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YC Alumni Go Big: The 15 Most Valuable Y Combinator-Backed Startups

Y Combinator’s (YC) accelerator program promotes promising startups in “batches” by providing them with seed-stage funding and three months of Silicon Valley’s best advice and networking opportunities. The firm gives its startups the materials, know-how, and introductions they need to propel themselves to success.

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YC was founded in 2005, has invested in over 1588 startups and recently began funding and supporting non-profit groups looking to put the Silicon Valley network to good use. The network has grown over the past 13 years, and the the firm’s results indicate that it knows what it’s doing when it comes to picking the best of the bunch.

According to its website YC companies have valuations that combined total more than $80 billion. At least $68.4 billion of that valuation total comes from just 15 of YCs investments, including Airbnb and Dropbox.

When founding the highest valued company to graduate from the YC program thus far, the Airbnb team nearly failed before YC’s Graham accepted them into the program. Airbnb now boasts a reported valuation of $31 billion and is working on going public (but not in 2018). SaaS company Dropbox privately filed to go public earlier this year. Crunchbase News has covered Dropbox’s impending IPO in recent weeks (find everything you need to know about the Dropbox IPO here).

But Y Combinator doesn’t just fund companies, train them, and run. Graduates and members of the YC community are oftentimes part of the club for years after their participation. This is the case of online HR service provider, Gusto, which took part in the YC summer batch of Winter 2012. CEO and co-founder Josh Reeves still interacts with the YC team on a regular basis.

“Some of [the YC team] have become good friends over the years,” he told Crunchbase News in an email. “I also know some fellow entrepreneurs that went through YC with their own companies and ended up returning to become part of the YC staff, which is great for the community.”

He says that they have enjoyed being part of the community.

“My co-founders and I meet with other founders on a regular basis to share advice and learnings, much like other founders did for us in the early years of Gusto.”

In fact, he mentioned that Gusto runs payroll and offers benefits for most of YC’s startups, as it did with companies within its own cohort at YC. And the company is still active during the YC batch season.

“We’ve been so lucky to have the kind of community support that many entrepreneurs don’t get, so we want to pay that forward,” Reeves told Crunchbase News. “That’s why we speak regularly on YC alumni panels, join for Tuesday YC dinners, and help founders whenever they reach out for advice.”

With YC one of the most high-profile clubs to join in the Silicon Valley world, we took a look at the YC alumni that have topped the charts at YC and in the startup world. Crunchbase News has tracked the top 15 Y Combinator companies with the highest valuations to date. The data includes acquisition prices, pre-money valuations, or post-money valuations where available. We have sourced the data in the chart from Crunchbase data and other reliable sources including TechCrunch.

Illustration Credit: Li-Anne Dias