Venture capital firm Y Combinator, which many call the world's most powerful startup incubator, has decided to hear pitches from young entrepreneurs using a rather unconventional platform: Snapchat, the mobile video and picture sharing app that has taken the world by storm.
Justin Kan, a partner with the firm and a very successful entrepreneur in his own right, announced on his website that Y Combinator will be holding a Snapchat takeover pitch competition. During this week-long pitching extravaganza, selected founders will be able to take over Kan's Snapchat channel and record a series of videos (in the mere 10-second increments Snapchat allows) in an attempt to convince him, his team and the public why they should be given startup funding.
TechCrunch reported this innovative competition stems from a new Snapchat trend in which venture capitalists are using their own channels to offer advice to entrepreneurs.
Kan wrote that he has spent the past four months playing around on Snapchat, which he described as "a pretty fun medium: low friction enough to easily create content, but dynamic enough to share things that are educational and entertaining."
According to USA Today, Kan's goal is for the winners of this contest to be high school students, which is why he has decided to run it through Snapchat, so he can meet the kids where they already are.
"The audience we want to find is on Snapchat, and not Facebook or Twitter," Kan told USA Today. "It's what the kids are using."
How the contest works
First, companies have to apply to be a part of the competition. Those chosen will get the opportunity to take over Kan's Snapchat channel for one hour to make their pitch. The videos will then be posted online and viewers can vote on who they believe the winning startup should be (though Y Combinator has full discretion to choose a different winner than the public if it wants to). The selected winner will receive an interview with Y Combinator and the opportunity to obtain a $20,000 investment.
The takeovers will run from May 23 to May 26. Kan acknowledged that this competition is indeed an experiment, so it stands to be known whether it will really work well.
If this competition does succeed, perhaps it will inspire more venture capitalists to get creative and start searching for the next big thing through unconventional mediums. Who knows, maybe soon pitching through Snapchat and other similar platforms won't even seem abnormal.
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