Frederik Van Lierde

Y Combinator Question 3 + How To Answer: What do we expect the result to be?

This question from Y Combinator gets to the heart of a startup's expectations and desired outcomes. It's about painting a picture of the tangible results that the startup aims to achieve through its efforts, focusing on measurable outcomes and clear goals. Understanding how to address this question can help startups effectively communicate their roadmap and expected impact. Y Combinator Question 3 + How To Answer: What do we expect the result to be?

1. Why Y Combinator Asks This Question

Y Combinator wants to understand not just what problem you solve or aim to solve, but also what specific results you expect to see from your efforts. This question seeks to uncover your benchmarks for success and the metrics you plan to use to evaluate your progress.

It’s a way to check if a startup has realistic expectations and a solid understanding of the impact their solution can have in the marketplace.

2. How to Answer the Question

To answer this question effectively, be specific about what achievements or milestones you expect to reach. Discuss the metrics or KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) you will use to measure these results.

Detail the scale of impact you anticipate—whether it's user growth, revenue, market share, or some other quantifiable measure. This is your chance to show that your goals are grounded in a thorough understanding of your business model and market conditions.

For example, if your startup is developing an educational app, you could talk about the expected increase in user engagement, the improvement in learning outcomes measured by user testing, and the expansion into new educational markets.

3. How NOT to Answer the Question

Avoid vague or non-specific language that doesn’t clearly articulate what success looks like for your startup. Don’t just say "we expect to be successful" or "we hope to have a big impact."

Also, steer clear of overly optimistic or unrealistic results that don’t align with industry standards or what could be feasibly achieved given your current resources and market position.

4. An Example, Based on a Tech Startup

Consider a tech startup, EduTech Innovations, which creates interactive learning platforms for mathematics education. Here’s how they might respond:
  • Expected Results: "Within the first year post-launch, EduTech Innovations aims to onboard over 50,000 active users with a steady month-over-month growth rate of 10%. We anticipate our platform will improve average math test scores among our users by at least 15%, as verified by pre- and post-assessment data. Additionally, we expect to secure partnerships with at least 100 schools across the country to integrate our platform into their curriculum."
  • Measurement: "We will measure our success through user acquisition numbers, engagement rates on our platform, direct feedback from educational institutions, and improvements in test scores reported by users. These metrics will inform our product development and help us refine our approach."
  • Long-Term Vision: "The immediate results we aim to achieve will set the stage for our longer-term goal, which is to become a leading provider of educational technology solutions, expanding our reach internationally and adapting our platform for multiple subjects beyond mathematics."
This approach outlines not only the expected results but also how these results will be measured and the larger vision they contribute to, presenting a comprehensive picture of the startup’s goals and expected impact.