50 YC questions: Do we match as co-founders?


1/ What are your strengths and superpowers (beyond functional expertise)?

I'm a team player, skilled at rallying people around a common goal and keeping them motivated.
I'm analytical and a problem solver, breaking down complex issues to find effective solutions.
I'm creative, with a knack for intuition and vision. I have a taste for design and marketing

2/ What are your weaknesses? How do you compensate for them?

Communication isn't always my strongest suit because I tend to add too many details without going straight to the important points. To address this, I spend extra time in preparation.

I tend to struggle with making decisions independently. When I encounter uncertainty, I can have a hard time choosing a direction. To solve this, I rely on collaborative decision-making with the team to create convictions.

3/ What words would your co-workers use to describe you? What would they want me to know about what it’s like to work with you?

According to feedback from interviews with coworkers, I am recognized as a problem solver and a team member who is always ready to roll up his sleeves and help others to get things done. They would also say that sometimes, I should be more focused on a specific topic instead of spreading efforts in too many projects at the same time, and that I should get less emotional about work.

4/ How do you deal with conflict? Describe a time you dealt with it well — and a time you didn’t.

I firmly believe that open communication and reaching a consensus are essential. We need to make a common decision at the end of the discussion.
An example when it went well: while working with a product manager at Airbnb, we encountered a disagreement regarding the prioritization of redesigning an onboarding flow crucial for acquisition. We addressed the issue through a productive meeting. I presented the challenges and proposed solutions, allowing her to contribute her insights. Together, we prioritized the solutions, resulting in a clear roadmap that we both committed to.
An example when it went wrong: as a program manager, I drafted a plan to automate the recruitment of Co-Hosts. Despite my efforts to discuss and collaborate with the recruitment team manager, we struggled to align our perspectives, leading to ongoing disagreements. Eventually, due to the lack of progress and frustration, I made the decision to quit this specific project, providing my work for the team's use as they saw fit.

5/ What’s the worst interpersonal conflict you’ve dealt with? How did you handle it?

The second example illustrates a conflict I encountered at work- although a minor one with no big negative consequences. To address it, I clarified the areas of responsibilities to prevent future clashes. Additionally, when important strategic decisions needed to be made, I ensured that meetings included a third-party to avoid one-on-one discussions and promote a more collaborative environment.

6/ How do you cope with stress? Depression? Are there any red flags I can help watch out for?

Primarily through sports. Running helps a lot. The camaraderie of being part of a team and the sense of collective effort are strong motivators for me. It’s not a me thing, it’s an us thing. I believe in facing challenges together rather than alone. While I don't have specific red flags to mention, I am open about sharing any doubts or concerns I may have with my co-founders. 

7/ How do you arrive at your convictions? What are some key mental models you use to be creative, solve problems, or make decisions?

By projecting into the future and considering the long-term implications of actions. Writing helps me a lot. Walking, too: when I have to think deeply about something, I like to take a walk alone.

8/ Describe your work style. What techniques do you use for personal productivity?

My work style is straightforward. Each morning, I write down a list of tasks I need to do for the day, making sure to prioritize them. Then, I tackle each task one by one, giving my full attention to each until it's done or I hit a roadblock. After that, I take a short break before moving on to the next task. This approach helps me stay organized and focused throughout the day.

9/ How many hours/week are you willing to work? For how long? What sounds good? What sounds like hell? Do you have different expectations for different phases of the company’s lifespan? (i.e. willing to work harder in the beginning)

There’s no rule, I can dedicate the necessary time to work. When I'm passionate, I can spend the time I need to achieve goals. The only limits are:
- When I’m not productive anymore, I need to take a break, unless the deadline is tomorrow.
- I can occasionally skip rugby and theater, but I want to maintain a balance to keep practicing those passions.
- I still want to be able to spend time with my girlfriend.


10/ What would you want your role to be before we reach product/market fit? What would you want your role to be after we reach product/market fit?

Before reaching PMF, I would like to focus on product design (how it works, how it looks like, problems it solves) and the go-to-market strategy (companies we target first, etc) and early sales.
Once we achieve PMF, I’d be fit for the CEO role. In this capacity, I would take responsibility for leading marketing and sales efforts, hiring and managing teams, and overseeing financial matters. This shift would allow me to leverage my strengths in leadership and strategic decision-making to drive the company's growth and success.

11/ How do you see your role changing as the company starts to scale? (Read this article: Giving Away Your Legos)

That is to be defined, based on the challenges of the company, but I’m flexible. If the company scales, people and culture will become paramount. I'm open to taking on responsibilities related to this, depending on my co-founder(s)’ skills and expectations. The rest (marketing, sales…) should be owned by committed employees, who’d report to me or another co-founder based on the structure we decide.

12/ If your role becomes unavailable entirely (e.g. the board hires a professional CEO or an experienced executive), what would you want your new role to be?

Cf above. Depending on the definition of the CEO role—whether it encompasses strategy, people management, operations, or all three—I am comfortable taking on any of these responsibilities. However, my preference lies with strategy and people management. I believe I can contribute effectively in these areas and continue to drive the company's growth and success.

13/ Areas of Responsibility (AoR) Exercise. Rank yourself in these areas (both as an individual contributor and as a leader) on a scale of 1-10. Then, rate your passion in each of the above areas on a scale of none to high. (e.g. “I’m an 8 in sales, but hate it, so none”):

SALES  Skill: 7  Passion: 6

MARKETING  Skill: 9 Passion: 8

PRODUCT STRATEGY   Skill: 8 Passion: 9

DESIGN  Skill: 6 Passion: 8

ENGINEERING  Skill: 2 Passion: 4

OPERATIONS  Skill: 8 Passion: 6

FUNDRAISING  Skill: 3 Passion: 3

LEADERSHIP  Skill: 7 Passion: 8

COMPANY BUILDING  Skill: 5 Passion: 9

RECRUITING   Skill: 6 Passion: 7

LEGAL   Skill: 6 Passion: 5

SPECIFIC SKILLS* Cloud computing, computer systems and networking, distributed systems

*Domain or technology-specific skills (e.g. Healthcare, Machine Learning, etc.)

A. Cluster AORs based on rank and discuss how they could be assigned to individuals. (E.g. John is a 10 in product, so he gets that AOR).

B. Break ties using the passion rating. (E.g. Nick is a 7 in sales with medium passion and Gloria is a 7 in Sales with high passion, so Gloria will take on sales).

C. Discuss: Do these clusters align with everyone’s expectations, skills, and desires? Do we all agree on the areas of responsibility for the CEO, CTO, COO, etc?


14/ Where should our startup be based? How do you feel about remote or distributed teams?

I’m currently based in Paris but I'm open to relocating if necessary.
I believe it's essential for co-founders to be in the same city and ideally work from the same office. This facilitates collaboration, communication, and the building of a strong team dynamic.
While remote working can work, I believe it's crucial for the team to gather regularly to foster a sense of unity and shared purpose. Therefore, while remote work may be possible for employees, I believe it's vital to prioritize in-person collaboration whenever feasible.

15/ Is there anything I should know that may materially affect your time or legal status as a founder? (e.g. visa, green card, criminal record)


16/ How should founder equity be set? What’s your philosophy on the employee equity pool?

All founders should have the same amount of shares (with one having slightly more to make a conclusive decision in case of a conflict) ensuring equal ownership and commitment to the project from each member.
Employees should have equity- let’s follow the best practices of allocating 5% to 10% of the equity to them, with cliff and vesting rules.

17/ What should our approach to employee compensation be, including cash and equity?

Competitive base rate + variable rate + equity. I'm in favour of having less, but very skilled and committed employees.

18/ How much money should we raise? (i.e. “zero” to “as much as we can”) In the range of “bootstrapped small business” to “go big or go home”, where do you want this startup to go?

I’m more a sponsor of bootstrapping and minimizing dilution wherever possible, depending on the business and revenue potential. Raising funds should serve a specific purpose, like product development (if it takes time and people before being able to generate revenue), or seizing growth opportunities ahead of competitors. If it’s a long-term game and if we’re able to generate good revenue early on without significant upfront costs, then raising money may not be necessary. Ultimately, the goal is to strike a balance between funding needs and preserving ownership equity.

19/ What matters most in a funder? If you were doing reference checks on a VC or potential board member, what traits would you be looking for?

Firstly, I look for funders who can offer valuable insights and advice based on their deep sector knowledge and experience. Additionally, I value funders who can provide access to a network of potential customers or partners, which can significantly benefit the growth of our startup. Above all, I seek funders who genuinely believe in our project, understand the problem we're addressing, and have confidence in our ability to solve it. It's essential to have partners who are invested in the mission and are more than just sources of funding. Trust and alignment with our vision are paramount.

20/ What does an ideal company exit look like to you? (i.e. “work on company for 1-2 years and sell for 7 figures” to “work for 10+ years, reach 9 figures in revenue, and IPO”)

Depends on the sector. Some SaaS companies are meant to be there for a few years before they get acquired by a bigger player that offers complementary services, and I’m okay with that.
However, if the business really has broader potential and there isn't a dominant leader in the market, I believe in continuing to grow the company until we reach nine-figure revenue levels.

21/ How do you think about the timeframe and pace of success? Are you willing to take the longer path? How long is too long?

Based on the above, it depends on the exit perspective. I’d like to reach PMF and generate revenue as soon as possible. A funding round should give a runway of at least 3 years, to operate comfortably, provide stability and room for growth without constant fundraising pressures.

22/ What number would you sell at? How would that change if you got extra liquidity from your existing positions?

I would consider selling at a minimum of $5M if we've invested less than 3 years in the company. After that timeframe, I might consider a higher figure.

23/ What do we do if we find product/market fit, yet none of the founders are excited about that product?

My first reaction is: sell. Founder enthusiasm is crucial for maintaining business excellence. However, other factors like relationships with customers, team dynamics, or community involvement could still provide motivation. If these elements are lacking, selling may be the best option.

24/ Can one co-founder fire another co-founder? Can someone else fire a founder?

We should be clear about the contractual conditions that bind us from the outset. If a co-founder breaches these conditions, then it may lead to their departure based on the contract. However, operational excellence and alignment with the company's vision should be clarified and agreed upon from the beginning.
The board should have some power, but limited. But if the situation becomes critic and one co-founder doesn't want to leave despite not being able to work together, the board should have the power to make a decision. 


25/ Why do you want to start a company — in general, and in particular right now?

Main reasons:
- Adventure: I like when it's fun, when I discover new things, have stories to tell and living it to the fullest. I envision that as a thrilling rollercoaster
- Independence: I desire to have complete responsibility both strategically and operationally, allowing me to pursue my vision without constraints.
- Versatility: I enjoy working on various facets of a company, from product development to legal matters and branding. This diversity is what defines the company's identity and makes it unique.
- Mission-driven: I am passionate about building a team and rallying them around a shared mission, fostering collaboration and collective success.

Why right now? Because I have the funding conditions and a sufficient runway to pursue it now.

26/ What is success to you? What motivates you personally?

Success is: be happy to go to work every day, build something that i'm proud about of and that will last long-term, be proud of my team.

27/ What impact do you want to have? Is your startup objective “getting rich” or “changing the world”? Is control or success more important? (i.e. Are you willing to step aside if the company is more likely to have a financially successful outcome or is it important for the founders to stay in control of the company’s destiny?)

“Getting rich” is not an objective- I would rather “achieve great financial comfort” that allows for a certain standard of living.
That being said, I definitely want to work on a problem that is meaningful and contributes positively to society. I have a strict condition that our work should not worsen the world in any way, even hypothetically.
If the company is better if I’m out, it's ok, but it depends on the stage on the company: some founders are better at launching than running, and I don't know which type I am.

28/ What makes you gritty?

A difficult problem to which there's no apparent easy solution. I can work hard until I find it.

29/ Who do you admire most in your organization/family/friends, and why?

My father for his resilience, my mother for her commitment, my friends for their love. 

30/ What are you most proud of in your work career or life to date?

I'm most proud of my journey at Luckey, from its inception to scaling a whole new entity within Airbnb over six years. Throughout this experience, we built everything from the ground up, continuously refining our vision. We embraced the adventure, remained committed, and stood united through the challenges we faced. This journey is a testament to my dedication, and I take great pride in what we achieved together.

31/ When have you taken a chance when others did not? Or when have you been willing to take an unpopular stance?

I took a chance when I transitioned from a marketing role to PMO and lead the transition of our entity from a 1st-party property management service to a Co-Host marketplace. Initially, it was met with uncertainty and skepticism from others. I embraced the opportunity and took on the role with enthusiasm. It proved a good idea.

32/ What are some of the products and companies you love, and why?

Brief.me, a french online newspaper sent daily via email, because it has a simple yet powerful design, with a strict editorial policy committed to objectivity.
Decathlon because they maintained a great culture with operational excellence, making them a leader in sports outfits across all countries. To me, the reason is that they genuinely care about customers and employees.
Spotify because they introduced new trends in UX that became the new normal, and because they always build for long-term. 

33/ Is it possible to build a wildly successful company without burning out or damaging other parts of your life (family, health, etc.)?

Not only is it possible but it’s an absolute condition.
Burning out would diminish the chances of long-term success for the company, anyway.
True commitment involves maintaining a healthy balance and avoiding excessive pressure that can lead to burnout.


34/ Will this company be your primary activity? Do you have any other time commitments?

Yes, primary activity.

35/ What is your expected time commitment right now? How do you see that changing in the next 6 months? 2 years?

Full time.

36/ What is your personal runway? Current burn rate? Would you invest your own money (ideally retaining higher equity in return)?

In the current conditions, 10 months. After that, I would need money to maintain my living standards. I’m burning €4000 / month, because of a housing mortgage for a great part.
In terms of investment, I would consider investing my own money, but I would expect my co-founders to invest just as much.

37/ What is the minimum monthly salary you need to survive? To be comfortable? To feel like you’ve “made it?”

Cf above, to survive I would need €3500 / month. To be comfortable, I would need €4500, to feel like I made it, perhaps around €7000.

38/ What should the policy of co-founders advising/consulting with other companies be?

A simple NDA should suffice. Trust matters.


39/ Complete the sentence: It would make you proud to hear people describe this company’s culture as ___inspiring, innovative__. (Values are written words, and your culture is how you actually live those written words.)

Excellent and people-driven. The best compliment would be that the company genuinely cares about its customers and employees, and that the product reflects excellence in design and functionality.

40/ What’s your philosophy on how to attract and retain great people? Tactically, how would we make this happen at our company?

To attract top talent, we offer: challenging responsibilities, competitive salaries, and foster a great team spirit.
To retain our employees, we provide: opportunities for professional growth with a defined timeline, organize team events to strengthen bonds, etc.
That sounds so generic. But I believe that people stay because they feel connected to the company's mission. This sense of belonging is crucial for retaining talent in the long run. People stay because they’re part of this ship. 

41/ What processes or techniques would you use to get the most out of your team? For example, how would you help them become better managers or achieve their goals?

For execution:
- Collective sprint sessions every Monday, where teams present their priorities.
- Weekly individual meeting with the managers to cover the priorities and challenges.
For individual growth:
- Quarterly feedback sessions (more if required). Before those sessions, we should write upfront the achievements and potential areas for improvement (no big deal!). Setting clear goals for the next quarter ensures continuous progress.
- Mentoring session between team members to encourage knowledge sharing and skill development.

42/ How much of your time do you hope to spend either working or socializing with coworkers?

? Not sure about this question. Socializing comes naturally. 

43/ How important is diversity & inclusion? Concretely, how would you put that into action?

Concretely, when faced with two equally qualified candidates at the final stage of hiring, preference should be given to the candidate who represents a minority group. However, it's important to note that this preference is secondary to hiring based on merit, skills and alignment with the company's values.


44/ Specifically, how are we going to prioritize and make time for our co-founder relationship as we get increasingly busy with company building?

- Weekly discussion about the company’s priorities and challenges, mostly focused on executive tasks.
- Monthly dinner in a restaurant to talk about the rest, how we feel about the project, take the temperature, etc.

45/ How would we resolve the personal conflict between ourselves? How about stalemates?

Just like we’d do with anyone else: by talking and making decisions together, that we stick to. Stalemates, in essence, are decisions that may not fully satisfy either party. If frustration becomes too strong, we should discuss the possibility of parting ways amicably.

46/ In case this becomes part of our partnership’s evolution, how would you go about handling a startup divorce?

Handling the situation calmly and ensuring a smooth transition, honoring the terms of contract. It's essential that everyone involved feels respected and fairly treated throughout the process, with the aim of reaching a resolution where all parties can move forward positively.

47/ What happens in the scenario where we aren’t growing? How would we diagnose the problem? How have each of our capabilities and approaches contributed to growth failures in the past?

The diagnosis would be easy: we had goals, and we didn’t fulfil them, to a certain extent.
That being said, I would share the responsibility with my co-founders. Rather than focusing on assigning blame, our priority should be on collaborating to find solutions and rectify the situation together. It's not about "me vs. you" but rather "us together, how we got here, and how we move forward."
If I decide to partner with you, it means that I trust you and that I expect you to take your responsibilities, just like I would. 

48/ In every partnership, there are times when a partner might breed resentment if certain dissatisfactions don’t change over time. How would you deal with a situation like this?

By talking, talking, and talking. Then we should decide on the next steps, draft goals and expectations, and check on them later.

49/ How would you think about bringing on a third (or N+1) cofounder?

That would be considered only if there's a crucial skill missing that is essential for the success of the business and shouldn’t be addressed by hiring an employee. In this scenario, equity would be shared equally among all co-founders, including the new addition.

50/ Wrap-up question: Now we know each other’s weaknesses, passions, needs and constraints––how are we going to make each other successful? What would it take to feel truly partnered in this adventure?

One way to achieve this is by embracing a culture of continuous learning and mutual support. We can do this by teaching each other skills or knowledge that the other may lack, fostering admiration for each other's expertise in different areas.
We need to spend a week working together in the same place (like an Airbnb out of town), to see if our personalities match and if we’d be okay to live another week like this 🙂