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10/21/13

https://news.ycombinator.com/w2014form

YCombinatorFundingApplication
Winter2014
Applicationdeadline:8pmPSTonOctober21,2013.
Pleasetrytoanswereachquestioninlessthan120words.
Welookatonlinedemosonlyforthemostpromisingapplications,so
don'tskimpontheapplicationbecauseyou'rerelyingonagooddemo.
Thoughwedon'tmakeanyformalpromiseaboutsecrecy,wewilltryto
avoiddisclosingyourplanstopotentialcompetitors.
Ifyou'reabouttoansweraquestionbysayingyoucan'ttellusbecause
theanswerisclassifiedorcontroversial,pleasetellusinsteadaboutan
instancethatisn't.
Werecommendyousaveregularlybyclickingontheupdatebuttonat
thebottomofthispage.Otherwiseyoumayloseworkifwerestartthe
server.
YourYCusername:
kvogt
Companyname:
Cruise
Companyurl,ifany:
http://www.getcruise.com
Phonenumber(s):
4153774339
Pleaseentertheurlofa1minuteunlisted(notprivate)YouTubevideointroducing
thefounders.(Instructions.)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YLydMAAIJFE
YCusernamesofallfounders,includingyou,kvogt,separatedbyspaces.(That's
usernames,notgivennames:"bksmith,"not"BobSmith."Ifthereare3founders,
thereshouldbe3tokensinthisanswer.)
kvogt jebagu
YCusernamesofallfounders,includingyou,kvogt,whowillliveintheBayArea
JanuarythroughMarchifwefundyou.(Again,that'susernames,notgivennames.)
kvogt jebagu

Whatisyourcompanygoingtomake?

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Cruise builds a system that inexpensively turns your car into a selfdriving
vehicle.
We constrain the problem by using commodity hardware, proven algorithms
and only solving 90% of driving scenarioswe still leave the trickiest 10% up to
you.
The product is an aftermarket addon for certain vehicles that bolts on like a
roof rack. It contains cameras, radar, GPS, and other sensors, and we plan to
build these at a cost of under $3,000 per unit.

IfthisapplicationisaresponsetoaYCRFS,whichone?

Foreachfounder,pleaselist:YCusernamenameageyearofgraduation,school,
degreeandsubjectforeachdegreeemailaddresspersonalurl,githuburl,
facebookid,twitteridemployerandtitle(ifany)atlastjobbeforethisstartup.Put
unfinisheddegreesinparens.Listthemaincontactfirst.Separatefounderswith
blanklines.PutanasteriskbeforethenameofanyonenotabletomovetotheBay
Area.
kvogt; Kyle Vogt; 28; (MIT EECS); kyleavogt@gmail.com;
https://github.com/kvogt; Founder Justin.tv/Socialcam/Twitch
jebagu; Jeremy Guillory; 32; 2011, UT Austin, MS mechanical engineering;
jeremy.guillory@gmail.com; www.jebagu.com, github url [none],
facebook.com/jeremy.b.guillory, twitter.com/jeremyguillory; founder, 3 Day
Startup.

Pleasetellusinoneortwosentencesaboutthemostimpressivethingotherthan
thisstartupthateachfounderhasbuiltorachieved.
kvogt: Built various devices that were the first ever to crack certain kinds of
highsecurity safes. One can even open the "unbeatable" X09 lock currently in
use on DoD safes. This is one of them: http://www.youtube.com/watch?
v=69g_ieT3Wes
jebagu: I helped to build a selfdriving car. My team finished alongside
Stanford and Carnegie Mellon to finish the 2007 Grand Challenge:
http://www.graymatterinc.com/. Networked my way into Founder's Fund F50,
reportedly the most exclusive tech conference ever.

Pleasetellusaboutthetimeyou,kvogt,mostsuccessfullyhackedsome(non
computer)systemtoyouradvantage.

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Due to a weird California law, I couldn't apply for a real estate license since I
dropped out of MIT and hadn't earned a college degree. I was told I'd need to
earn my degree or spend two years as an apprentice. Neither of those options
worked for me since I was busy with Justin.tv.
So, I found a way to get a brand new Bachelor's degree by spending just four
weeks on actual coursework. I now hold a degree in Information Technology
(basically just how to install Windows).
The loophole was to use a competencybased online university (take the test,
pass the class, repeat) rather than a semesterbased university.
Amusing side note: I am both an MIT dropout and a college graduate.

Pleasetellusaboutaninterestingproject,preferablyoutsideofclassorwork,that
twoormoreofyoucreatedtogether.Includeurlsifpossible.
We haven't worked together on any other projects, but it turns out we have
competed against each other twice. Once about ten years ago when building
fighting robots (Battlebots, on Comedy Central) and more recently during the
DARPA selfdriving car challenges.
Battlebots:
http://battlebots.wikia.com/wiki/Decimator
http://battlebots.wikia.com/wiki/BotaBing
Selfdriving cars:
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10100100951758668
https://www.dropbox.com/s/t48lfkzsy1gq5va/AVS09.pdf

Howlonghavethefoundersknownoneanotherandhowdidyoumeet?Haveanyof
thefoundersnotmetinperson?
We met in early October 2013 after being introduced by Danielle Fong (Chief
Scientist, LightSail Energy).

Whydidyoupickthisideatoworkon?Doyouhavedomainexpertiseinthisarea?
Howdoyouknowpeopleneedwhatyou'remaking?

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Selfdriving car technology has so many positive effects on society that it


sounds absurd when you start to list them (but I will anyway). It can reduce
carbon emissions and oil consumption, unluck billions of hours of lost
productivity, save hundreds of billions of dollars lost due to auto accidents, and
save tens of thousands of lives. I can't think of many other ways to have this
kind of impact on the world.
We have both built selfdriving cars before. Kyle built a wificontrolled Ford F
150 at MIT. Jeremy built the LIDAR sensor systems for Graymatter Inc, the first
company ever to raise venture capital to build self driving cars. We personally
know many of the smartest people working on this stuff (it's a small circle) and
we will get them on our team.
People want this technology. A study by KPMG shows car buyers are willing to
pay a 2025% premium for a vehicle that can drive itself. But people also really
*need* this technology. One million people are injured in car accdients in the
US every year and 33,000 of them don't survive. 90% of those accidents can be
attributed to driver error, so this technology will save thousands of lives.

What'snewaboutwhatyou'remaking?Whatsubstitutesdopeopleresorttobecause
itdoesn'texistyet(ortheydon'tknowaboutit)?
1) It costs at least an order of magnitude less than what is being built today.
2) It's designed to work on existing cars.
Americans drive 37 miles per day on average. They sometimes drive while
texting, drive while intoxicated, or simply drive while being distracted. People
seem to be trying really hard to do other things instead of driving, but so far
there aren't many good ways to accomplish this.
Some newer vehicles have advanced cruise control systems that keep the
vehicle in the lane during ideal highway driving situations, but drivers aren't
supposed to do anything else or even take their eyes off the road. This seems
like a bandaid solution.

Whoareyourcompetitors,andwhomightbecomecompetitors?Whodoyoufear
most?
Google currently has the most impressive selfdriving cars. Elon Musk has
announced Tesla's plans to have cars that drive 90% of the time in 3 years.
Most major auto manufacturers have already demonstrated selfdriving R&D
prototypes and have partnered with various universities. OEM's like Bosch and
Continental have large teams working on selfdriving technology that could end
up in future generations of new cars.
We are most afraid of Google. Their systems potentially have access to
Streetview and Maps data, which is extremely hard to replicate. Their current
technology is too expensive to sell directly to consumers, and their
commercialization strategy is unclear, but those things could change very
quickly.

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Whatdoyouunderstandaboutyourbusinessthatothercompaniesinitjustdon't
get?
1) Firstmover in this market will gain a large advantage in datasets, maps and
branding. We aim to be that first mover.
2) The best way to differentiate a car is with new technology (like selfdriving
systems). Existing car companies are adept at charging more money for leather
and chrome, but that approach is pretty much dead.

Howdoorwillyoumakemoney?Howmuchcouldyoumake?(Werealizeyoucan't
knowprecisely,butgiveyourbestestimate.)
We will make money by selling and installing our equipment on existing
vehicles. Over time, more of our revenue will come from subscriptions fees.
J.D. Power surveyed 17,000 drivers in 2012 and found that 20% would
"probably" or "definitely" buy selfdriving technology in their next vehicle at an
estimated market price of $3k.
If that survey is even remotely representative of the rest of the country, those
drivers who are ready to buy today will create at least a $100 billion market in
the US alone.

Ifyou'vealreadystartedworkingonit,howlonghaveyoubeenworkingandhow
manylinesofcode(ifapplicable)haveyouwritten?
We have been working for about two weeks (started roughly mid October).

Howfaralongareyou?Doyouhaveabetayet?Ifnot,whenwillyou?Areyou
launched?Ifso,howmanyusersdoyouhave?Doyouhaverevenue?Ifso,how
much?Ifyou'relaunched,whatisyourmonthlygrowthrate(inusersorrevenueor
both)?
In our first two weeks, we've already met with many of the smartest people in
the industry to learn everything we can about what's already been done. We've
acquired an Audi S4 (has electromechanical steering + looks cool) to use as our
demo car, and have started fitting it with cameras and drivebywire
equipment.
We hope to have a demo ready it by Demo Day, but it will be just a demo. We
are not launched, and don't plan to until after raising much more money. This
is a capitalintensive business.

Ifyouhaveanonlinedemo,what'stheurl?(Pleasedon'tpasswordprotectitjust
useanobscureurl.)
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Howwillyougetusers?Ifyourideaisthetypethatfacesachickenandegg
probleminthesensethatitwon'tbeattractivetouserstillithasalotofusers(e.g.
amarketplace,adatingsite,anadnetwork),howwillyouovercomethat?
There's already quite a bit of buzz around selfdriving cars, but nothing is on
the market yet. This has created an enormous $100 billion shadow demand
that we'll tap into once we launch.

Ifyou'realreadyincorporated,whenwereyou?Whoaretheshareholdersandwhat
percentdoeseachown?Ifyou'vehadfunding,howmuch,whofrom,andatwhat
valuationorvaluationcap?
Cruise Automation, Inc. is a Delaware C corp created in September 2013.
50/50 split between Kyle and Jeremy. $100K convertible note from Kyle.

Ifyou'renotincorporatedyet,pleaselistthepercentofthecompanyyouplanto
giveeachfounder,andanyoneelseyouplantogivestockto.(Thisquestionisas
muchforyouasus.)

Ifyouhavealreadyparticipatedorcommittedtoparticipateinanincubator,
"accelerator"or"preaccelerator"program,pleasetellusaboutit.

Ifwefundyou,whichofthefounderswillcommittoworkingexclusively(noschool,
nootherjobs)onthisprojectforthenextyear?
All of them.

Forfounderswhocan't,whynot?Whatlevelofcommitmentaretheywillingto
make?

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DoanyfoundershaveothercommitmentsbetweenJanuarythroughMarch2014
inclusive?
No.

Doanyfoundershavecommitmentsinthefuture(e.g.finishingcollege,goingto
gradschool),andifsowhat?
No.

Wheredoyoulivenow,andwherewouldthecompanybebasedafterYC?
SF.

Areanyofthefounderscoveredbynoncompetesorintellectualproperty
agreementsthatoverlapwithyourproject?Willanybeworkingasemployeesor
consultantsforanyoneelse?
No.

Wasanyofyourcodewrittenbysomeonewhoisnotoneofyourfounders?Ifso,
howcanyousafelyuseit?(Opensourceisokofcourse.)
No.

Areanyofthefollowingtrue?(a)Youaretheonlyfounder.(b)Youareastudent
whomayreturntoschoolwhenthenexttermstarts.(c)Halformoreofyourgroup
can'tmovetotheBayArea.(d)Oneormorefounderswillkeeptheircurrentjobs.
(e)Noneofthefoundersareprogrammers.
(Answeringyesdoesn'tdisqualifyyou.It'sjusttoremindustocheck.)

no

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Ifyouhadanyotherideasyouconsideredapplyingwith,pleaselistthem.Onemay
besomethingwe'vebeenwaitingfor.Oftenwhenwefundpeopleit'stodo
somethingtheylisthereandnotinthemainapplication.
Turbotax for mortgages
DNS for snail mail
Github for CAD

Pleasetellussomethingsurprisingoramusingthatoneofyouhasdiscovered.(The
answerneednotberelatedtoyourproject.)
I spent a week as a tourist in Iceland and never had to touch a piece of physical
currency. It was amazing. Everyone took debit cards.
Yet I still have to fumble through my pocket for some wadded up dollar bills to
get across the Bay Bridge.

update

(Clickingonupdatedoesn'tsubmityourapplicationitjustsavesitto
disk.)

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