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How Solo Founders Beat the Odds and Get Into Top Accelerators

Published on March 12, 2013
by Lora Kolodny

Prestigious startup accelerators in the U.S. — like 500 Startups, TechStars and Y Combinator — generally “select against” solo applicants. But why reject entrepreneurs trying to follow in the footsteps of lone founders like Sara Blakely (Spanx), Jack Ma (Alibaba) or Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook)?

“We believe being a single founder is one factor that makes it more difficult to succeed … [because] there is just so much to do at a startup,” said Y Combinator partner Jessica Livingston, who estimates that fewer than 10 percent of companies accepted and funded by the accelerator are led by solo founders. “Also, the moral weight of starting a company can be very hard to bear alone.”

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