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How to Pitch Your Idea to Silicon Valley
Sean: How were you able to get connected with venture capitalists in Silicon Valley?
Jason: One very funny story. You just have to apply online, and it is also quick and easy. I think there are a lot of people who also applied to Y Combinator. Just send your application and then they will get back to you. You just need to return back their questionnaires and eventually they will call you. Like, for example, for me, when I started Pushcart, I applied for Y Combinator. They sent me their schedule, and the call is usually just 5 minutes. And then they would ask you questions if they decide to let you fly out to Silicon Valley or to meet with them in San Francisco. So eventually I got the green light and I flew in. They just called me and asked me a few questions. Then they got back to me after 24 hours. I cannot believe that within that 5-minute long call, they will let you fly into Silicon Valley, all paid for by Y Combinator.
Jason: And they said, ‘Josh, are you free to fly next week?’ Then you wonder ‘am I really ready to fly next week? Do you have the papers? Do you have the mindset? Are you prepared to fly? So eventually I was able to fly to Silicon Valley, and the next week I brought my co-founder. We eventually got interviewed by four of the panels in Y Combinator. Just from that aspect alone, they will connect you to a lot of investors now. They even connected us to one of the investors of YouTube. And these are very good people who also have deep connections in the Philippines.
Sean: Wow. Interesting. So it’s just really one email, right? Just doing it you know – just showing up.
Jason: Yeah, just showing up. Just apply for it and pitch your idea. They won’t contradict you. They will just listen to you. You just need to put in that effort.
Sean: Got it. Got it. I want to rewind a little bit and talk about Tesla. So let’s go back to the past, so what happened there? What were you feeling and how fast did you have to pitch your idea there?
Jason: Honestly less than 5 minutes. They just asked me a few questions and they said ‘okay. I’m good. I like your startup.’ – that’s how fast it went through.
Jason: It was – maybe it’s because we’re backed up we were introduced to the right people, especially coming from the Y Combinator people. If they introduce you, they recommend it. It was just really quick, it’s like you will have the proof of confidence.
Sean: Wow. And how did it proceed? So you got the ‘yes,’ from the investor and from Y Combinator. How did it get all the way to here? How did they provide the funds, the mentorship and how did they connect you to the people they know here, and what happened afterward?
Jason: Y Combinator was at the stage of being interviewed. So we weren’t able to join the program, but eventually, they were very supportive. As in every quarter, they will get back to us. So even if you don’t get into it, they will provide you support.
Sean: Got it. Got it. Amazing. And that’s very valuable, especially when you’re starting out?
Jason: Yes, yes. Because you will have that connection, you will have that network. At least you’ve gone to that round, you were able to experience it and you were able to tap the right people for your business.