SaaS startup Reflect, cofounded by Curalate alumni Todd McNeal and Fitz Nowlan, is a member of Y Combinator’s summer 2020 cohort. But thanks to some extremely 2020 circumstances, the Villanova company didn’t need to travel to Silicon Valley to participate in the famed accelerator that’s propelled the likes of Instacart, AirBnB, Doordash and Dropbox.
NcNeal and Nowlan launched Reflect, which makes a tool that automates website and web application testing, in the fall. They’ve spent the last several months building the product, but realized it was time to start building a business, McNeal told Technical.ly.
Reflect is now about halfway through the 12-week program. Both McNeal and Nowlan — who both previously led Curalate’s engineering team — are fathers to young children, and a move to Mountain View for three months was not in the cards. But when the coronavirus pandemic forced the program to go totally remote, they applied on a long shot, McNeal said, as the applications for the summer 2020 cohort had closed.
“The day they announced it would be virtual was the day we applied,” McNeal said. “We waited to see, and a few weeks later we got an invite.”
So far, it’s saved the pair on housing and commuting costs, although they recognize aspects of the programming — networking dinners, guest speakers and demo day — won’t be the same experience as in years past.
But there are benefits to working from home, where you’re more likely to be in your comfort zone, McNeal said. Their cohort features startups from all over the world, not just the Bay Area. Virtual participation allows for easier access.
Currently, McNeal and Nowlan are Reflect’s only employees, but there are plans to grow.
“Up until joining Y Combinator, we were focusing a lot on the product, and it’s a hard technical product,” McNeal said. “We’ve talked to customers who have validated the product but now [the work] is more around, ‘How do we make this into a business?'”
Midway through the program, the cofounders have their eyes on demo day — which will of course, be virtual.
“It is the goal to shoot for in terms of getting as much traction as possible and, demonstrating how our businesses is growing,” McNeal said. “We’re setting goals around usage and paying customers. And this deadline has been very motivating for us.”-30-