Start-up incubator Y Combinator held a Demo Day earlier this week for 63 start-ups, its biggest batch to date, with more than 30 of the companies pitching to investors.
Established in 2005, US-based Y Combinator invests a small amount of money – the average amount is $18,000 – into a large number of start-ups twice a year.
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The start-ups move to Silicon Valley for three months, during which time Y Combinator works extensively with them to hone their offering and refine their pitch.
Each cycle culminates in a Demo Day where the start-ups present to a large audience of investors, with the aim of raising new financing.
However, Y Combinator’s involvement doesn’t end there. The Y Combinator network continues to help the founders of each start-up throughout the life of the company.
Y Combinator grew to 63 companies in its latest batch, a sizeable jump from the 40-plus in its latest batch.
“We didn’t become less selective. We funded 3% of the applicants just like we always do,” Y Combinator co-founder Paul Graham told All Things Digital.
“It’s just a larger percentage of the total pool of start-ups is coming through Y Combinator.”
The start-ups range from enterprise orientation tools and online advertising services to consumer photo services and daily deals sites. Some of the standouts include:
Aisle50, which describes itself as “Groupon for groceries”, was founded by former Forbes journalist Christopher Steiner along with Riley Scott and George Korsnick.
Customers buy daily deals on the Aisle50 site and use them by swiping supermarket loyalty cards they already have. In essence, it’s an electronic take on the coupons that many customers have already gotten into the habit of searching for.
“Groupon and other daily deals sites have offered deals that were for values of about $6 or $8 and sold thousands of them,” Steiner says.
“There have been plenty of low value deals that sell very, very well. It doesn’t seem to be a barrier for consumers.”
Munch On Me is based on a similar concept, promoting daily deals for food, while Picplum prints and sends photos of users’ children to grandparents and family members once a month.
Of course, not all the start-ups are based on a B2C model – PageLever provides analytics for Facebook pages and Interviewstreet helps companies hire the best programmers.
Vidyard is described as “YouTube for business” while Can’tWait! uses trailers to get users to suggest upcoming media releases they want to watch, and then sells it to them when the media is released.