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Please began two years ago as simply a long list of startups.  I’ve since added various features, including filtering by market for the companies and this blog.  Y Combinator Universe has been mentioned on Business Insider and San Francisco Chronicle.  All of the time and money for this has come out of my own pocket.  I’d like to raise some funds to improve the site’s design, cover my hosting expenses, incorporate my own unfunded startup, and perhaps get some equipment to do new things like video interviews and pay guest bloggers. So please take a moment and throw in a few bucks.

Paul Graham Creates New Secret Handshake


One dog goes one way, the other dog goes the other way.In a new essay, Paul Graham suggests Silicon Valley adopt standards for doing handshake agreements.  The goal is faster deal flow.  Startups and investors would be able to confidently reach a meeting of the minds on the essential terms of a transaction prior to drafting and signing any paperwork.  The need for such protocol results from character traits inherent in both founders and investors.  Founders, through wishful thinking and/or lack of experience, frequently misunderstand the specifics of what technically constitutes an agreement.  Investors likewise tend to do business in such a way as to both avoid commitment and provide themselves with ways to back out of a deal. Continue reading

Support, Get Official HN T-Shirt

Teespring Watsi

Hacker News: Wear Something People Want.

Support non-profit and get an official Hacker News t-shirt. is a startup that allows people to crowdfund awesome custom apparel with no up-front cost and no risk. enables people to directly fund low-cost, high-impact medical treatments for people in need,  as previously reported here.  Teespring and Watsi are teaming up for a good cause.  For the next five days, contributing just $13 to this campaign on Teespring will get you a Hacker News t-shirt and all proceeds benefit Watsi.  The shirts are high-quality screen prints, American Apparel material, choice of black or slate grey, and available in either normal or ladies’ fit.  The t-shirts do not have any words on them.  However, there’s an interesting discussion on HN: What phrase would you put on an official Hacker News t-shirt? Continue reading

Stripe Is The Next Dropbox Or Airbnb

Dropbox Airbnb Stripe Patrick Collison John Collison Auctomatic Live Current Media PayPal Elon Musk Peter Thiel Max Levchin

stripeOn Quora and elsewhere, the question I get asked most often about Y Combinator is… “Who’s the next Dropbox or Airbnb?”  I’m now confident enough to call it: Stripe is the next Dropbox or Airbnb.

Stripe is very popular with developers, a good indicator for Google-like success.  And like Airbnb, Stripe presumably makes money from every transaction.  I admittedly don’t know anything about Stripe’s financials.  However, Stripe received YC funding less than a few years ago.  Top Silicon Valley VC’s that do know Stripe’s numbers already have Stripe’s most recent valuation estimated at 500 million dollars.  And SecondMarket informally has Stripe valued at a billion dollars.  Stripe also keeps generating positive news, by improving its serviceglobal expansion (first to Canadathen the U.K.), and today by making its first acquisition. Continue reading

Y Combinator’s Universe

ycuniverseY Combinator’s universe is more vast than you might initially think.  There’s Y Combinator itself, consisting of at least 14 partners and advisors.  Paul Graham inherently means YC’s universe includes the Lisp programming language and Arc dialect.  The other partners are also all interesting characters, like Robert T. Morris and the Gmail creator, Paul “Don’t Be Evil” Buchheit.  YC funded companies total more than four hundred known startups, across at least thirty distinct markets.  YC’s alumni network is over a thousand people.  Twice a year, there’s also the process of applications and interviews.  Then between January-March and June-August there’s YC’s three month start-up program.  The program culminates in the semi-annual Demo Day.  YC’s universe also includes Hacker News, which now reaches 200,000 daily visitors.  Also the annual one-day Startup School, held at Stanford University.

And as always, the universe is expanding. Continue reading

Big Data is Big Business

Oracle IBM EMC Semantics3 Zillabyte Citus Data Mixpanel Chartio Leftronic GinzaMetrics

icebergConsider the companies selling big data products: Oracle, IBM, MicrosoftEMC.  Generally speaking, big data refers to extremely large volumes of unstructured data.  Such data is also called “dark data“, because it results in missed opportunities when not put to immediate use.  Problem is not enough talented people are working on big data.  And that means the market for such information remains limited to a small amount of sellers and buyers.  Such a situation, along with new data constantly being generated at an increasing rate, results in an industry ripe for disruptive innovation. Continue reading

MYO Armband: Unleash Your Inner Jedi

Thalmic Labs

myosThalmic Labs is a startup in YC’s current batch.  Demo Day is still a few weeks away, but Thalmic Labs’ MYO Armband has already gotten buzz from press like Engadget, Wired, and NewScientist.  MYO (rhymes with Leo) gets its name from the Greek “myos”, meaning “muscle”.  Wearing the one-size-fits-all armband allows gesture control of your computer or smartphone.  MYO works by detecting electrical activity generated through arm movementconnects wirelessly to your device using Bluetooth, and supports programming interfaces for developers.

MYO Armband is available for pre-order now for $149 with delivery planned for later this year.  Products like this always start out as really ambitions ideas.  For any would-be founders, Y Combinator is especially interested in funding hardware startups.  Embedded below is a YouTube video of MYO in action. Continue reading

Upverter Hackathon Recap

Upverter Pebble Octopart CircuitHub Lockitron Double Robotics Boosted Boards

upverter_hackathon_at_ycUpverter held a hardware hackathon at Y Combinator HQ last Saturday, posting photos of the event and a recap on the Upverter blog.  Setup began at 7 in the morning and clean-up finished after 11 at night.  The hackathon had 300 applicants that resulted in over 130 attendees, 32 submitted hacks, 30 one-minute presentations, and 11 awards being handed out. Continue reading

New Payment Solutions from Balanced, WePay, & Stripe

Balanced WePay Stripe

secure_connectionFinancial services and payment processing comprise well over a dozen of the companies funded by Y Combinator.  Balanced, WePay, and Stripe have all recently announced new products for businesses.

Balanced has added support for bank payments to its API, as reported by TechCrunch’s Ryan Lawler.  This new functionality enables third-party developers to create web forms that allow customers to pay with their bank account.  Balanced also recently announced a stand-alone Payouts API.  Balanced, from YCW11, provides two-sided payment API’s for processingpayout, and marketplaces.  By focusing on peer-to-peer marketplaces, Balanced creates solutions for organizations that need to both receive payments from customers and also pay service providers and sellers. Continue reading