I can also notice that almost all of them are in the public beta, whereas my project is still in development. It seems that this is also an important factor in the approvement process.
What happened with: "we also invest in ideas", "you don't need a finished product in order to be accepted".. Those days are gone :)
Startup growth is a funnel. Idea stage is at the top, and unicorn is at the bottom. The further down the funnel you invest, the more likely you are to end up with a unicorn.
YC is in the business of investing in startups that become unicorns. YC's brand, and initiatives like Startup School, have gotten them so many more qualified applications. They no longer have to invest in idea stage companies, unless they're insanely promising.
One explanation I have for why it my appear the startups we fund are "far along" at demo day is that the startups moved so quickly during the batch. For example, the startup Inokyo in the current batch recently put out a video of the autonomous store they built in Mountain View: https://techcrunch.com/2018/08/16/inokyo/ When we funded this startup 3 months ago it was for a different idea and so they quite literally started from scratch.
Startups moving fast should hopefully seem far along by demo day, irrespective of their starting point :)
A hard number would say more than that phrase :)
Can you give specific examples of startups they have funded that became unicorns? The only two that come to mind are reddit and airbnb, and both are fraught with criticisms and legal issues over their business practices. Maybe there are more, but that's still an insanely low percentage of the total startups they have funded...
sadly it has become a business. I guess we need a new old YC.
It is, literally, a multi-billion dollar private equity firm.
It never stops being amazing to watch a team go from an idea to a profitable, fast-growing business in 3 months.
It requires a tremendous amount of trial and error, as you learn about the market, and the technology. Get data from reality as soon as you can. This requires a kind of courage... and behind it, a pragmatic ability to see how to get that information with minimal work/time, and then personal productivity and energy to get the work that is needed done quickly.
Sorry to be critical. If it's any consolation, I'm totally unqualified to be critical. And some projects do require longer deveploment (e.g. the R&D startups in this batch), maybe yours is one of them.
Many of these are just regular businesses quite far from the ostensible advantages of having rockstar technologists etc., obviously the medical tech notwithstanding, but that's another field altogether.
It's also interesting how many of these I don't think will every fit the mold of 'high growth' kind of startup, as opposed to more along the lines of 'great new businesses'.
Aalo parts are considerably too expensive - basically they are quite a bit more expensive than IKEA, but they don't like quite as 'finished' and don't quite have the 'finished/unfinished' look to suit putting even in a modern living room, I feel it still looks like utility stuff. And at those prices ... I've just personally had to deal with a lot of brick and mortar stuff, and the reality of 'price sensitivity' hits home really hard. People don't have money for expensive, unnnecessary stuff, 'retail' is not at all like Kickstarter.
Love people trying to make fake meat taste great. I have yet to see anything available that really works well. I suggest that once a fast-food chain picks up on it and 'regular folks' get a try, it might fly.
Also, should add ... I think most people don't care that much about the nutritional value of fake meat. A lot of fast-food meat is already processed and crap.
Anyone who can make something that's 'not steak' simply taste like 'steak' will do really well - it's going to be a cost consideration before anything. Consider the 'meat' in Taco Bell is 75% 'filler/chickenfeed' already.
I think huge chunks of people wouldn't mind eating vegan so long as they could eat stuff that tasted like meat, even if there were some extra processing.
That's why I think it will be a fast-food chain that will make it mainstream: they are cost conscious (as their consumers are), they have the reach and marketing power to change consumer behaviour, and their consumers don't have high-nutritional 'real food' expectations.
So a 'McNotBeef' would do really really well even among regular folks, even traditional meat eaters.
Depending on your animal welfare ethics, I'm not sure that's the best metric to optimise for. To get a good ratio, the animals' movement needs to be restricted and they need to be killed young. Hence, battery hens do very well.
This sounds like it could be bad for consumers. I hope it doesn't lead to people getting shamed on social media for failing to answer bill collector's phone calls - their site is pretty vague about how it works so I'm not sure.
Just another reason to delete your social media accounts.
I think it's a good business idea though.
(For more information about debt collection, I'd recommend https://www.consumerfinance.gov/consumer-tools/debt-collecti... )
Even if you improve collection practices a tenth of one percent, however, you're still talking big money so I see the appeal of the market size and any potential improvement.
thats the only thing i can imagine is going to come of this
As far as the legal requirements, I believe in the US it's permissible for debt collectors to contact friends/family in order to get in touch with the debtor, but there are certain limitations (like they're not supposed to disclose the amount of the debt, etc).
I think you're right about the practicality issue - I doubt twitter or any other network would want anyone using their platform for that type of activity.
I think most people would choose alternatives if they had similar taste, texture and price to "the real deal". Best of luck to them.
I, personally, would not. I like to know that what I'm eating has a known affect on my body; people have been eating beef for a long time, we know what it does and why. Whilst I appreciate this isn't a sweet chemical replacing sugar with little to no study into the long term side effects, do we know what the long term impact is? How does the change in diet need to be balanced with other changes?
Beyond Meat’s Beyond Chicken (Southwest Style Strips) Ingredients:
non-GMO soy protein isolate,
pea protein isolate,
vegan chicken flavor (maltodextrin, yeast extract, salt, natural flavoring, sunflower oil),
non-GMO expeller-pressed canola oil,
non-GMO soy fiber,
evaporated cane juice,
titanium dioxide (for color),
I believe this is a problem limited to North America.
> non-GMO soy protein isolate
> pea protein isolate
I understand that these come from natural products, but when was the last time you added 'pea protein isolate' to a salad? You haven't - you added some peas, which contain some protein, but also contain fiber, vitamins and a bunch of other things I don't know enough about. This was kind of my point, we're putting natural products in, but using them in ways that we've not used before.
At least in the UK, IMHO we'd be better off teaching people to cook properly, rather than buying ready meals, improving the standard of take aways and ensuring that food complies with a reasonable minimum standard of ethics and environmental impact.
According to Medical News Today, research from Canada found that pea protein powder may help help reduce hypertension and chronic kidney disease. Researchers extracted pea protein hydrolysate from the yellow pea and fed a small dose each day to lab rats bred to have polycystic kidney disease. After eight weeks, these rats showed a 20 percent drop in blood pressure. Dr. Rotimi Aluko, the study's head researcher, said that eating the yellow peas in their natural state would not produce the same benefits as the extracted pea protein, which can only be activated with special enzymes."
> I believe this is a problem limited to North America.
This problem is limited to the large scale meat industry (factory farms and such) - which are all over the world.
Where do you think your cheap Tesco chicken comes from or the meat from KFC, burger king etc comes from?
If you're buying direct from a butcher who gets their meat from grass fed free roaming animal farms, well then respect for not supporting the large scale meat industry. Unfortunately most people can't afford to buy meat from these places, as it's expensive.
You should check out these videos to understand where the meat comes from and how it's being produced
Meet your Meat (narrated by Alex Baldwin)
> Pea protein isolate - [...] but when was the last time you added 'pea protein isolate' to a salad?
I appreciate the word 'isolate' makes it sound unnatural, but really pea protein is consumed by fitness people etc. It's doesn't have a taste and can be added to salads if you want to, but usually you put it in your post workout shake. Check out the following how it's being made - pretty harmless. I'd rather have this than flesh from an animal.
> [...] reasonable minimum standard of ethics
What do you think this would be? When it's not about your survival, how do you kill a sentient being that doesn't want to be killed and actively tries to avoid pain and suffering if it can?
I think this quote is extremely dubious. How many of these companies study what the beyond organic movement is going with restorative agriculture. Having cows eat and poop grass is a really good thing for rebuilding what industrial farming has done to acres of land across the US.
This just smells of short cutting a process very similar to industrial farming that got us into this position to begin with.
The idea that they will insert themselves as a bureaucracy/testing service to "gauge" software engineers is simply offensive to me. This is typical bureaucrat thinking, and not what Silicon Valley is all about. They want to collect a toll tax on every programmer going forward. So frankly I hope they truly fail quickly and miserably.
I hate whiteboard interviews with a passion, but I don't hate them more than "certification processes", like what this group of people is trying to do.
I plan to take it every 6 months to quantify my progress.
I've posted about it before:
"The reasoning goes: the reasons why we need degrees are certification and reputation. By certification I mean that we only let people who we all trust practice medicine, as that kills people directly otherwise. So we restrict the people who can to those with the appropriate degrees.
The second point is more relevant to most other careers. A degree is nothing but a more reputable institution 'lending' reputation to its graduates. The reason this is necessary is because nobody's got the time to verify whether every person knows Computer Science - we're better off just knowing that people from University of X know CS if UoX says so. Even if you're going to personally interview every candidate for a job opening, still relying on degrees helps you filter candidates.
The thing is our interactions are recorded to the level that we can now reason about individuals in a way that was not possible before. Why do I need to trust UoX if I can mine your entire internet presence with reasonably comparable effort?"
I still think we (broadly, the folks who seem to be the core audience of HN) are the ones most likely to make this transition first.
CSPA looks like a step in the complete opposite direction.
Personally, I too hope it fails as I think that if it ever becomes the norm the best case scenario is no better on my end; and in the worst case scenario, it can be a living nightmare.
Basically, whether or not people filter on degree, or even this cspa thing, they're still going to have to do all the tests they did before. I guess the hope is that they'll have a higher apply-to-hire ratio? But I think that'll only last as long as it takes people to figure out how to specialize to pass this test.
Having hired a few software engineers, a question I am asked a lot (not by the engineers themselves, but a lot of other, some even non-tech friends) is that why do I use college and degree as a filtering criteria. My explanation is that, one we do not have the resources of Google to access the candidate in that depth. Two, even if we were to do that, it would mean a candidate going through 7-8-10 rounds, given the kind of things that need to be tested. If you could end up in a good program/college, it tells me that you have some ability and saves me on a few tests. Then, I can take 2-3 tests/interviews and make the decision quickly. This is not to say that other person without the degree is less talented, but that the talent isnt demonstrated yet and it would take more tests to maybe see that. Moreover, its not an exact process, we are as likely to fail with a good degree hire as we are with not so good degree. So, does not seem fair to take a candidate through 8-10 tests. (it also has a cost for us, given we are a small team and everyone's time is important)
If you need 7-8-10 rounds you got something very wrong.
We currently take 3 rounds - one initial interview, one assignment, and then a final interview for the fit. Hence given the weightage to the college.
You want food products tested and certified?
You want bridge engineering to be verified safe?
You want medicine to be tested thoroughly before injecting?
Why not try to create a brand of tested software engineering practices?
Clearly it would create a public distinction with online gigs, people expecting xYears of experience with crap pay.
I think there can be positives found.
I agree with the GP. But to not sound too negative, I hope they pivot to more legitimate and beneficial business model that does not perpetuate a problem and succeed only with this pivot :)
There will always be verification of skill from employers no matter what you’d prefer.
What about the fairness of this evaluation? Over a period of time, questions may be published in the public domain and then the scores of candidates are rendered meaningless. How do you assess whether the person truly solved a problem or merely recalled a solution they had read before?
Over a period of time, the score will be given too much weightage and we will not be able to get a wholistic picture of the candidate.
Ultimately, this is going to end up to be as damaging as automatic resume scanners. Used as a tool to filter good candidates but mainly to reduce the workload of hiring candidates.
People find a way to work around these scanners by dumping keywords even if they are not very familiar with certain skills. Similarly, people will find a way to game the new system as well.
Whiteboarding sessions, despite being more time consuming, seems to be more effective at what it has been designed to gauge.
Students pay to take the tests and have their results shared with the over 60 companies that are now accepting the results when considering new candidates.
Is this for real? I mean I love a good mac and cheese as much as the next guy but it doesn’t strike me as anywhere near the usual markets targeted by start ups.
I am already of the opinion that food is exceedingly expensive in every regard, and when even McDonald's is now $11 for a big-mac meal, I just can't believe how we aren't looking to make food any more affordable.
My first thought when seeing this was Peter Thiels lecture where he discussed restaurants and why they make bad choices for disruption. Would be really interested to see where/how they go from here.
It's pretty darn good, decently priced too. Food takes a weird amount of time to make, maybe because I went in a day after the new shop opened.
* a team made up of a few molecular / cell biologists (analog to needing engineers for a SaaS)
* solid early-stage science (could be nothing more than a few experiments to validate / build on a publication)
* a well thought out experimental plan -- details of the initial work you'd do to validate your core hypotheses, why you chose those experiments and not others, and feedback from other smart scientists and investors to validate your design (this would be the analog of early product development, culminating in product-market fit over 12-24 months)
* funding for your initial experiments: a few hundred thousand up to a few million
The main difference is that 1) iteration cycles are much longer and more expensive in biopharma and 2) value inflection is more binary. So you need to be really thoughtful about every detail of your initial work.
In recent years, biotech startups have actually been able to grow really big faster than tech startups. Kite and Juno were acquired for $12B and $9B less than 5 years after Series A -- getting to decacorn status faster than pretty much any software co I think including dropbox, snap, etc
A lot of the initial work is done as a "virtual" company with no lab. There is a massive network of outsourced research groups that can do pretty much any experiment you want at high quality and reasonable cost
After that stage, if a true "wet lab" is necessary, one of the perceived barriers may be, especially for the majority of modern software professionals, the situation with lab computing.
Interpreting what former colleague (who is now a YC biotech founder) recently explained to me, labs often face significant challenges in needing on-premises computer hardware. 
For some labs (DNA sequencing being a notable example, with the cost of sequencers plummeting), the sheer quantity of raw data flowing from the instruments can make (fully) cloud-based processing prohibitively expensive, if not impossible . Having on-site servers hardware can be necessary, but, as a self-fulfilling prophecy, the knowledge about how to do this (supposedly) "nightmare" task well has been dying out.
The far bigger issue, applicable to the vast majority of not all labs, is all the computers attached to the instruments and lab automation equipment, which are, in general, running proprietary software on a broad spectrum of Windows versions, which the users (lab) patch/maintain/administer at their peril (lest the proprietary software and, thereby, the instrument itself, stop working).
Unfortunately (for me), the on-site server problem is generally much less dire and painful than the instrument-control problem. It can also be solved just barely well enough to cut down the size of the raw data, at which point software people breath a huge sigh of relief because they can ship it to the cloud and pretend hardware doesn't exist.
The instrument-control/Windows problem ends up being hugely labor-intensive even to approximate a solution involving decent security and reliability. It also can require a remarkable amount of learning things that might never be used again in ones career, such as how a particular vendor's software communicates with a particular model and version of that vendor's instrument (so worth it, if it means making virtualization possible!).
There are lab automation companies attempting to provide this sort of thing as a service, but they're not numerous, and it's unclear if this kind of IT is, so far, just a services/consulting add-on.
 I consider my expertise in this area to be differentiating part of my Ops skillset, so it was of particular personal interest.
 On a workable scale. With enough money, it should be possible to bring even 10-gigabit fiber Internet anywhere, or move the lab somewhere that already has it, but not in zero/negligible time.
It will quote $12 for 2 inches, then $4 for the same, then $15 for 30 inches and then $12 for 47 inches...
Every time it is moved it quotes a different price.
I would never use that to order anything.
Why can't I build a BOM - or specify the size of a bench and specify the frame design and have it spit out the bom?
Horrible UX/UI for the idea that I can buy-by-the-inch materials for my hipster ikea furniture.
How might they turn their service into a viable business?
A great way to navigate the org chart of a growing startup. Nice design. You should try to sell it to EasyPost. ;)
I have a requirement for credit facilities on a global basis and I haven't found anyone close to what bitbond  has offered. They are based in germany and would much rather deal with a US based company.
If anyone has come across such an entity, especially with revenue sharing for those who white-label their offering. Definitely let me know!
This significantly eases the burden of obtaining credit for immigrants.
Thank you. This is exactly what I was looking for!
Sure they have 100,000 users, but the 3 people I know (including myself) are no longer using it.
Tracking conversions must be pretty creepy.
"Using water has several benefits, the startup says. One, it’s a fuel source that’s abundant in outer space."