How we made $20,000 on Snapchat and got into Y Combinator.

Edit: The snapchat pitch upload has been deleted, but we started our own YouTube channel with daily vlogs from the office. Check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDkana7GS_UDflhBaZ4kvqQ

When Justin Kan started accepting pitches for Y Combinator’s Fellowship via Snapchat, the internet was not amused.

Snapchat was supposed to be a weird place where teenagers sent disappearing pictures they didn’t want backed up to iCloud.

Suddenly, Y Combinator was in the game, and a sliver of snappers would turn to the friendly ghost for semi-choreographed, scrappy, and mildly hilarious startup pitches.

Our startup, Fiix was one of those companies. When we applied to pitch, it was just for kicks, but when we got that golden “Fiix is going on Justin’s Snapchat” email, we were feeling like Charlie.

On our pitch, we pulled out all stops: crazy growth, big $$$, a dope team, and a few impersonations (Drake included). Within the first hour, Justin had more than 2000 viewers watching his story, and throughout the day 500 of them added us on Snapchat.

The following week, Justin’s snapchat fans voted on whose pitch they liked best. A few days later we found ourselves in an interview for the YC Fellowship with Adora Cheung (CEO of Homejoy). We read all the ‘How to get into YC’ Medium posts, did the interview, and were offered a spot in the fellowship the next day.

At 5PM on Tuesday night, the acceptance email went exactly, but not exactly, like:

“Welcome to YC, we need you in Mountain View, California… tomorrow morning

We had to get from Toronto to California for 8:30am the next morning and we were hours away from the nearest airport! So I quickly picked up my laundry bag with a weeks worth of clothes, hopped into the first cab I saw, and bursted towards the airport. We even booked our flights on the cab ride there. At the airport, we learnt that United can sell you seats on Air Canada and confirm your booking, but can only inform Air Canada (or another airline) of the booking after a “2 hour propagation period”. Even if the flight takes off in 2 and a half hours!

We said anything and everything to convince them to let us onto the plane, each co-founder tried a different channel. Zain was talking to WestJet, I was talking to Air Canada, and Arif was talking to customer support on the phone. At some point we were saying things like “there is a man in California that wants to give us a ton of money tomorrow morning, and if you don't let us on this flight our company will go under”. Thankfully, 45 minutes before the flight, AirCanada’s #1 employee (shout-out to Rose at YYZ) let us on.

After an overnight stopover in Vegas (where we obviously didn’t sleep) we made it to the YC headquarters. We heard from the CEOs of Boosted Boards, Quora, and Justin himself.

After everything, YC gave us a $20,000 grant, and too many AWS credits.

But, the story doesn’t end there.

Eric turned out to be a #1 hunter on Product Hunt and helped get us featured on it.

The traffic from Product Hunt was worse than San Francisco to Menlo Park before breakfast. Visitors to the homepage went up 6000%, and we’re still on the free Heroku plan 😂.

It was a hard lesson to learn, but Snapchat isn’t just for bad food pics, it’s a network that turns dreams into reality. YC took it seriously, and we’re finding a lot of smart people, with great ideas on the platform. It feels raw, honest, and fun. For growth hacks, startup life, and A+ content, follow me (kmx411) on snap.

And next time you have any issue with your vehicle, remember Fiix. Or at least visit our website so we can hit you with retargeting ads ;)

About Fiix:

Fiix is a Toronto based organization that provides an affordable, convenient on-demand automotive repair service at your home or office.
Fiix provides fully-licensed, top-rated mechanics who will come to you so you don’t have to waste time at the repair shop. Honesty, trust, convenience, and affordability are at the forefront of our business as we strive to eliminate the hassle of owning a car.
Some of our auto repair services include: tire changes, oil changes, car inspections, brake pad replacements, starter replacements, battery replacements, and more. Visit www.fiix.io for more info and to see our complete list of services.
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