Getting into an incubator after you’ve been rejected

We just got into 500 Startups!

But the thing you should know is – four months ago, we applied and didn’t get in. Heck – we applied to them all – 500 Startups, YC, Techstars, AngelPad.

We got rejected from all of them.

You know what sucked? I knew a lot of friends who got in. And no one wants to feel inferior to their friends. But I found out something I didn’t know before – many friends whom I’d assumed got in the first time – confided in me that it was their 2nd, 3rd, 4th time applying.

When someone tells you no, what they really mean is – not yet. We got in the second time because they saw the progress we’d made.

A lot of first-time founders apply, get rejected, and then think that’s that. But it’s not such a binary thing. You know who else get rejected their first time? Drew Houston, founder of Dropbox.

We don’t hear about that side much though, because everyone is supposed to be crushing it all the time.

“How’s your startup doing?”

“Oh we’re crushing it,” we’re supposed to say with a smile, trying to ignore the knot in our gut.

But stories of struggle are just as important as stories of success. So I’ve kept a video diary since the first line of code was written. Every moment where I questioned how we would make money, where I felt exhausted, where I wondered how the heck we were going to make it work – it’s here.

Of course it’s going to be hard. Of course we’re going to feel stressed. But at the end of the day, we get to try and make our dream a reality. We’re very lucky to be able to do that.


  • Congratulations on your first customer! From what I hear, the time after the first customer will be smooth sailing from here on out.

  • You and Finbar continue to beautifully model tenacity, a demonstrated quality important to GiveIt100!

  • I love this. Wow. Lots of hard work. Dedication.

    I really love what you said about how we always see the end result of things, how great or talented someone is, but we rarely get to see what it took them to get there.

    I really thank you for pointing that out. Really. It shows people the journey to get from Here to Awesome AND it teaches us not to be so insecure, that many if not most start out that way and that there is something to learn in the process.

    Thank you. :)

  • Awesome and inspiring Karen – great to see you two relentlessly pursuing your dreams and even bringing people along with you for the ride.

  • You’re a seriously great story teller, mostly because of your honesty, and I love seeing you fail, get back up, and eventually succeed.

    Nice dance moves, too :)

  • Hi Karen – Everything on your website is super inspiring and encouraging. Thank you so much for sharing so much, I look forward to reading more and following your progress! 😀


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