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

ElphaStaff's profile thumbnail
Thanks so much for joining us @unamashana!Elphas – please ask @unamashana your questions before Friday, May 28th. @unamashana may not have time to answer every questions, so emoji upvote your favorites 🔥👍🏾➕
selfazzured's profile thumbnail
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?
unamashana's profile thumbnail
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 https://magicbell.com/blog/the-ycombinator-experience-remote-edition.
selfazzured's profile thumbnail
Wonderful, thank you! @unamashana
lizmaassen's profile thumbnail
Hi Hana, it's super cool you've worked out of different countries. Because of the pandemic remote work has become possible for many more people. What are your experiences with moving around, choosing a suitable place (e.g. city > village because of internet speed?) and generally setting up a good work environment anywhere?
unamashana's profile thumbnail
That's a great question, @lizmaassen. I am a huge proponent of remote work but not so much of nomadic work (for startups). In remote work, you work from where you are most comfortable, but you are able to invest in your work setup and make it productive. In nomadic work, your focus is on traveling and you work from whatever best setup you can find. Nothing wrong with it but in the context of a product startup, it's very challenging to be super productive when you are moving around. Also, when you are traveling constantly, your first priority is obviously to make the most of your limited time in your destinations. I talk more about this towards the end of this podcast - https://techcrunch.com/2021/05/01/how-one-founder-made-the-most-of-y-combinator-in-a-pandemic-year/If you are working remotely, I highly recommend investing in a good chair/desk, high speed internet (preferably wired) and even a good microphone. If your room isn't well lit, I even suggest buying some lights. Most companies these days will pay you to setup your workspace.
lizmaassen's profile thumbnail
Thank you @unamashana! Makes sense, for best productivity having a comfortable and reliable set-up is necessary. Maybe for nomadic work going to WeWork or other co-working offices would be a good idea. Of course that narrows down the available travel destinations to a few major cities in every country.
jesswatson's profile thumbnail
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?
unamashana's profile thumbnail
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 - https://microconf.com/microconf-on-air
jesswatson's profile thumbnail
Thank you @unamashana for your insight and advice :)
saratyler's profile thumbnail
Hi @Hana! Where have you worked remotely from? I’ve been remote 7 years in Latin America.
iynna's profile thumbnail
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)?
unamashana's profile thumbnail
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.
iynna's profile thumbnail
Thank you so much for responding! I think I can do that 😀
EmilyWan's profile thumbnail
Hi @unamashana! Just wanted to say how touched I’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) I’ve ever had the privilege to know were members of the transgender community. We’re so happy to support you, but please know your community has more than very generously supported us along the way too!
KristineBeese's profile thumbnail
thank you!
meghna's profile thumbnail
Thanks for volunteering your time @unamashana! 😊 I’d love to learn more about how you did sales and marketing for the product that you bootstrapped
unamashana's profile thumbnail
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 https://www.foundingsales.com/ 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
meghna's profile thumbnail
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 you’ve tried 😊
Tamsin97's profile thumbnail
Hi Hana, Thank you so much for joining this week! Any tips for Ycombinator applications? What makes a successful application?
unamashana's profile thumbnail
Hey @Tamsin97! I have written a blog post about this (and other YC things) - https://magicbell.com/blog/the-ycombinator-experience-remote-edition. 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.
KristineBeese's profile thumbnail
Thanks for sharing