Office Hours: I am a transgender woman, and I co-founded a Y Combinator backed startup.Featured

Hi everyone! Iโ€™m Hana Moha, CEO at MagicBell (YC W21), the notification inbox for your product. We recently graduated from Y Combinatorโ€™s W21 class and raised $1.9m in seed funding. Before founding MagicBell, I co-founded SupportBee and bootstrapped it to over half a million dollars in annual recurring revenue. I am a transgender woman, and I have written extensively about my transition and how it has shaped my life as a human being and an entrepreneur. Ask me anything about building products, YC, the founder journey, raising capital, transitioning, and more!
Thanks so much for joining us @unamashana!Elphas โ€“ please ask @unamashana your questions before Friday, May 28th. @unamashana may not have time to answer every questions, so emoji upvote your favorites ๐Ÿ”ฅ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿพโž•
Greetings @unamashana, what a delight to recive insights from a unique path from a unique identity. Thank you for offering your experiences to us! I would love to learn more about your time with YC, mainly:As an underrepresented founder did you feel welcomed within the community and treated with respect? Do you have any insight into the selection process mainly, how to stand out, and any unexpected surprises?
Thank you for your question @selfazzured! I felt pretty welcome in YC. I have written more about this experience, along with some tips on the application process at
Wonderful, thank you! @unamashana
Hi @unamashana, thank you so much for your time here. What was your reasoning for deciding to bootstrap SupportBee and in retrospect would you do anything differently? What advice do you have for other founders looking to bootstrap their first venture?
Hey @jesswatson! It was a different time and I didn't quite understand how expensive it is to scale up companies. It was also much harder to raise money in 2012 in India. If I were starting SupportBee today, I'd try to get into an accelerator and raise money after that. As for bootstrapping, you'd have to find a niche that's big enough to make a good business in, but not so big that it attracts venture capital. I am obviously biased now and that's why I switched to raising money for my ventures. I'll be talking more about this on Wednesday on Microconf on Air -
Thank you @unamashana for your insight and advice :)
Hi @Hana! Where have you worked remotely from? Iโ€™ve been remote 7 years in Latin America.
Thank you so much for joining this week Hana! Excited to learn from you. I'd like to ask you what can ciswomen like myself do to create a more inclusive environment for transgender women? And how can we ensure you feel (more) welcome (in any setting not just at work or in this tech world we live in)?
Hey @iynna! That's a great question. In my transition, cis women have been my biggest allies. Apart from being an ally yourself, one thing you can do is to always stand up for trans people when someone is misgendering us (even if they are referring to our past) or calling us names, or spreading misinformation about us. Basically, if you are an ally, please educate others when the opportunity arises.
Thank you so much for responding! I think I can do that ๐Ÿ˜€
thank you!
Hi @unamashana! Just wanted to say how touched Iโ€™m to learn that cis women were your biggest allies during your transition. For the record, some of the most compassionate, nonjudgmental, and open people (with the best sense of humor no less) Iโ€™ve ever had the privilege to know were members of the transgender community. Weโ€™re so happy to support you, but please know your community has more than very generously supported us along the way too!
Thanks for volunteering your time @unamashana! ๐Ÿ˜Š Iโ€™d love to learn more about how you did sales and marketing for the product that you bootstrapped
Hey @meghna! I feel like I am not very qualified to answer this since I didn't do a good job of it. However, here is what I'd do now1. Invest in content much earlier. Content takes time but has massive results over time. I'd outsource it until you can hire a team for it - founders writing content at scale isn't a good use of their time.2. I'd read and implement a simple system for even inbound leads that ask for a demo. A lot of us demo software but don't try to close a sale. 3. Try to nail down a niche as described in Founding Sales or Predictable Revenue/Impossible to inevitable. Thanks,Hana
Thank you @unamashana! This is actually really useful. From bootstrapping my first product I learned that it requires a lot of trial and error so I really appreciate being able to learn from the things youโ€™ve tried ๐Ÿ˜Š
Hi Hana, Thank you so much for joining this week! Any tips for Ycombinator applications? What makes a successful application?
Hey @Tamsin97! I have written a blog post about this (and other YC things) - In general, you want them to believe that this is a problem a lot of people have, you have talked to many of them, you (and your team) can solve it, and solving it is big money.
Thanks for sharing