On January 12th, 2010, a catastrophic earthquake struck Haiti and left hundreds of thousands dead and even more homeless. What was international breaking news at the time is now a faded memory for most in the West. However, the recovery is still ongoing and one Atlanta-based nonprofit is committed to helping rebuild Haitian communities by utilizing the power of crowdfunding (check out our previous coverage here). A home supports a security of self, family, health and resources; all fundamental needs that New Story believes are human rights.
We’re delighted to announce that the New Story team were recently accepted to join Y Combinator, arguably the world’s premier startup accelerator. Since 2005, YC has funded over 800 startups and their companies have a combined valuation of over $30B. We chatted with Brett Hagler (CEO and Co-founder) to learn more about his company’s exciting news.
What was the process of being accepted and moving west to be apart of the program?
The application was fairly simple, but it asked some questions that definitely helped us think about our business in new ways. When we got the email about being accepted for an interview, we got on a group call and all of us (Allie, Brett, Matthew) were speechless and laughing out of sheer euphoria. Then the real work began. We heard from alumni that the interview was 10 minutes of fast-paced, intense questioning about all aspects of the business. We prepared a lot.
We then flew to Mountain View and were interviewed by 4 partners for 10 minutes, which felt like 2. One awesome thing YC does is tell founders the day of the interview if they were accepted. While having dinner, we got a call that evening from one of the partners informing us that we were accepted. Again, there was a lot of speechlessness and excited laughter (maybe a few tears). Now the real work begins. We’ve set very high expectations for ourselves and so has YC. We know this is going to be the hardest summer of our lives (starting with the San Francisco real estate battle), but the best part about New Story is that all of our hard work directly equates to lives being changed.
The New Story Team in Haiti
Why did you choose YC?
Setting audacious goals and working tirelessly to achieve them has been a key to our success thus far. So, when considering an incubator, we wanted to work with the best. Y Combinator is the best at what they do: growing startups. Although the acceptance rate can seem intimidatingly low, we prepared ourselves to seize this immense opportunity; that meant reaching out to alumni, doing hours and hours of interview prep, and continuing to show impressive growth throughout the process.
We didn’t even let ourselves discuss other options, because we knew YC was the right fit. For one, they’ve committed to using their resources to help solve large global issues by investing in nonprofits. Plus, their track record of success is unparalleled. YC’s family atmosphere and culture mirrors what we value at New Story.
What you plan to tackle during your time at YC?
Our initial goal for 2015 was to fund 100 homes. Given our recent growth, our confidence in our model, and now, the YC partnership, we’ve decided to put a stake in the ground to fund 100 homes in 100 days. If any individual or company is interested in sponsoring a home, street, or neighborhood ($6000/home) please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.