Want to Get into Y Combinator? Check out This Data.

October 27, 2016 - 3 minutes read


Jared Friedman of Y Combinator has shared a fascinating talk that looks at formerly closed data from Y Combinator companies and applications throughout the program’s history, uncovering some fascinating trends in tech funding and cultural interests. For Los Angeles app developers, the presentation is a gold mine of inspiration and “food for thought” about how to look at the big picture of the app development industry — and most importantly, what ideas can be capitalized on in the coming year.

The full talk is embedded here, and we’ve laid out a few of the more compelling trends and statistics revealed below. It’s highly recommended viewing and gives a fun, humorous look at the serious stats underpinning one of the major startup hubs of the US app industry.

First, this data comes from a huge pool: Y Combinator receives over 10,000 applications annually, with individual partners reading as many as 2,000 individual applications apiece. If ever there was a place to glimpse the zeitgeist of the tech scene, this is it.

Trends of the past year so far as applicants were concerned: slack apps and artificial intelligence. Both of these areas were deemed worthy of investigation by Y Combinator, which poured significant revenue into app developers in these arenas. (Including AI learning systems and chatbot-centered services.)

While digital currency-related startups are on the decline, blockchain-centered tech is still trending high.

Friedman points out that female founders are on a steady rise, with 21% of Y Combinator companies having female founders in the last batch. This sounds low to an outsider, but is actually extremely high by industry standards. In spite of recent negative press thanks to Peter Thiel’s backing of Trump, the accelerator as a whole has been actively involved in initiatives to increase female-lead tech projects.

Surprisingly, 18% of founders accepted were over 40 years old, and this holds true across the startup industry in general. The media may highlight and glorify Zuckerburg-type success stories, and it’s true that 15% of founders were under 20, but the atmosphere in-person at Y Combinator events is highly friendly to older applicants.

The most important takeaway from the talk was this: don’t give up if rejected the first time. Over 40% of companies in the last Y Combinator batch had applied before and been rejected. Rather than throwing in the towel, these iOS app developers took another year to hone their products and concepts. This determination to get in is perhaps the most important characteristic found in successful Y Combinator startups.

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