Startups

Morning Report: Six New YC-Backed Startups That Caught Our Eye

Morning Report: Here are some highlights from the newest batch of Y Combinator-backed startups.

Y Combinator demo day is a nearly mythical event in Silicon Valley. The shindig brings together dozens startups, investors of varying pedigree, a celebrity or two, and a grip of press all crammed into a — at least in my personal experience — too-small a room followed by an incredibly lackluster lunch.

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But no one is there for the food. Instead, every startup presenting wants to become the next big unicorn. And every investor in the room wants to be the one who spots the company in the mix that their competitors will miss.

That a company from the mix could become a hit isn’t idle speculation. The incubator, of course, previously backed companies like Airbnb, Zenefits, and Dropbox.

Happily, TechCrunch sent its usual contingent to write briefs about every presenting company that they could. Quickly, here are some highlights from the cohort:

  • Zendar. Better radar (cheaper than LiDAR) for self-driving cars.
  • Mystro. App to help ridesharing drivers maximize their income.
  • Relationship Hero. Crunchbase News awards this a raspberry, as it could diminish the quality of stories told on /r/relationships.
  • Guilded. E-sports player management.
  • Piggy. Self-described as the “Vanguard for India” according to TechCrunch. Long live the gospel of low-cost index funds.
  • Goosebump. Goosebump is a tool built on top of Facebook Messenger, and it earns our second Crunchbase News raspberry. The startup wants to help you find things to do. Pro tip: do fewer things.

Read the full lists for yourself. Can you tell which companies will become the biggest?

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

From the Crunchbase Daily:

VIPKid raises $200M, valued over $1.5B

  • VIPKid, an online education company that matches Chinese students with North American teachers, has closed a $200 million Series D round backed by Tencent and Sequoia Capital. The new financing values the Beijing- based company at more than $1.5 billion, Bloomberg reports.

Blue Apron makes cuts

  • Meal kit provider Blue Apron, which has been grappling with steep stock price declines, has implemented a partial hiring freeze and cut recruiting staff. The New York company, which went public in late June, was also hit this week with shareholder lawsuits alleging that it misrepresented its financial condition.

Round size impacts chances of future funding

  • Startups with larger seed investments have a better shot at closing the next round, but only up to a point. A Crunchbase News analysis found that for rounds up to about $2.5 million, each half-million dollar chunk of financing resulted in a marginal increase in the likelihood of raising a Series A round. The amount of money raised for Series A, however, doesn’t have much impact on chances of closing a Series B round.
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