Before FamilyLeaf, Here’s The Sports Site Pitch That Got The Team Into Y Combinator

Next Story

A Chicken In Every Pot And An Open-Source Tricorder In Every Home

Do you want to get a slot in the next batch of Y Combinator startups? Are you curious about what the founders chosen for the program did to get there? If your answer is yes to either of those questions, then read on.

Today, FamilyLeaf — a kind of “Facebook for families — and one of the companies that presented earlier this week during the Demo Day, decided that they would make public the application that they submitted for the program.

The reason, co-founder Wesley Zhao tells me, is two fold. One is to help other applications. “We’ve already shown some of our friends this to help them so we figure everyone else could benefit.” And some good old startup-style PR. “This will boost awareness for FamilyLeaf as well.”

A few things stand out, and for founders might not come as a surprise:

The company originally had nothing to do with families, or a “Facebook of” anything. It was an idea called AthleteNet, and its aim was to help sports teams, and individual athletes, increase their online profiles. (“We worked on the sports idea (actually built and began selling it) but after a few more discussions with some executives at top sports software companies we began to see how small the market size actually was and how fragmented it was too,” Zhao says.) Not sure how many change so fundamentally but it does go some way to explaining the newest YC offering: applying without an idea.

These guys are grafters (definition 3 in this case). Before this application, they ran a slightly kooky, ultimately successful, Twitter campaign to catch Y Combinator’s attention. And they’ve figured out a pretty simple way of getting free food.

They have a mini track record in startups already. In their case, a venture around gift cards. “Our business this summer was AvantCard, an exchangeable branded gift card that we billed as a better alternative to your everyday gift card for most gift card givers.”

I wrote about FamilyLeaf the other day in more detail here. You might be interested to know that they are already talking to people for investment. “There is a lot of interest causing things to move a lot faster than expected. And we have been talking to a number of angels and firms,” says Zhao.

So, you can see their YC application here. And a video of their Demo Day presentation here.