Race to Saturn

Startup Summary Examples


This doc gives examples of clear, short, and successful company summaries. They quickly let people know what a company’s product does, and they’re easy to understand.

The need for a startup to have a clear, succinct description of its product comes up a lot. When startups talk to potential customers, investors, and employees, it’s important that people can quickly understand what they do.

So the goal is a description that is short, clear, and without pretense. Ideally, that description not only states what you do in simple terms, but it gives at least a hint of why what you are building provides value.

Y Combinator partner Kevin Hale has an excellent video about this called How to Pitch Your Startup. Here’s the big point:

“A clear idea is the foundation for growth.”

The best startups grow by word of mouth, and before anyone can recommend what you create to someone else, they need to understand it.

There’s an additional reason why it’s important to have a clear, succinct way of describing your product. If you don’t have that summary, it’s a sign that you yourself don’t have clarity on the value of what you are creating. And if you don’t have that clarity, you want to get it—and that may mean refining (or changing) what you are making.



Here’s how Airbnb described themselves in their Y Combinator application:

“Airbnb is the first online marketplace that lets travelers book rooms with locals, instead of hotels.”

(Source: Kevin Hale’s How to Pitch Your Startup)


Here’s how Dropbox described its product:

“Dropbox synchronizes files across your/your team’s computers.”

(Source: Kevin Hale’s How to Pitch Your Startup)


“Instacart is a product where you can order your groceries and get them delivered to your door within one hour.”

(Source: Founder Apoorva Mehta talk about Instacart’s history at Y Combinator’s Startup School in 2014. You can view the video here.)


Clubhouse “allows people to freely drop into chat rooms where users have real-time, podcast-style conversations on a variety of topics.”

(Source: “LinkedIn Top Startups 2021: The 50 U.S. companies on the rise” from LinkedIn News, September 22, 2021.)


“Cameo is a video-sharing platform where celebrities and public figures send personalized video messages to fans.”

(Source: “LinkedIn Top Startups 2021: The 50 U.S. companies on the rise” from LinkedIn News, September 22, 2021.)


Hopin launched as “the first virtual venue for live online events.”

(Source: hopin.com/about.)


From their 2015 YC Application:

“We’re making open source software to collaborate on code. It started as ‘run your own GitHub’ that most users deploy on their own server(s). GitLab allows you to version control code including pull/merge requests, forking and public projects. It also includes project wiki’s and an issue tracker. Over 100k organizations use it including thousands of programmers at |Redacted|. We also offer GitLab CI that allows you to test your code with a distributed set of workers.”

(Source: GitLab’s Application for Y Combinator Winter 2015)