Organization url, if any:
If you have a demo, what’s the url? For non-software, demo can be a video.
(Please don’t password protect it; just use an obscure url.)
Describe your organization in 50 characters or less.
Civic engagement platform for youth
What will your organization do?
The organisation looks to positively impact the economic, social & political outcomes of the youth of the state. Organisation will continuously look to bring together individuals (patrons, volunteers) who have a desire and the ability to contribute to the development of the state — to leverage technology to engage them & to tap into their cognitive surplus to collectively create public goods.
The development of any state is deeply linked to how best it develops its human capital and particularly the youth. Organisation will look to engage the the youth to stay back, contribute to the development of the state, get involved in policy making and assume leadership positions. We believe that what we have in society today is a crisis of leadership and the organisation will work towards addressing that.
Voice of youth is not represented in policy and leadership. Youth has risen into an economic power, but not into the proportionate social and political influence. A case in point being that the youth constitute 33% of the state but the number of legislators that represent this audience in our 144 strong state legislature is insignificant if not non existent. We look to fix this anomaly and to democratise opportunities for civic participation.
Which category best applies to your organization?
Where do you live now, and where would the organization be based after YC?
Cochin, Kerala, India
Email address of the founder who is filling out this application:
Please enter the url of a 1 minute unlisted (not private) YouTube video introducing the founders. (Follow the Video Guidelines.)
Please tell us about an interesting project, preferably outside of class or work, that two or more of you created together. Include urls if possible.
How long have the founders known one another and how did you meet? Have any of the founders not met in person?
How far along are you?
Early validation. We are at the phase of doing things that don’t scale. We have manually recruited our first set of patrons (~100) and volunteers (~200). We also have few of our projects running — the Opportunity project, the Alumni project & the ENT101 project.
The Opportunity project (https://wiki.rethinkfoundation.in/Opportunities) is where our priority focus is now. The project impact spans the students of the top 25 engineering colleges in the state (~40,000 students). To cite an instance of the validation of our approach and our frameworks, our 33 students now constitute 15% of the scholarships offered by GHCI this year — two years back in 2015, this number of students from Kerala who were awarded GHCI scholarship was 6. One of our students being awarded the Google Panchapakesan Memorial Scholarship is also a validation of the frameworks & the methodology that we adopt.
I am also methodically building out the team. I have my initial team of 3 core members in place. We also have a functional office space of about 1000 square feet.
How long have each of you been working on this? Have you been part-time or full-time? Please explain.
I have been working on this in my individual capacity and on a full-time basis for 3 years now — ever since I moved out of my Startup Village role. The underlying philosophies and principles formed during my years at Startup Village (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Startup_Village) which then got refined over the course of years post that. The organisation was only officially registered a few months back on the 25th of April, 2017.
Which of the following best describes your progress?
How many active users or customers do you have? If you have some particularly valuable customers, who are they?
Our active users are our initial set of patrons, volunteers and the audience that we work with in the top 25 engineering colleges of the state. Among these, the particularly valuable customers are the students that have already been recipients of scholarships (34) as a direct result of our engagements with them.
Do you have revenue?
What was your revenue in the last full calendar month?
(Please use USD. If none, enter ‘0’)
Your revenue 2 months ago?
Your revenue 3 months ago?
Your revenue 4 months ago?
Your revenue 5 months ago?
Your revenue 6 months ago?
Do you generate direct program revenue or does it comes from donors? If both, what’s the split?
We don’t generate direct program revenue. All revenue comes from donors. All donors are our patrons.
How much money do you spend per month?
How much money does your company have in the bank now?
How long is your runway?
(e.g. 5 months)
Practically 15 months — till end of 2018. Theoretically — infinite & self-perpetuating.
If you’ve applied previously with the same idea, how much progress have you made since the last time you applied? Anything change?
If you have already participated or committed to participate in an incubator, “accelerator” or “pre-accelerator” program, please tell us about it.
Why did you pick this idea to work on? Do you have domain expertise in this area? How do you know this is going to work?
During my tenure at Startup Village I realized the kind of impact it really made. A lot of my deep sense of conviction comes from then. From humble beginnings we got to a point where we shaped the policies of the state. In a state where people were considering whether entrepreneurship will be accepted, we brought about a cultural shift in the way people looked at the concept to the point of where the government made a commitment of 100M$ to develop the sector and we actively handcrafted and played the role in bringing into life the entire thing.
My domain expertise is a function of my body of work and my deep relations that I enjoy with stakeholders across the spectrum and the unfair advantage I bring to the table.
I know this is going to work because I have experienced firsthand how much just exposure, information and a supportive community went on to create the disproportionate impact. We have early validation also based on the activities we have undertaken — we have been able to capture the imagination of the audience that we work with and strike a resonance with them. And even if I didn’t know this for sure, if this is all it takes to bring about a cultural change in our society, I don’t see any reason why it should not be pursued.
What’s new about what you plan to do?
How we are leveraging technology (internet, mobile) as a way to power our execution is what is new about what we plan to do. We are actively embracing technology in everything that we do and making it as the central fulcrum of how we are going about building our organisation.
Technology has matured to a stage where it allows society to operate in a participatory democracy model and the youth are the forefront of the adoption of technology. We are looking to bring about a paradigm shift in perspective by getting the youth to actively engage in policy, governance and civic leadership leveraging technology. We believe then that this engaged and committed youth, will provide leadership to the state to move into the 21st century and embrace fully the opportunities & the possibilities that it offers.
Have you incorporated, or formed any legal entity (like an LLC) yet?
What kind of entity and in what state or country was the entity formed?
(e.g. Delaware C Corp)
Section 8 company (Non profit), Kerala, India
If you’re already incorporated, when were you? If you’ve had funding, how much and from whom?
Date of incorporation: April 25th 2017.Total funding of 1500 USD till dateRest of the expenses till date have been met through my personal savings
Have you obtained your 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status yet?
Please provide any other relevant information about the structure or formation of the company.
We will soon be filing 12A and 80G which will accord our organization with the tax exemption status.
If you had any other ideas you considered applying with, please list them. One may be something we’ve been waiting for.
Please tell us something surprising or amusing that one of you has discovered.
(The answer need not be related to your project.)
I was equally proud and appalled at the extent and the ease with which we got policies of the State. It was surprising or amusing that someone like me, who didn’t even understand that I was working on policy back then, could actually influence so much when it came to Government policy (or someone like me should not have been able to influence policy so easily rather). While it reminded me of the Steve Jobs message that the thing that we have around us called life was built by people no smarter than us, I was appalled to see the incompetence and callousness of the have been entrusted with drafting policies & safeguarding our interests.
What convinced you to apply to Y Combinator?
It was a fairly straight forward decision which didn’t require any convincing. Y Combinator is an organisation I have been following for quite sometime now. I have also seen the way the organisation has shaped up and the underpinning philosophies and principles. Things like Y Combinator’s deep interest in democracy and transparency are particularly the ones that deeply resonates with me.
With Startup Village, my interest in figuring out the non profit sector grew and further deepened during my IVLP (International Visitor Leadership Program) of Department of State, USA. The theme of the IVLP cohort that I was part of was “Influential voices: getting youth involved in policy”. It is somewhere around the same time that I started noticing YC also developing an interest in the non profits. Furthermore, the kind of organisations that YC has backed as part of the non profit program are some of the organisations that I have been either looking up to and / or have been looking to emulate (ACLU, DemocracyOS etc).
How did you hear about Y Combinator?
Word of mouth