YC helped us with:
Coursework — The basics of starting a company, hiring, fundraising, marketing.
Accountability — You’re forced to deliver results every week.
Branding — YC is cool. It made it easier to hire, sell customers, etc.
Sales Leads — If you sell to startups, YC has a lot of them.
Fundraising — Demo Day allowed us to raise w/o significant traction.
You can get many of these advantages without YC while other aspects of YC have gotten worse from increased batch size and an awkward remote transition.
Here’s how you can do YC Without YC:
Accountability — Write a weekly update. Post projects to Twitter.
Network — Join an early stage startup. Meet interesting people online.
Branding — Write online. Build small, useful products.
Fundraising — From what I’ve heard, the first remote Demo Day failed. Without YC, you can leverage your online presence + network to meet investors.
YC is a victim of their own success. They’ve made it so easy and normal to start a company that some startups don’t need YC.