Founder’s Campfire: Stanford co-founders turn down Y Combinator and Neo accelerators

Feb. 22, 2024, 1:19 a.m.

Founder’s Campfire is a podcast created and hosted by Tran Le, a senior at Stanford studying computer science. Through reflective conversations with early founders, Le hopes to build a community of founders focused on reflection, sharing and growth, at Stanford and beyond. Whether you’re a founder, dreamer, investor or simply a curious listener, there’s a place for you around the campfire. Join Le as she shares stories, insights, and lessons on entrepreneurship.

In this episode of Founder’s Campfire, Tran Le joins forces once more with her former co-founder, Jason Chao, for an insightful conversation about startup accelerators. Le and Chao (both Stanford CS ’24) were co-founders who applied to the Y Combinator (YC) Winter 2024 batch. Despite receiving offers from both the YC and Neo accelerators, they decided to decline the offers, due to varying personal goals and values.

In this episode, Le and Chao deep dive into the story behind the start-up, from conceptualization to interviews in the accelerator application process and ultimately, to parting ways. They emphasize that its important to understand financial preparation, ensure alignment across co-founder’s values and deconstruct the desire to commit to the startup space long-term.

Despite many shared values, Le and Chao also debate varying viewpoints on how to find co-founders and a startup idea. Across the episode, they hope to advise aspiring founders find insight on how effectively and meaningfully navigate startup accelerator programs.

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