This week, hopeful startups all over the world are receiving calls from Paul Graham about the upcoming session of Y Combinator. They’re either being told they’re in or they’re out.
Yesterday we announced one of the accepted startups, Kathryn Minshew’s Daily Muse.
Today, we learned about one that was not accepted.
Change The Ratio founder Rachel Sklar applied with Mark Zuckerberg’s little sister, Arielle, to the accelerator program.
On sheer clout alone, the pair seemed like a shoo-in. Sklar is a Techstars NYC mentor and was Editor-at-Large at Mediaite. Zuckerberg is a computer science major in her early 20’s. She has a solid job as a junior product manager and has a number of impressive internships under her belt.
Of course, she’s also the younger sister of the world’s youngest billionaire.
Despite their easily recognised names and impressive list of credentials, Sklar and Zuckerberg did not receive a Y Combinator interview.
It sounds like the pair applied without a well-polished prototype, which may have hurt their chances. Sklar had written a long blog post about how more women should apply to the startup accelerator and wanted to walk the change-the-ratio-walk.
“I wrote this post exhorting women to apply to YC – with whatever they had – because you don’t get 100% of the things you don’t apply for,” Sklar tells us. “I can’t talk the talk and then not walk the walk – my post made sense to me, too. So I applied.”
She reached out to her former Mediaite intern, Zuckerberg, about applying and the two whipped up a submission.
When we asked Sklar how long the pair had been working together she replied, “Arielle and I have known each other since mid-2009 when we launched Mediaite. She’s awesome. We stayed in touch. We touch base and had often chatted about eventually working on something together. This seemed like a good time to reopen that conversation. We are excited about building something together. This was an awesome catalyst. It’s still early in the process. “
A startup’s concept trumps a founder’s clout over at Y Combinator, it seems. While Sklar and Zuckerberg say their submission was sincere, their concept may have been a little premature for Graham’s liking.
If Sklar and Zuckerberg are 100% dedicated to a startup, there’s no doubt they’ll be rockstar entrepreneurs. Zuckerberg is apparently quite the individual in her own right and makes it a point not to use her older brother to achieve things.
Numerous people who have worked with Arielle told us “she is a great girl” who is “incredibly bright.” Our very own Glynnis MacNicol worked with her at Mediaite and called her the “best intern in history.”
“I once asked her to enter a long long list of names into an excel document,” says MacNicol. “Arielle came back and asked me if it was alright if she wrote a program to do it automatically…at which point i told her she should just do what she thought was best at all times.”
While Sklar and Zuckerberg were turned away this time, we’re looking forward to whatever they’re starting together. Despite not being accepted into the program, Sklar hints that this is a startup she and Zuckerberg will still pursue. “We’re not ready to discuss our startup publicly yet,” Sklar tells us. “The application was serious – YC presents any fledgling startup with a great opportunity.”
In the meantime, it’s nice to know that Y Combinator takes every submission, even ones from impressive people, seriously.
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