‘Shopify For X,’ COVID Startups Rule At Virtual YC Demo Days 

Y Combinator’s Summer 2020 batch was the first to be completely virtual from interview to Demo Day. And as the pandemic has shaped the world around us over the past few months, it’s also shaped many of the companies presenting at the two-day Zoom pitch event on Monday and Tuesday.

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There were plenty of virtual events platforms, telemedicine, edtech startups, and various delivery services and platforms, and they made note of the pandemic and how their company fits into a COVID-19 world. 

But there were also a lot of other recurring themes throughout Demo Day: proptech, various “Shopify for X” concepts, and companies looking to bring the solutions created by startups in the U.S. to other countries. The YC Summer 2020 batch included 197 startups, with 36 percent of them being international. Women led 16 percent of the companies, 6 percent had Black founders, and 10 percent had a Latinx founder, according to the startup accelerator. 

Besides COVID-related startups, here are a few other trends we identified among the startups pitching.

X for X Country 

Shopify for X

If there was one company that got a lot of love from the YC startups that presented on Monday and Tuesday, it was Shopify. There were at least seven startups that mentioned being “Shopify for X.” Here’s our count:

  • Sutra – Shopify for fitness instructors
  • Orchata – Shopify for online grocery
  • Virtually – Shopify for online schools
  • Bikayi – Shopify for India
  • Epihub – Shopify for anyone teaching online
  • Orange Health – Shopify for doctors 
  • Farel – Shopify for regional airlines

Other notable Shopify mentions were from Jika, which aims to do A/B testing for Shopify, and Once, which is building mobile-optimized storefronts for Shopify. You get the idea–everyone wants to be Shopify.


There were also a decent number of proptech companies pitching on both days, covering property management, inspections, design and rentals. We already mentioned Flat and Sakneen, but here are some others:

  • Atmos – a platform where the homebuilding experience is completely online
  • Glimpse – a B2B marketplace for brands to buy product placements in short-term rentals
  • Inspectify – a managed marketplace for home inspections
  • Ladder – a labor marketplace for construction
  • Oico – a B2B marketplace for construction material in Brazil
  • Seam – an API for building automation
  • Toolbox – an on-demand labor marketplace for skilled construction workers

Our Personal Favorites

From Christine: 

On Day One my fave was inSoma Bio. I’m the daughter and granddaughter of breast cancer survivors, which is why this was one of the startups that stuck out. The Durham, North Carolina, company is developing a gel that plastic surgeons can use to rebuild fat. CEO Stefan Roberts said it would mean breast cancer patients wouldn’t need implants following a procedure such as a mastectomy.

For Day Two, I thought Dapi was a cool one. The San Francisco-based startup is developing a platform that accepts instant bank payments within any app. What stood out to me is that the platform is designed to integrate with any bank, and CEO Mohammed Aziz mentioned that Dapi is building the next Visa and will be integrated with every U.S. bank in six months.

From Sophia:

My Day One pick was Adyn, a company that identifies the best birth control for a woman based on her genetic and hormonal profile. Selecting birth control today involves too much trial and error, and many women end up trying different types to find the best fit for them. Knowing up front how certain types of birth control will affect you based on your genetic and hormonal profile can save women time, money and hardship.

My Day Two pick was Jumpstart, which helps international companies incorporate in the U.S. The company, which is already profitable, seems to streamline a lot of the work that goes into incorporating and managing a business in the U.S.

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

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