Trends from Y Combinator’s Winter 2021 Demo Day

On March 26th, Y Combinator (YC) showcased its largest batch to date. This was the third time YC held its Demo Day via a live stream and the second time the entire program was held virtually. It was a full-day event where a record number of startups, 319, pitched their projects to invited investors. It was a long day both for startups and investors (and for the YC team).

The Demo Day started with the presentation of Geoff Ralston, President of Y Combinator, who gave a snapshot of the YC Community.

Here are some numbers that he mentioned below. From a look at the statistics below, it’s safe to say that YC is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, flagship startup organizations globally. It’s been amazing to watch them grow and adapt over the past decade.

· Number of startups in the Winter 2021 Batch: 350

· Number of YC Founders: 6000

· Number of YC Companies that valued more than $150M: 125

· Number of YC Companies that valued more than $1B: 30

· Combined value of YC Companies: $300B

· Number of jobs that YC startups created: 60,000+

After Ralston, Michael Siebel, the CEO of YC, took over and presented some statistics about the Demo Day we were about to partake in:

· 319 companies presenting

· Percentage of companies outside the US: 50% (the previous batch was 38%)

· Percentage of companies with a female founder: 19%

· Percentage of companies with a black founder: 7%

· Percentage of companies with a Latinx founder: 13%

Despite the efforts encouraging more women to found companies, the percentage of companies with a female founder dropped to 19% from the previous batch’s 27.5%. YC is making a lot of effort to attract female founders but the drop in the number of female founders mirrors the studies that show that “by almost every measure women are being disproportionately impacted by the global pandemic”.

The other notable statistic is the increase in the percentage of companies outside the US from 38% to 50%. This may be also attributed to Covid-19 as startups around the world have become more acutely aware that going global is important.

If we look at the startups in the batch by category, we see that B2B startups are dominating the batch:

Developer Tools and FinTech are on the rise. There were just 24 startups that are in the Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning domain among the 319 which was really surprising. Given the popularity of AI, we would expect more startups in the AI/ML domain. Also of note is that while we would expect more EdTech startups given that EdTech has gained such traction in popularity due to Covid-19, there were only 17 startups of the 319 with this focus.

As mentioned, half of the batch was from outside the US. Even though startups from India and Latin America are leading, we do see a notable increase in the numbers of European startups.

Each startup that presented had only 1 minute to tell its story! It is very impressive that founders pitched in just 1 minute! There were several coffee breaks for investors to gather their notes and to do some stretching. We will see in the coming days which of these startups will gain more traction and will create economic impact. It was a well-designed and another impressive Demo Day by Y Combinator which deserves lots of kudos!

Congratulations W21!

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