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 Stephen Lake, Aaron Grant, and Matt Bailey, Cofounders of Thalmic, one of the companies featured on the list.
What does Thalmic make/do?
Thalmic builds consumer wearable technology that is there when you need it, and invisible when you don’t, with a goal of helping us stay present and focused in the world around us.
How many employees does Thalmic have?
Just under 500
How many founders?
What is your most impressive recent product milestone?
Coming soon 🙂
What is the larger impact / societal impact of your product in the space you work within?
We’re focused on designing products around the human experience – specifically to help us stay focused and present in the world around us. Our belief is that technology, if done right, can be a magical force that extends our abilities and makes us more effective at achieving what we care about, rather than being a distraction that pulls us away more and more from what is important to us.
What’s an interesting element of Thalmic’s company culture?
We’re not a silicon valley company; Being based in the North gives us a bit of a different world view and perspective. We’re located in an area that is highly diverse as a society, and outside the “bubble” of technology, so it helps ground the products we’re building to what is happening in other areas of the world.
Looking back, what motivated you to start Thalmic?
An interest in how computing has evolved, the impact it’s had on our lives, and the potential to help shape a positive north star for how it can evolve in the future.
Is what you’re working on now the original idea or did you pivot?
We’ve always been working on the same long-term vision and maintained the same values as an organization, but the products we’re working on today are radically different than the first product we launched several years ago.
Were there moments where you thought the company might die? Describe one of those and anything you learned from it.
We had an inflection point earlier in the company where our focus was split between a new category and product we were working on, and an iterative version of an earlier product. Both were ambitious and challenging. Our learning was that we had to narrow our focus, that we weren’t going to be able to do more than one thing at the level we needed to, and that if we kept the split focus (really – a lack of commitment to a specific strategy) we wouldn’t be successful. Ultimately we made a decision to go “all in” and commit to a strategy in one direction, and re-shaped the company around that strategic direction.
What was a particularly important insight you had about your market that made your product work?
We had the insight that others also had, but had previously not been able to execute on due to technological barriers. We felt so strongly that this particular insight, a focus on building a form-first product that was usable as an all-day everyday product, that we spent many years solely focused on solving the underlying challenges to make it possible to execute against.
What’s one piece of advice you’d share with a young founder?
Work on something you are truly passionate about, as that’s the only way you’re going to keep pushing through the highs, lows, and roadblocks along the way.