We put together a list of the top YC companies by valuation as of October 2018. You can see that list at https://ycombinator.com/topcompanies.

Here’s a Q&A with Peter Reinhardt, Cofounder of Segment, one of the companies featured on the list.


What does Segment make/do?

Segment provides the customer data infrastructure that businesses use to put their customers first. With Segment, companies can collect, unify, and connect their first-party data to over 200 marketing, analytics, and data warehousing tools. Today, over 19,000 companies across 71 countries use Segment, from fast-growing businesses such as Atlassian, Bonobos, and Instacart to some of the world’s largest organizations like Levi’s, Intuit, and Time. Segment enables these companies to achieve a common understanding of their users and make customer-centric decisions.

How many employees does Segment have?

~330

How many founders?

4 founders originally, only 3 involved in the company for the past 3 years: Peter Reinhardt, Calvin French-Owen, Ilya Volodarsky.

What is your most impressive recent product milestone?

The launch of Protocols at Segment’s second annual Synapse conference. Protocols is the data governance offering that rounds out Segment’s Customer Data Infrastructure.

What is the larger impact / societal impact of your product in the space you work within?

Historically, companies have relied on Customer Relationship Management (CRM) to understand their customers. However, the exponential growth of connected activity in recent years, as well as the proliferation and fragmentation of channels where businesses interact with their customers, has created a technological challenge that CRM can no longer solve.

Businesses are now expected to consistently understand who their customers are, and provide highly relevant, contextualized experiences across every line of business and through every channel. CRM fails to capture many key interactions that occur across a company’s digital properties. As a result, IT departments are often forced to manually piece together their CRM with a patchwork of applications, integrations, and data pipelines.

Companies need a single infrastructure that can easily capture customer interactions from every touchpoint, ensure that data is accurate and consistent across the organization, and automatically integrate that data into the tools where it’s needed to provide seamless customer experiences.

Customer Data Infrastructure (CDI), a new software category that gives companies the data foundation they need to put their customers at the heart of every decision. CDI is designed to be the core infrastructure for first-party customer data, allowing companies to consistently provide the seamless experiences that their customers want and need, no matter where they engage.

What’s an interesting element of Segment’s company culture?

The trees! Segment’s collective obsession with trees started as a result of the original product diagram. When you drew out how analytics.js sat on top of a business’ site, collecting the customer data interactions happening there and fanning it out to a multitude of integrations, the data diagram looked like a tree, where the data originated at the root, Segment was the trunk, and the integrations were the branches and leaves. Now, trees permeate every aspect of Segment’s culture, from the way living plants are used in every part of every office (even earning praise from the Wall Street Journal), to the way meeting rooms are named in HQ (after trees on one floor, and animals that live in trees on another floor), to the way we codename goals and our internal framework of company focus areas.

Read more about Segment’s founding story in this recent YC podcast/video: