Earlier today, 75 startups crammed into the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif., for the annual YC Demo Day, a quick-pitch event for fledgling tech companies backed by Y Combinator.
In some cases, the pitches (and T-shirts) felt…predictable. At least one tech company, Weave, described itself as the “Tinder for” something else, in this case networking. The instant-gratification trend was in full effect, with on-demand or personalized services promising massages, security guards, artisanal coffee and tailored shirts. An online therapy startup, while seemingly well-meaning, pitched with the unfortunate name “Pretty Padded Room.”
But many companies have proposed ideas or services bigger in scope. At least four — BitAccess, Filecoin, Shift and OneName — were centered on the cryptocurrency bitcoin. Others focused on quantum computing, big data and health.
And for the first time, Y Combinator has included in its roster a couple of nuclear power companies and five biotech startups.
It would be pretty boring if we detailed every company, so instead, we asked some startups to explain what their companies do in six seconds or less on Vine. We even asked one famous angel investor (who has, shall we say, pivoted from his previous role) what he was most looking forward to seeing at today’s YC Demo Day.
This Delhi-based startup says it makes taxes less onerous for consumers in India. Ankit Solanki gives us his pitch.
This one is pretty self-explanatory (see photo above).
A clear crowd-pleaser at this year’s Demo Day, this startup says that it has been contesting, on average, 400 parking tickets per month in San Francisco — and that it wants to expand its services to other areas. Co-founder David Hegarty gave us his super-short pitch.
UPower believes it can help power homes in remote areas without access to electricity. Don’t quite understand nuclear fission? That’s okay. We didn’t fully grasp it, either, so we asked Jacob Dewitte to drill it down for us.
Do women talk differently among female friends than they do on Facebook? That’s the idea behind Women.com, a women-only social network. Co-founder Susan Johnson, who previously worked at Facebook and Photobucket, gives us her quick pitch.
While the Immunity Project has sparked some debate, Y Combinator is clearly not one of the skeptics. Here, Dr. Reid Rubsamen, co-founder and CEO, briefly explains what the organization does. In his onstage pitch, he said, “During the course of this talk, seven people have died of AIDS.”
Can software make speakers “smarter”? Beep thinks so. Here’s how the company brings more oomph to speakers:
Cancer sucks, no way around it. PicnicHealth believes it can make managing medical files a bit less onerous for cancer patients.
If a synthetic-biology company doesn’t really seem like the typical Demo Day company, that’s because it isn’t: This is the first year that Y Combinator has brought biotech companies into the fold. Here, Barry Canton of Boston-based Ginkgo Bioworks breaks it down.
Legendary footballer Joe Montana isn’t new to tech. He told Re/code reporter Kurt Wagner that he and his wife have been coming to YC Demo Day since 2012, and last year he invested in corporate software company CoreOS. So what is he most looking forward to seeing at today’s YC Demo Day?
How is this year’s YC Demo Day different from previous ones? Y Combinator President Sam Altman tells us.