When I think Y Combinator, I think a couple of scrappy college dropout co-founders for whom living on ramen is more than proverbial and coding is life. They pitch an idea, come out to California, drink in some startupy goodness and maybe make something of it.
But that incubator model, now five years old and widely replicated, is changing. At today’s Demo Day, Y Combinator’s “here’s what I did with my three months” set of presentations given to a group mainly composed of angel investors, a quarter of the 26 participating companies already had funding in the bank in addition to what Y Combinator gave them, said co-founder Jessica Livingston.
Others in the group have funding committed in the form of term sheets, to the point where some were turning away investors. One, Cardpool, which Om recently profiled, declined to give out growth stats out of a stated concern that they would be too impressive and encourage competition. “We’re just about to close our round and we’re massively oversubscribed,” said the company’s presenter.
I’m here at Y Combinator headquarters in Mountain View, California, where over two dozen startups are showing off their wares to a room full of investors and press. The room is packed with with some of Silicon Valley’s most highly regarded VCs, angel investors, and entrepreneurs.
Demo Day has always drawn big crowds, but as the Y Combinator program has matured the quality of startups presenting has gotten noticably better (I remember being thoroughly impressed by many of the companies that launched in the last batch). Today’s companies look like they’ll be continuing that trend, even though many of them are only three months old.
At 1:00 pm (PDT) today I'll be interviewing Dropbox founder Drew Houston. Tune into Justin.tv (http://www.justin.tv/jessicaycombinator#r=XHx3dbY~&s=li) to watch the interview live. Hear about Drew's adventure from single founder to Sequoia-funded company with more than 4 million users!(The photo is from YC summer 2007 in Cambridge)
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