time journeying in China in the closing couple of years and nearly all of the companies that we met with, we had no longer heard of them before we were given there. Because their merchandise had been now not getting used outside of China.

I suppose that can be said of India as properly due to the fact India is likewise a completely massive us of a with a huge marketplace and what founders right here have particular is that they recognize this market nicely as compared to people outside. That’s wherein they have got a massive possibility. For instance, I am from Sweden, and it's miles a small u . S .. So when you have to be a huge organization, you need to focus on other international locations. You simply can’t be in Sweden, you have to be something that is going worldwide. Also, in comparison to China, English is a far extra not unusual language in India which helps the founders interact with cross border organizations without problems.

Growth Hacking For Startups

cft: You were head of boom at AirBnb. What advice might you deliver to startups as a long way as increase hacking or scaling is worried?

Gustaf Alstromer: The maximum essential element is to realize that you have a remarkable product. And that’s what's YC is all about-make something that humans love and find a way to begin measuring that you have a incredible product. You can degree interest, you can degree repeat users and plenty of various things that help you keep in mind that you've got built some thing what people need.

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Once you have carried out that, you try to figure out the way you grow inside the international. The great merchandise have robust word of mouth. People inform their friends, but most products that grow actually huge locate some other manner of developing large. They usually locate some other platform, that can be Google or Facebook or some other platform through which they can develop. Also, specific products have extraordinary approaches of growing that large. But in case you think about a number of the pinnacle merchandise of the arena, very regularly what was vital to their increase was a few different platform. For instance, there are numerous agencies built on top of Google’s SEO engine. Within tour particularly, search engine marketing and seek commercials are very strong drivers. We are looking for most of our solutions on Google, so it enables startups to think strategically about these structures. Similarly some of the quick growing agencies are leveraging Facebook.

Another thing that facilitates startups to develop is understanding their numbers or their data thoroughly. Most growth demanding situations end up sort of an engineering and facts science exercise where you need to inject information technology and engineering to try and develop sincerely big. Because the type of selection which you make at that factor is past what we can make as a human. So we ought to use records to make a number of those decisions.

Also, we have noticed that journey, payments, garage are massive markets. You should picture what may be a large marketplace to develop due to the fact to turn out to be big, you need a huge market.

cft: What are Y Combinator’s plans for India? Are you looking to pick out up more startups from India in some unique quarter, given these days that lot of Indian startups were ordinary in YC in the latest instances?

Gustaf Alstromer: We aren't searching at a selected region, we are simply searching at founders. We spend per week here, and each unmarried day we did Office Hours. I assume we have probable met over a thousand human beings to date. I suppose we've funded close to twenty companies in India and the wide variety maintains on rising, with  batches in the closing two years having the majority of those 20. It’s searching promising for the following interview cycle as properly from assembly these groups. We don’t have another unique plans for India. We could try to make greater Indian agencies be a part of Y Combinator and we assume all of them to move lower back to India. We don’t anticipate them to live in US. As long as that model is working, we can keep with it and we don’t locate any motive to exchange it.

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