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 Wade Foster, Cofounder of Zapier, one of the companies featured on the list.
What does Zapier make/do?
Zapier is a productivity tool that connects over 1,300 of the apps you use every day and automates the tedious, repetitive parts of your job, so you can be more productive at work.
How many employees does Zapier have?
We have over 170+ employees.
How many founders?
Zapier has 3 founders: Wade Foster (CEO), Mike Knoop (Chief Product Officer) and Bryan Helmig (Chief Technology Officer)
What is your most impressive recent product milestone?
We’ve helped over 2 million people around the world to be more productive at work and our platform has grown to over 1,300 app integrations. We’re thrilled to see more and more app companies building a Zapier integration immediately after building their MVP.
We launched Paths, a feature for users that want to build advanced workflows using conditional logic. This year, we also launched the Zapier Experts Program, which we created to help Zapier certified consultants and agencies build Zapier workflows for their clients.
What is the larger impact / societal impact of your product in the space you work within?
Our goal is to help people be more productive at work, and it’s important to acknowledge that the way we work has changed. The number and scope of SaaS products have exploded in the past decade and work has been getting more complex as it fragments.
Zapier brings it all back together through our integrations, which helps our users streamline their workflows and automate tasks to increase productivity.
Knowledge workers spend more time seeking out information than doing actual work. We think that automating repetitive tasks is the easiest thing people can do to be more productive at work – but it’s largely underutilized.
What’s an interesting element of Zapier ‘s company culture?
We are a 100% distributed team and we have no offices. Our team consists of 170+ people hailing from 26 states in the U.S. and 17 countries around the world.
Remote work has helped us with hiring to scale – we found a model that works and incentivizes the best talent to live and work anywhere in the world.
Slack acts as our “office,” and we’ve been thoughtful in how we approach communication for an entirely distributed team. We have several channels in Slack that are solely dedicated to non-work topics, like #fun-adulting, #fun-bookclub, #fun-cooking and more. We also replace the typical watercooler talks by randomly pairing two employees every week for chats.
Looking back, what motivated you to start Zapier?
My co-founder Bryan and I came up with the idea for Zapier while we were freelancing and living in Columbia, Missouri. We worked on a number of web projects, and we noticed that our clients were asking us to build more and more integrations from one app to another.
We noticed that people were interested in the convenience that SaaS apps offer, but bringing apps together was complex, frustrating, and usually required technical help. We wanted to build something that made it easy for people to connect their apps.
Mike, our other co-founder, joined us and we built our product at Columbia Startup Weekend.
Is what you’re working on now the original idea or did you pivot?
We went through a minor name change since our Startup Weekend competition, but otherwise, we’re happy to report that for the past 7 years, we’ve been constantly working on and improving our original idea of connecting apps and automating workflows.
Were there moments where you thought the company might die? Describe one of those and anything you learned from it.
We’ve been fortunate to avoid existential threats so far. We’ve had tough periods, but always have seen a light at the end of the tunnel.
What have you learned about the market you serve since creating your product?
In the past 7 years, we’ve learned and observed a lot being completely entrenched in the SaaS market. We know how people are actually using software, how behaviors have changed and stayed the same, and the rise and fall of apps and trends in the workplace.
We are part of a new suite of tools that work behind the scenes to increase productivity. Every category of office worker can benefit from automating their work — from real estate agents to lawyers to small business owners. If you can save time on something manual and repetitive, then you can focus the time you’ve regained on work that drives your business forward.
What’s one piece of advice you’d share with a young founder?
Pay closer attention to the fundamental things that make your company a truly great company: good products, happy customers, and a team dedicated to working together to fulfill your mission. Pay less attention to things like office space or where you’re located. You don’t have to be based in the Bay Area (or any large city) to be successful in these areas.