Sramana Mitra: Tell us a little bit about your company. You’re a venture-funded company in the Bay Area, right?
Jas Grewal: Yes, we are. The company started in 2015. We signed on a couple of pilot customers that we built our initial products around. We were looking at data. We were working incognito for a couple of years just doing a lot of data research. Then we started testing with a couple of customers. We got into YCombinator.
Sramana Mitra: You got into YCombinator after two years of doing your data research and validating with a couple of customers?
Jas Grewal: I was doing the data research as part of my old job while doing my other job. We got into the Valley after officially launching CareSkore for five to six months.
Sramana Mitra: By that time, you already had customers?
Jas Grewal: We had two test customers.
Sramana Mitra: You went into YCombinator with quite a bit of groundwork done.
Jas Grewal: Yes. I did not know that we were more “mature”, but that’s where I wanted to be before applying to YCombinator to make sure that we were selected. They actually had the lowest enrolment rate in our batch. We were among the top five startups in that batch.
What’s interesting about CareSkore is we didn’t meet any investors at all during that time. We just thought that this was a time to sell and build the product. That is what YCombinator also pushes for. We were one of those rare companies who were getting a lot of interest from investors, but we didn’t meet anybody till demo day. Post-demo day, we did our raise.
Sramana Mitra: You did raise Series A after demo day?
Jas Grewal: Exactly. We raised around $4.5 million. We had to say no to a lot of money because we were oversubscribed. Since then, we have been growing really fast. We are one of the fastest growing startups in our batch. From three full-time employees, we are now at 24.
Sramana Mitra: This is something that corroborates with a theory we have in the 1M/1M program. 1M/1M does not take any equity. As a result, we work with very early startups where they have no validation – nothing.
Our guidance to our entrepreneurs who are even interested in going to YCombinator is go after you’ve got validation just like you did. You then get a lot more out of those accelerators. They need to get their equity to work and be valuable so they are looking for companies who are more advanced than less advanced. You had a much better fit. They’re basically operating as little venture funds.
Jas Grewal: Exactly. They are a venture fund now. The interesting thing about what you just said is that the process in people’s mind is, “I have an idea. I’ll get some capital, then I’ll do something.” If you want to do something in the longer term, don’t do it part-time. Do it 100%.