This application is in use since 7th July, 2020
Applications in both: English or Serbian are welcome.
Please email filled application to email@example.com
Q1: Do you perhaps already have a demo?
It helps greatly if you have a demo. For the demo we prefer a link to the actual thing.
Q2: Describe your company in 50 characters or less
Most important thing to remember for this question is to stick to the character limit. That is a must. One good trick for describing a project concisely is to explain it as a variant of something the audience already knows. For example, Uber for X, Stripe for Y. This form of description is wonderfully efficient.
Q3: What is your company going to make?
After I read your answers to the question “what does your company do?” I still don’t know what your company does. Using jargon and buzzwords usually cause this. “Explain it like you would to your grandmother” is the best advice I’ve heard on this point.
Here’s an example of what does not work: "Public transportation in country X sucks. In addition, the cab service is erratic and over priced. People are coming online these days using their smartphone and want to get information and services at their fingertips. So, we are making a mobile app where we connect people with cars in the city to those who want a ride…"
And here’s what should be written instead: "We are making a mobile app where you can press a button and get a car at your doorstep within 10 minutes."
Did you get this idea from a pain in your own life? E.g. Heroku was built as a solution to the pain felt by the founders when trying to deploy software. Maybe you’ve been thinking about this space for a long time? Identify the problems that you want to “fix”: like dating, news and “the problem” of Hollywood.
Q4: How long have the founders known one another and how did you meet? Have any of the founders not met in person?
Show strong friendship and teamwork between founders. Founder breakups are a leading cause of startup failure. You need to be in it for the long-haul, together. Display evidence of having worked with your co-founder before on projects or having known your co-founder for a very long time.
Q5: How far along are you?
Evidence that you can actually build it and aren’t just building it for Jobbrs Incubator. Although, we also want to see how quickly you can execute. Two years to build an iPhone app is too long. What we really want to know is what have you accomplished in the time you’ve been working on your startup? If the main part of your business is a website and you are still in beta after two years, that is not impressive. But if you are building a rocket and have final drawings of the core engine after 6 months, that could be a big deal!
"I’ve been working on it for about a month and already have a prototype of the iPhone app built. It’s about 1500 lines of code on the app side and 1000 on the server side."
Q6: How many active users or customers do you have? If you have some particularly valuable customers, who are they?
Badly enough — having users is not the same as having engaged users. Do your users login more than once? Are they actually doing stuff on your site? Are they willing to pay for it? Do they share the product with their friends?
Show Jobbrs how happy you are making your users. You need to convince Jobbrs that your startup’s trajectory is toward success. That you are going to make more and more users happier and happier in a way that you’ll be able to build a legit business around it. Speed matters, size of growth matters. Try to choose your strongest points of traction when writing your app.
Q7: Why did you pick this idea to work on? Do you have domain expertise in this area? How do you know people need what you’re making?
We look for in ideas is not the type of idea, but the level of insight you have about it. Tell a story about how you came upon this and realized you have the particular set of skills best suited to solving this. Make sure you talk about the size of the market and briefly about how you arrived at the number.
Be careful! This is not a question asking you to explain why you’re personally passionate about X. Just because you love X does not make X a good idea. It’s fine if you feel this way, but I would not make this your primary reason for doing this idea. It’s better that you chose this idea because you know a lot about the domain and see a real, unmet need either via personal experience or because you know certain businesses are willing and able to spend money to solve this problem.
Q8: What’s new about what you’re making? What substitutes do people resort to because it doesn’t exist yet (or they don’t know about it)?
The thing we care most about in interviews (at least of things one can change) is how engaged the founders are with users. How do they know people actually want what they’re building? Have they talked to real, live users? What have they learned from them? Show Jobbrs you understand your users.
One question we and many other startups hear at office hours again and again is “Who needs this? … No, who really needs this?” Your first answer is rarely good enough. You’ve got to convince the Jobbrs that you truly know who your users are, how to reach them, what their problems are, why this product fits into their life/workflow and solves their problems.
Present your problem as a hair on fire problem, one that people would use immediately if they knew existed because the switching costs are negligible compared to their existing suffering.
Q9: Who are your competitors, and who might become competitors? Who do you fear most?
Be realistic and reasonable regarding your competitors. Startups are made by people with delusive passion, but who still have an understanding of their environment and assess risks appropriately. Your critical insight. Your secret that makes your business competitive against your competitors and likely to succeed against all odds. This is another way of asking what the “secret sauce” is? This is because you’re trying to explain, what is possibly, a nuance or subtlety about the problem that your company has discovered and is going to exploit.
Q10: How do or will you make money? How much could you make?
You could potentially make a ton of money, but be reasonable in making your estimates. Make bottom-up estimates, not top-down ones (e.g. don’t say “if we capture 10% of this 100 million dollar market, we’ll be making 10 million dollars!” because those estimates are often wildly inaccurate and don’t represent thoughtful estimation).
"We will charge customers the ordinary cost of a repair plus a 15% convenience fee. Ralph’s currently operates over 50 repair shops in each state for a grand total of 290 stores. Each one operates on only 10 customers per day, because others call in and are turned off by the 2 week wait time.When new repairmen were hired last year, the average cost of a repair went up 50%, but the volume of repairs also went up 100%, tripling revenue. Operating profits went from $1.2 billion/year to $3 billion/year. From this, based on the volume of repairs in San Francisco alone being over 150 per day, and the average cost being about $400, we could be operating at about $70k per day in just SF."
Q11: How will you get users? If your idea is the type that faces a chicken-and-egg problem in the sense that it won’t be attractive to users till it has a lot of users (e.g. a marketplace, a dating site, an ad network), how will you overcome that?
You’ve thought about your biggest initial hurdle, getting people to know about you and pay you for your product. Be specific, don’t generalize with things like paid ads or strategic partnerships.
"We got our first 2500 pre-paid users with my connections to local repair shops. I used their existing infrastructure to sell the coupons and they will provide the services when requested from the app until I’ve built out the infrastructure ourselves. This partnership with local shops will continue until our own staff are able to compete."
Distribution is also really important. I’m guessing a lot of applicants haven’t thought as much about this part of the app. That’s ok — I think distribution comes after finding product market fit (the whole thing about users) but it’s still a place where you can demonstrate you know your stuff.
Q12: If you had aniy other ideas you considered applying with, please list them. One may be something we’ve been waiting for. Often when we fund people it’s to do something they list here and not in the main application.
If Jobbrs like you but not your business idea, any of these ideas may turn the tables in your favor. Therefore it is to your advantage to put something here. I’m sure you have other ideas.hing about users) but it’s still a place where you can demonstrate you know your stuff.
Q13: Please tell us about the time you, most successfully hacked some (non-computer) system to your advantage.
We re looking for evidence that you are clever. The ability to think out of the box and manipulate large systems to your advantage are critical to gaining an edge on the market when you have no capital advantage (which is usually the case with startups).
Q14: Please tell us in one or two sentences about the most impressive thing other than this startup that you have built or achieved.
It’s deliberately open-ended; there’s no one type of answer we’re looking for. It could be that you did really well in school, or that you wrote a highly-regarded piece of software, or that you paid your own way through college after leaving home at 16.
It’s not the type of achievement that matters so much as the magnitude. Succeeding in a startup is, in the most literal sense, extraordinary, so we’re looking for people able to do extraordinary things. When answering the question about the most impressive thing you’ve achieved, it’s not necessary to “focus on things that can be useful in a startup.” In fact that’s a common mistake. If you won an Olympic gold medal and can also write hello world in Ruby, we want to hear about the former, not the latter.
HOW AND WHAT TO WRITE
1. Don’t pitch. Write like to a friend.
Talk to Jobbrs (and write your application) as if you’re talking to a friend, not a stereotypical investor. Jobbrs is looking to invest in real people, not robots spewing buzzwords and jargon, so just be a human.
2. Put the most important in the first sentence.
Whatever you have to say, give it to us right in the first sentence, in the simplest possible terms. If there’s a simple one-sentence description of what you’re doing that only conveys half your potential, that’s actually pretty good. You’re halfway to your destination in just the first sentence. Think constantly about how you can impress with substance, not style (unless the style is in your product). You need to get to the point fast and make every answer matter. At the end of the day, nothing matters except that we say “wow, this team is really smart / over the top hardworking / resourceful / can get things done / like each other / could successfully build a great startup”.
3. Provide data and facts
If you have any kind of data, however preliminary, tell the audience. Numbers stick in people’s heads. If you can claim that the median visitor generates 12 page views, that’s great. But don’t give them more than four or five numbers, and only give them numbers specific to you. Be matter of fact in your writing. Stick to facts, data and solid points that can be backed up with evidence if needed. Concreteness matters because it increases the chances that the partners will “get it” right away. Remember they will spend about 5 minutes on average reading your application. Give figures. These can be lines of code, number of beta releases or beta users, your total addressable market, your pricing.
4. Be concise but write a lot
You have to be exceptionally clear and concise. Please don’t use big dense blocks of text. One or two sentences per answer is plenty enough. Bullet points are great. As you write your application, imagine that you are writing for a very tired person who has just read through a billion of these things. Keep it short. Get to the point. No one wants to read an essay when a sentence or two will do the job.
I would recommend that I write briefly but write a lot. This advice seems contradictory, but I mean it in a very specific way. Write, write, and write some more. Write everything interesting and unique about yourself. Cut, cut, and cut some more.
HOW TO STAND OUT
1. Make us believe in you
Generally, the advice I’d give to applicants is: help us out. Investors are optimists. We want to believe you’re great. Most people you meet in everyday life don’t. Like all investors, we want to believe. So help us believe. If there’s something about you that stands out, or some special insight you have into the problem you plan to work on, make sure we see it. The # 1 thing that Jobbrs worries about is rejecting somebody they should have accepted. Picking the best applications is easy, they are obviously good in every respect. But picking from the rest of them is profoundly hard.
2. Be awesome
Be Awesomer. Look at each of your answers and ask yourself, “what would make this awesome?” Think of a great book or a movie trailer. They throw you right into the action. They grab your attention. They leave you wanting more. Picture this scenario: a Jobbrs has just finished reading the 50th application in a row, and then leans over to pull yours out from the pile. How will yours stand out?
Be formidable. A formidable person is one who seems like they’ll get what they want, regardless of whatever obstacles are in the way. Formidable is close to confident, except that someone could be confident and mistaken. Formidable is roughly justifiably confident.
Jobbrs is looking for great founders. So the purpose of the application is to show that you may be great. That’s it. That’s all you are trying to do. There are 2 ways to do this. The simplest is if you’ve already done some impressive things. This is what the “the most impressive thing other than this startup that each founder has built or achieved” and related questions are about.
3. Be relentlessly resourceful
But more than anything, Jobbrs wants to know that you’re ‘relentlessly resourceful’. If I had to put it in my own words, I’d say most Jobbrs founders (and successful people in general) I’ve met share a common belief that they’re not a victim of their circumstance. I think they’d actually find it silly to believe you can’t do something to change yourself or your life for the better in some way. They may not know right away how to make the change, but they know how to find out and they know how to ask for help.
4. Never give up
Grit — you have to be the type of person who is never going to give up. This does not mean you are not flexible. You have to be flexible AND never give up. You just absolutely cannot quit. They are going to measure you. They need to be convinced on an emotional level that you are not going to quit. It has to be in your bones. I don’t think you can fake this. We ask ourselves some the question: will they be persistent? Startups are tough and at this early stage, one of the big causes of failure is a co-founder leaving to join bigco or heading back to grad school. Give us examples of where you’ve been persistent and not given up, convince us you’re not going to flake.
HOW TO PRESENT YOUR BUSINESS
1. Don’t hide your weaknesses
If we can see obstacles to your idea that you don’t seem to have considered, that’s a bad sign… Paradoxically, it is for this reason better to disclose all the flaws in your idea than to try to conceal them. If we think of a problem you don’t mention, we’ll assume it’s because you haven’t thought of it.
2. Show passion
Show passion! This isn’t something you can fake. You either have it in your soul, or you don’t. And if there’s one thing that we are really good at, it’s that we can smell lack of passion and commitment a mile away. How bad do you want this? What are you willing to give up? Anything and everything?
3. Solve a hair on fire problem, or do it right
f you are a new analytics tool, you need to be so much better than existing solutions that you could possibly be running on all the software in the world in just a few years.
What makes your team/product/traction/distribution strategy SO GOOD that they have to fund your version of this idea?
Solve a hair on fire problem, or do it right. One of the first pieces of startup advice I remember coming across was Paul Buchheit talking about startup ideas. Successful ones fall in one of two categories: They either solve a hair on fire problem that has never been solved before OR they solve a problem that has other solutions, but they do it so much better that they are “done right.”
If you’re a hair on fire problem, you have to clearly state how bad that problem is. How do you know the problem exists? Who has it? How specifically have you solved it? When you’re doing something new like solving a brand new hair on fire problem, it’s an uphill battle just to let people know you exist. We want to know that you are capable of even getting people to know you exist.
On the flip side, if you’re focused on a more crowded space and you’re trying to do it right, then you’ve got to be a lot more clear about how your solution is unique and different. It’s not OK to do exactly the same thing. Help us understand what you have figured out that nobody else has. It’s so important, this is actually one of the questions on the application.