It’s that time of half-year again, Y Combinator just launched nearly 200 companies into the world on two stages in San Francisco over two days. TechCrunch has comprehensive listings of the Day 1
and Day 2
companies, but I wanted to share my short list. My interests tend to focus on companies that structurally affect industry that change the way that people live and work. Specifically, I tend to gravitate towards products that have high repetition, or high impact, and give leverage to people to live healthier, happier and more prosperous lives.
Y Combinator is a funny thing, by the numbers one of the largest generators of new startups, and one of the most valuable seed stage portfolios in all of venture capital, ever. They have a very specific framework of mentoring their companies and a formula to generate incredible hype around them. When meeting with companies around Demo Day, they never have a deck to present (by design), their valuations skyrocket faster than a SpaceX rocket launch, and the deals are mostly done before Demo Day even begins.
Even though it turns us VCs into frenzied stock pit traders, it is an incredible platform for companies to gain mentorship, build a network, and raise money. I often encourage early entrepreneurs to seriously consider applying to YC, they can add tremendous value to a young startup. And this class, YC W19, as the “insiders” know it, is no different that others, it’s chock-full of exciting entrepreneurs creating new world changing businesses for people and industry. Here is my short list…
: Cuanto is a Latin America-focused SMB payments solution enabling merchants to take payments in popular mobile apps like WhatsApp or Instagram. In one of the worlds fastest growing regions, the ability to easily take payments for small merchants will be a game changer.
: Seawise Capital is providing working capital loans for global exporters starting in India. I’m a big fan of solving cash issues with cash flow-based credit solutions.
: In a similar vain to the above company, Woke focuses on financing eCommerce user acquisition cost, with future sales. Similar to Clearbanc
, this is a simple arbitrage of cash and timing. Traditionally known as “factoring,” with today’s proliferation of data lenders, like Woke, can do a much better job of understanding the credit risk they are taking on.
As I recently wrote, one of the keys to financial stability and financial independence is access to smart credit and global payments networks. CredPal is targeting Africa’s 200M person growing middle class who is largely lacking access to credit. This is a no brainer.
: Dyneti is a merchant solution that reduces credit card fraud and charge backs. Integrated into a mobile application it uses your mobile phone camera and modern payments fraud data to quickly analyze the viability of a card before a purchase can be made. Real time + computer vision = solve fraud. Hand meet glove.
: Despite my own disinterest (I don’t know what’s wrong with me!?), in the age of consumer podcast mania, Brew.com is a subscription service for great content enabling independent creators to get a part of the action. In my mind, this is Netflix of the 2020s for the mobile, millennial generation.
: Marketplaces, they are some of the biggest businesses in the world, Amazon, Ebay. Mage is a marketplace starting in the $50B annual Magic: The Gathering market, the largest trading card game in the world. Use your mobile phone camera to scan the cards you have and it will recognize the identification of the card, suggest a value, and you can quickly list it for sale. What other marketplaces will be more easily enabled through our mobile cameras?
: The efficient shipping of goods is one of the largest and most important parts of our global economy. Nowports is a software system designed for container freight in Latin America to increase efficiency, speed and cost of shipments.
: Manufacturing plants are largely automated, but all too often the automated processes end up creating small errors in products that result in big downstream problems. Overview combines standard web-connected cameras with factory-specific computer vision, to identify production line mistakes before products can ever get out of the factory saving manufactures precious time and real money.
Due to federal regulations the cannabis industry contains tremendous inefficiencies that create big opportunities for startups. Nabis is a logistics provider that physically handles distribution of cannabis products from producer to retail store. FedEx can’t touch the products, so Nabis handles them offering on-time deliveries to keep inventory topped up. The cannabis business will be as big as the alcohol industry, companies like Nabis are cutting paths for the future.
Shrimp is one of the largest healthy global food sources thanks to its low fat and high nutrient content. Unfortunately, much of our global fish supply is being overfished putting us a huge risk of damage to our ecosystem and food supply. Shiok is an animal-less cell based shrimp meat company that tastes great and doesn’t harm our oceans.
: In a case where hours and days matter, Instapath is developing a unique technology to deliver critical results of cancer biopsies within 5 minutes, while you’re still in the doctors office.
These are just a few of the nearly 200 companies that launched at YC this week. It’s exciting to see so many entrepreneurs bringing their backgrounds and experiences to bear, creating new businesses that will change our world. It is indeed, exciting times!