“As of now, 37 YC cos have valuations of or sold for at least $40m.” That’s according to a recent tweet by Paul Graham. Mr. Graham elaborates in a follow-up tweet that 37 is from a total 511 companies. So about 7% of all YC companies either are, or were at the time of their exit, worth at least $40 million dollars. I have posted below completely unofficial amounts for all publicly known exits by YC companies. There’s also some thoughtful discussion about this on Hacker News.
“Now most of the fundraising immediately after Demo Day is on [convertible] notes,” writes Paul Graham in a comment. That approach by venture capitalists implies that investors are significantly more cautious than they have been previously. The comment by Paul Graham also means the total value of Y Combinator’s portfolio is greater than any official number. As PG explains, “Since a note doesn’t establish a valuation, [Y Combinator] adds zero to the total valuation for those companies. So the number you get by dividing the total valuation by 511 ends up being pretty conservative; it’s equivalent to assuming all the companies that have raised money on notes will go out of business.”
Lets look at all this objectively, though. Paul Graham’s number of 37 includes companies with “valuations of or sold for” $40m going back to 2005. And as he himself has stated, “Valuations are fiction.” So if you remove the valuation companies from the 37 companies, that leaves the exits.
My own database can be filtered for an unofficial list of all known exits by Y Combinator companies. Of the 50 known exits, I have unofficial estimated amounts for 22 of those companies. Here they are, from greatest exit amount to least amount:
|280 North||20m||Motorola||YC W08|
|Auctomatic||5m||Live Current Media||YC W07|
Six of the 22 companies had exits above $40 million dollars. That would mean one of two things. 31 of the 37 companies worth $40m or more is based on the company’s valuation rather than actual exit amount. Or there’s more exits valued at $40 million dollars or more than I’m considering. Once again, I only have unofficial amounts for 22 of the 50 known exits by Y Combinator companies.
This post has a follow-up ( 37 YC Startups Valued Over $40m Revisited ).