March 11, 2018
Savannah Dowling is a reporter at Crunchbase News.
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Y Combinator’s accelerator is widely sought after, with startups from all around the world applying to join the ranks of the organization. Why that is might seem like a silly question, but we decided to put numbers to the hype.

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In late February, Crunchbase News broke down the 15 most highly valued Y Combinator alumni with Airbnb, Zenefits, and Quora making the cut. YC’s second most highly valued alumni, Dropbox, recently filed to go public (for everything you need to know about that click here). It is the first YC startup to dive into public waters, and with a reported private valuation of $10 billion, it is likely to make a huge splash upon entry.

With that in mind, we took a look back on Y Combinator’s biggest exits and found that the aggregate cost of the top ten totals more than $2.5 billion. The exited group consists of companies ranging from video game streaming service Twitch to car monitoring device manufacturer Automation.

The largest of the exited bunch is Cruise Automation, an autonomous vehicle company founded in 2013 by Kyle Vogt, who is also a founder of Twitch which came in second on the list.

According to Crunchbase, Cruise raised $4.3 million in its Seed round in 2014, and took part in

the winter 2014 YC batch along with Flexport, Zesty, Unbabel and others. In 2015 the company raised a Series A that brought in $12.5 million. That same year it raised a $2 million Convertible Note backed by Qualcomm, bringing the known total funds raised to $18.8 million before it was acquired by automotive giant General Motors for a reported price of more than $1 billion in 2016

The company has certainly put that money where its mouth is. According to TechCrunch, Cruise and GM unveiled their fourth generation fully electric steering wheel-less vehicle, and submitted a proposal to the national Highway and Traffic Safety Administration to deploy the car in 2019.

Another YC-backed company that exited with a bang is Heroku, a cloud based app development platform founded in 2007 which was acquired by Salesforce in 2010 for $212 million. The company, founded by Adam Wiggins, Orion Henry, and James Lindenbaum, raised just $20,000 in its Seed round in 2008. By the time of its acquisition it had raised a $3 million Series A in 2008 followed by a $10 million Series B in 2010 bringing its total known funding to $13 million.

We relied on Crunchbase data and reporting from sources like TechCrunch, Bloomberg, and others to bring you this data. The companies are ordered by acquisition price from most to least expensive.

Illustration Credit: Li Anne Dias