All 51 startups that debuted at Y Combinator W17 Demo Day 2 | TechCrunch
Over 15,000 founders from 7,200 startups applied to this batch of Y Combinator. It chose just over 100 with founders from 22 countries to go through its accelerator program. Today, the second half of those companies launched on stage, and we have breakdowns of all 51 of these businesses.
Today’s set of companies focused on hardcore backend engineering tools and scrappy social apps. And thanks to YC’s recently developed Investor Match system, it’s able to route the startups and VCs most interested in each other into meetings.
Voodoo wants to be the AWS for manufacturing. It’s building a robotic factory of 3D printers so clients can send a digital file and get a physical product in return with no molds, labor, startup cost, or minimum order size. That massively democratizes access to manufacturing, the same way AWS did for cloud computing. It’s already working with Nike, Microsoft, Verizon, and Intel, and is on track to make $330,000 this quarter at a 65% margin. Voodoo is looking to disrupt the $50 billion plastic injection molding market, and grow it by making manufacturing as flexible as spinning up servers.
Volt is an electrostimulation wearable to treat diseases like incontinence. The founder has already taken six medical devices to market, including the Cool Sculpting device that sold for billions. Incontinence affects 25 million people and is a $25 billion market. The device stimulates the muscles to get them the give feedback to receptors. This helps those suffering from incontinence to not pee when they don’t want to. The device can also target other conditions like migraines and comes with proprietary technology.
“We are the Pied Piper of databases, but we’re the real one” says Terark’s co-founder, alluding to HBO’s Silicon Valley show. Terark uses a special technology to dig data out of databases in a way that makes memory and hard disks more efficient. It claims to be faster than Google’s LevelDB and Facebook’s RocksDB database technologies, and has received a $1 million contract from Alibaba. With 10 years of experience in databases, Terark wants to steal a chunk of the $35 billion database market as all the information on Earth becomes digitized.
Wright Electric wants to build the world’s first electric airplane. One of the main reasons airlines like Southwest can offer low fares is that they pre-purchase gas, but Wright sees an opportunity to make flights even cheaper by using electric planes instead. The company is targeting the 30 percent of all flights that are 300 miles or less, and partnering with EasyJet to start. As technology improves, it believes its planes will be able to go after the $26 billion short-haul flight market.
People spend $90 billion a year on human english teachers that are expensive and ineffective. Speak offers a mobile app where you can have english conversations with your phone about real world scenarios like interviewing for a job or asking for directions. It uses speech recognition to identify english words through thick accents and teach people to speak more clearly. Meanwhile, it’s building a massive database of accented-english speech, which can be used to improve its system and other speech recognition systems. Speak’s team formerly built accent detection systems and sold Flashcards+ to Chegg. Though AI translation might reduce the need for people to know other languages, speaking English remains a valuable skill people are willing to pay for.
Machine learning will change the way business is done, but like databases, most companies don’t build their own from scratch. NanoNets’ API makes it easy for any business to employe machine learning. They just upload their data, wait 10 minutes for it to be analyzed, and add a few lines of code. They can then start seeing results of automatic data mining via ML, such as being able to identify the brand of a shoe in photos. NanoNets is able to recycle learnings from previous jobs to reduce the amount of data it needs to do future tasks. It’s already seeing 1 million API calls a week, and sells a $99/month subscription with up to 10,000 API calls. By working with multiple clients, it can improve its systems much faster than any single client building ML technology by themselves.
Scribe – Automating sales development representatives
It’s tough for businesses to tell the difference between a high-potential sales lead and someone wasting their time. Scribe builds a smart inbound sales form for company website that uses data it receives and external data sources to instantly determine if it’s a “hot lead” that should immediately be routed to the right sales rep, or if its a “cold lead” that should be put on the back-burner. Scribe says its 50% cheaper and generates 20% more leads than hiring a sales development lead. It already has $10,000 in monthly recurring revenue just 3 weeks after launch, and after the $4 billion inbound sales market, it wants to attack the massive outbound sales opportunity,
Most podcasts are free, but serious publishers are spending big budgets to make high quality audio content like Serial, which hit 100 million downloads and made podcasts mainstream. 67 million Americans are already listening to podcasts a month. Breaker wants to sign exclusive deals to distribute the best premium podcasts and charge users $6 per month. First, its goal is to build a huge listener audience by making the best podcast consumption app. It launched today, and will offer podcasters ways to connect and get feedback from their community, and analytics about what content performs best. It has a stunning 67% retention rate after a month for beta users. If it can convince people to pay for what’s often free, it could become the preferred place for podcasters to talk.
Bitrise – Automated build/test/deploy for mobile apps
Bitrise claims it can save developers one hour per day by automating unit tests, distributing tests to testers, and uploading apps to app stores every time the app’s code changes. Thanks to its open source integrations, you can connect any app like Slack for notifications and Hockey for beta tests. Bitrise already counts Microsoft and Xamarin as paying customers, and has $660,000 annual recurring revenue that’s growing 20% per month. And if things go right, it could become a hub where developers discover services that make their job easier.
Fibo – Mobile work tracking for construction teams
Fibo’s mobile app lets construction field teams keep work logs, time sheets, take photos of progress, and submit them to the boss’ office. It says it can save employees 4 hours of field paperwork per week, which could save their employers $4,000 a year. Customer retention is strong at a $30 per month per worker price point. With $10 million field workers in the US, there’s a $4 billion opportunity there. But using its construction worker engagement and data, next it could upsell services around workers comp and more. Construction was slow to adapt to tech, but now that every worker has a smartphone, there are new opportunities for startups like Fibo.
Families spend a fortune on sending their kids to college, and many students end up going into debt, but they still aren’t prepared for the job market. College career centers are often unhelpful. Paragon One thinks the answer is skill and interview prep coaching from professionals who already got themselves jobs at top companies like Apple and Google. Families pay $7500 up front, and the kids get coaching over video chat. Paragon One says 100% of students who completed the program got job or internship offers. It’s now doing $55,000 in monthly revenue with 56% unit profit margin after customer acquisition costs, and it’s growing 40% monthly. While the price might seem steep, there are 2 million students each year not on financial aid, and their families end up paying around $200,000 for college that doesn’t guarantee a job. Paragon One could use a little extra career guidance and interview prep to leverage that sunk cost investment and get kids lucrative jobs.
Tress – A social community for black women’s hairstyles
Tress says black women spend 9X more on their hair than any other demographic, with the worldwide black hair care market estimated at $500 billion a year. The process of changing hairstyles includes inspiration on social networks, YouTube tutorials, booking stylists, and buying hair care products. Tress wants to bring these all into one product. It says it now has 30,000 weekly active users and is growing 20% week over week. With users frequently sharing the hairstyles they discover on Tress, it has a built-in growth mechanic.
Bicycle is a full-stack customer support service that uses AI to answer customer questions 24/7. The startup says it can eliminate 60-80% of level 1 support cases for $3 per case, earning it am 80% margin. It’s already handled 75,000 conversations with 5 beta customers with a 30-second response time, and it’s growing 20% per week. Since it’s a full-stack service, not just a tool, it can charge much more, and AI makes sure wrong answers don’t reach customers. Support is a massive market where AI could replace costly call center workers.
Visualizing data is harder than it should be. Vize makes software that creates beautiful and interactive data visualizations that can be edited on the fly. Businesses can change values of their data right in the charts. That’s extremely useful for businesses researching what-if scenarios. It’s racked up $450,000 in annual recurring revenue in 3 months, and has clients like KPMG and the French Ministry Of Defense. Every business is becoming data driven, and Vize lets them see what they’re doing.
Americans spent $1 billion on meditation in 2015, and $2 billion in 2016. This is the beginning of a mindfulness movement that Simple Habit wants to monetize. Simple Habit’s founder Yunha Kim was burned out after selling her last startup Locket. She found that most meditation apps only offer a few meditation programs or teachers. So she left Stanford’s business school to build Simple Habit, which has 60 teachers with 1000 topics. That way, you can get purpose-made content to help you get to sleep, relieve stress, or prepare to speak in public. It’s grown to $600,000 in annual recurring revenue since launching six months ago. Yoga went from a niche activity to a huge business in a few years, and now meditation is starting that same hockey-stick moment.
Photography services is a $30 billion market, but the experience involves annoying comparison shopping, frustrating scheduling and delays, and high prices. Snappr lets you instead book a pre-vetted photographer through its app in just a minute and can soon be shooting photos at $59 an hour. Snappr can charge so little because most photographers waste a ton of time trying to book gigs rather than working them, but Snappr routes jobs to them automatically. It’s growing 75% per month and has a $1 million run rate thanks to customers like Uber and Groupon who use it to shoot product photography. Snappr wants to be the Uber of photography, taking a hyper-fragmented market of individual workers and giving them a logistics too to maximize the hours they spend getting paid.
Bookkeeping is a $57 billion industry but it’s riddled with human errors and inefficiencies. IQBoxy makes a mobile app that uses machine learning to scan physical or digital receipts and invoices, parse the data, and reconcile the finances with your bank. It handles end-to-end bookkeeping with no humans involved instead of just handing small parts of the expense chain. IQBoxy is growing 30% monthly and has processed 1.2 million receipts and invoices. Now it has a product called IQBoxy For Accountants, which lets accountants avoid busy work by freely registering their clients for IQBoxy’s paid service. The tech has finally arrived to leave the chore of bookkeeping to the machines.
Beek claims to be the biggest book review site in Lat in America, with more than 150,000 weekly active users submitting an average of five reviews a week. User reviews are no longer than a tweet and use emoji, and also allows readers to leave reviews as they’re reading, so many review books multiple times. Today the company is focused on booke reviews, but has plans to expand into other types of emdia and experiences, to become the review site for everything in Latin America.
Bulk MRO wants to become the Alibaba for enterprises in India, providing a one-stop shop for all the industrial tools they might need. The company is already at a $4.3 million GMV annual run rate and has $1.1 million in orders for the next quarter, and it’s profitable. 22 of Bulk MRO’s customers are Fortune 500 companies and more than 89 percent of its orders are repeat business. The company is going after the $20 billion market of industrial products sold every year, which is expected to double by 2022.
Soomgo has created a marketplace that helps local service providers in South Korea find new customers. Unlike the U.S., which has Yelp, Angie’s List, and other marketplaces for local service providers, South Korea is home to more than 1.5 million businesses spending an average of $500 a month on advertising. With Soomgo, they buy credits upfront to be connected with potential customers and try to win their business. Soomgo already has more than 30,000 service providers signed up and is making over $50,000 a month in net revenues.
Cartcam – Shopping app for the Snapchat generation
Cartcam is a shopping platform that gives people discounts for creating short video reviews. The company hopes to take advantage of the trend of consumers who are 85% more likely to purchase an item after watching a video. Cartcam incentivizes mobile creators to review items by offering them discounts on the items they want to buy. Already 12 percent of users place an order through the platform, and they are all creating content for Cartcam. The company makes money by partnering with brands who pay for the discounts in exchange for content that will sell more goods for them.
Pit.ai is an AI-powered hedge fund that charges no management fees. The company has built AI to create new trading strategies that allows it to cut out the money other hedge funds pay their traders. Instead of taking management fees, Pit.ai only takes a cut of profits it generates on behalf of clients. That means it only makes money when its clients make money.
SmartAlto – Software suite for commercial real estate
SmartAlto helps commercial real estate owners to win and close deals faster. Rather than keep all of their files and communications in email and spreadsheets, SmartAlto allows those customers to have a single hub for all their people, communications and deals. The platform helps them organize prospects, conduct due diligence and keep track of all processes all the way to closing. There are more than 2 million commercial real estate professionals in the U.S. operating in a $3.6 billion industry, but SmartAlto wants to expand to banks and government agencies after that.
XIX.ai – Predictive assistant that anticipates your needs
Founded by AI researchers from OpenAI, Google Research and the University of Berkeley, XIX was built to actively predict what users want to do at any time. Based on user behavior, the service has a 90 percent prediction rate — which means 9 out of 10 times it knows what a user wants to do before they do. Once it gets to 99 percent, XIX believes that users will never have to click through to various apps to complete various tasks, as long as they have an Android mobile phone.
Zestful – Employee activities as a subscription service
Zestful provides a subscription service through which companies pay them $100 per employee each month. Employees then go onto the platform and vote on a number of activities that they want to do, and Zestful’s software books those activities for them. Team activities are the best way to increase productivity, and companies spent $3 billion on team activities last year. However many companies, even if they have budget, don’t do activities because no one wants to plan them. Zestful solves that problem for them. Although it just launched in San Francisco, Zestful already has 16 companies on board.
Arthena has built a platform to make smart decisions around investing in art — it knows what to buy, when to sell, and how to make money. There was $70 billion in art traded last year, but it’s a market that’s highly inefficient. Arthena uses its knowledge of the art market to allow investors to make art just another part of a diversified investment portfolio, and has raised $20 million in funds over the last 10 weeks to invest.
The Mednet is a network of oncologists who are trying to treat cancer. It allows them to share knowledge with each other, helping the 80 percent of oncologists who are generalists to improve treatment. The company makes money by helping to speed up clinical trials, connecting pharma companies with the oncologists who are treating particular problems. Today, 70 percent of clinical trials are delayed due to enrollment problems, and the Mednet thinks it can change that.
Penny provides an app that helps normal people understand their finances and to improve them. On the back end Penny tracks your income and spending, and on the front end uses a chat interface to provide personal coaching to its users. It can acquire new users for $2 a piece, and has rolled out a premium membership that hundreds of users are already paying for. Users on average have cut spending by 16 percent in targeted categories, and 15 percent of users click through to affiliates it suggests to help them lower their debt.
Moneytis wants to provide a cheaper way for customers to send money between two countries. Users simply say how much they want to send and where they want to send it, and Moneytis finds the best way to send that money. Over the past 10 weeks alone, Moneytis has transferred $3 million for its users. Every year, 250 million people send $600 billion dollars internationally, and businesses send $25 trillion. That’s a huge market Moneytis wants to own.
Hogaru provides professional cleaning services to small and medium sized businesses in Latin America. The cost of acquiring a cleaner in Latin America is much lower than in the U.S., and Hogaru keeps those cleaners by hiring them as actual employees. As a result, it can attract and employ cleaners at a fraction of the cost of what it would take in the U.S. Since they are treated as employees, those cleaners are much less likely to churn and the company can control their schedules. The lifetime value of customers is 14 times the cost of acquisition, and the company makes more than $240,000 revenue each month.
Bulletin finds premium retail locations, sets them up to look like Apple Stores, and then allows brands to pre-pay for space. Brands are already spending $2,000 upfront per month for just 8 square feet of space on Bulletin. The company can onboard brands in just five days and make their products available for sale. There are 10 million brands on Etsy, Shopify, Squarespace and Amazon, and pop-up stores are a $20 billion industry. By lowering the price, making it turnkey and making premium real estate accessible, Bulletin hopes to change how the industry is run.
Sycamore allows any company to add a driver in less than 5 minutes. That’s important because drivers are making so little some are sleeping in their own cars. Sycamore removes unnecessary steps and pools for good drivers. Companies lower their acquisition costs by 70%. The company launched 3 weeks ago and has completed 640 jobs with 2x’s weekly growth and 14% commission for drivers. Any company can also deploy surge pricing, creating a better backbone for driver delivery.
Aella endeavors to give low-income people credit in Africa. More than 90% of the continent can’t access credit and 425 million people can’t get mid-sized loans. The reasons are various but have much to do with approving credit. However, McKenzi says this is a potential $10 billion industry in Africa. Aella built a way to get a mid-size loan ($500 and above) by allowing access to credit through data partnerships like HR data and biometrics. So far Aella has given $1.47 away and says it has a good repayment rate. How’s it working out so far? There are currently 300 companies on the waiting list for Aella with $36 million in combined income.
Tolemi – Software to help cities find distressed properties
A self-described Palantir for city government, Tolemi is building a data hub to connect all the city property data, starting with vacant properties. Tolemi works by hooking into government data within cities and connecting that data to show city government where potential problems are. In the 11 months since launch, Tolemi already has $1.3 m under contract and a $800 ARR. It is currently being used in 54 cities and with a team of just four people, Tolemi says it is already profitable. Something that used to be done by hiring contractors to take a lot of time and cost thousands of dollars can now be done in an instant and helps with Urban planning, identifying fire hazards, vacancies and other things a city might want to know.
Niles is a wiki you can talk to in Slack. This bot answers internal team questions instead of digging through Google Doc or Sharepoint to get them. If you want to know what the discount for an enterprise customer is you just ask Niles, for instance. Niles will find answers in your spreadsheet and other materials to save you time and frustration searching. The team comes from Google, Palantir, and Apartment List. It said it also launched to TechCrunch last week and blew up (this is the first this writer has heard of the product). It’s a $27 b market and claims 700 teams signed up in one week.
Calling someone is 16x’s more effective than email but if you have to do it yourself you’ll take a long time to call a bunch of people. Upcall makes it easy to call people by connecting you to a network of call agents working from home. You can listen in on the calls and get feedback in real-time. Right now Upcall has a 100 agent network and has conducted over 85k minutes. It also claims over 350 customers like LG, Coldwell Banker, and others to call people for things like debt collection, surveys and more. This is a $23 billion industry in the U.S. and the company plans to expand to several countries in different languages. It has tripled rev since starting YC and says it is building the “call revolution.”
KidPass – One pass for “amazing activities for kids”
KidPass is a ClassPass for kids activities, a $30 billion industry. But it is highly decentralized. KidPass solves this by building one place to discover and book activities for kids. It launched in NYC this year and today has over thousands of activities on the site and claims more than 3,000 families using the service with a $180,000 ARR. Next month it says it will be profitable but also plans to expand the service to include new kid pass exclusive passes. It also works with new providers and inventory to expand the experience. It is currently the largest NYC kids activity marketplace.
HSA’s are a triple advantage savings accounts and the “future” of savings says the founder and will hit a $435 billion market. Lively is a modern HSA that makes it easy to access what you have in the bank. It has already worked out permissions with the bank so you can have the money for what you need. Lively is also creating a healthcare marketplace and is a payments and banking platform.
Indigo Fair is a free, AI-powered platform where retailers can find new products for their store. It allows retailers to A/B test merchandise and they are able to return what doesn’t sell for free as well. The team built Square Cash and one of them headed Square Capital. Local retail in the U.S. is a massive market and “shop local” is a slogan not going away. Most small business owners go to trade shows or buy through independent sales reps but no one has so far figured out how to get them shopping online until now. The company has 30 retailers in the past eight weeks since launch and says it has a high rate of return, potentially worth $450,000 in LTV and has on-boarded 6,000 makers.
Collectly helps doctors collect 2x’s more debt than they have before. It’s a business with $280 billion sent to debt but the debt collectors only collect on average up to 20%. The founder is a former CEO of a debt collection agency and collected over $100 million before. His new startup works by making it easy for debtors to pay what they owe by paying online and setting up payment plans. Collectly launched 3 weeks ago and is growing 20% week-over-week. It has already signed up 14 doctors who pay a 15% fee. So far the startup has been able to collect $65,000 and says that is a 56% success rate vs the debt agencies.
A lot of meeting notes are taken in Evernote but Tetra takes call notes for you by automatically dialing you to merge into the call and then sending you a fully searchable record of the entire conversation. It comes in auto speech only or human edited using a fast transcription feature for 50 cents a minute from humans. There may be some ethical challenges around recording others and each person using the service will need to inform those on the call they are being recorded but with two billion hours of conference calls a year, Tetra plans to take on that market using it’s AI and data. The startup launched on Product Hunt a week ago and now has two paid monthly users.
Deep learning is a huge deal in the tech industry but it’s really hard to get it to work. The founder has been doing deep learning since early days in 2009 and has a plan to make working with it less of a pain by helping you to train and deploy deep learning models. So far the traction seems promising with more than 2500 users and 6,000 on the waiting list since launching 4 weeks ago.Udacity loves Floyd so much, according to the founder, they are switching from AWS to Floyd. The startup is also building a marketplace with 3,000 datasets and 1.5 terabytes of data.
The American Civil Liberties Union was a surprise addition to this YC batch but is at the forefront of the fight against the Trump administration and defending American Values. Director of the ACLU Anthony Romero got a loud applause as he took to the stage to talk about how for 97 years the ACLU has been defending the rights of individuals, including in hard-fought trials such as Scopes (right to teach evolution), Miranda rights, the right to contraception, Loving (the right for interracial couples to marry) and many others. The ACLU has 300 litigators and 1300 staff working to move forward on a broad range of issues. But it is still the David to Goliath as the Trump administration dwarfs it with more than 19,000 lawyers. It needs our help to continue fighting for the rights of immigrants, women, same-sex couples and other disadvantaged groups. An average gift is $70 and ACLU needs our help to cut across party line to instill American Values, defend core civil rights and stand up for the American people.