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Startups from Y Combinator’s S19 Demo Day 2 (techcrunch.com)
161 points by denisvlr 56 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 157 comments

What always strikes me about these lists is that if I had these ideas (and I often do), I'd discard them out of hand as non-viable. Yet people behind these startups don't mind staking years of their life on what is essentially a lottery with rather poor odds, and find passion in doing things which, at best, would make me yawn. Maybe I'm just old, I don't know.

You should read http://www.paulgraham.com/swan.html

Most startup ideas are non-obvious in their very early phase. If there was already proof one way or another that they were good or bad, they would be already done, or already dropped, respectively.

Also, the founders have much more knowledge about their startup. You have what you got from that one paragraph description you read. That's a huge asymmetry of information.

PG's essay explicitly calls us out:

"At YC we're excited when we meet startups working on things that we could imagine know-it-alls on forums dismissing as toys. To us that's positive evidence an idea is good."

I’ve always felt that for many it’s a hedged situation, the ~75k+ salary, networking, and resume bullet points, represents similar or greater compensation than what they might make alternatively.

A C-level position at a YC startup will grant you a 100k+ salary at a YC company that did manage to make it to a series A afterwards even if your company didn’t make it that far.

It’s a self accommodating industry (IMO).

> grant you a 100k+ salary

If you're a developer you can make that anyway, isn't that basically an entry level salary in SF?

I'm very curious how much you can pay yourself as a YC founder after your first round, is there any data on this? Must be more than 75k.

Even folks working on the problem sometimes think it is non-viable. I question the thing I'm working on, every single day. That's just how it is, even after you commit.

If one can deliver real value to end-users, and the growth takes a phenomenal turn, then different kind of non-viable thoughts would emerge, I'm sure.

But the thing is, I'm actually pretty certain there's close to zero value in the solid 3/4 of these ideas. I concede that maybe I just don't see it, but statistically my odds of being right are much better than theirs.

You have much better odds of being right but they have much better odds of being successful.

That is a pretty unwarranted passive-aggressive remark, especially considering you know nothing about the person you'r e replying to and all he said were objective truths.

I'm pretty sure he means that by being a critic on the sideline, you have a better chance of being right, but you have much worse odds of doing something great. Or said differently, if you never try, you never fail, but you also never succeed. I don't think that's an inappropriate response to someone who's saying "3/4 of these ideas suck".

And no, what the person he's responding to is saying aren't objective truths.

Isn't that the whole VC model? 1 big success pays for 99 failures? I think it's more about what could happen if one blows up, than about how big the chance is that it will.

In my mind, I like the idea of funding the companies that are building the type of future I want to live in. That way the future I like has a better chance of happening.

Alternatively, a strategy could fund the ones that are building a terrible, but profitable future, and using the money you make to live somewhere else.

It almost seems like a prisoner's dilemma sort of situation. If you don't fund the baddies, and someone else does, then you'll be poor in a terrible future.

I kinda agree. I just don't see the value in 90% of those ideas even if they are well executed. Maybe I'm getting old too but it seems most of these propositions are based on the premise of making something attractive and getting funding from VCs wanting to diversify their investments and play the lottery.

The lowest hanging fruit in tech has already been taken years ago and the human needs haven't changed that much. We need to communicate, we need to listen to music, we need to move around, etc.

I vehemently disagree with you. There are million dollar checks laying on the pavement, you just have to spend a bit of time outside of software engineering to see it. So much time is waiting executing rote processes by hand across industries, and billions of dollars are spent with the likes of Accenture to build custom applications.

That's rarely because of a lack of technology, though. Entrenched business processes, human bias, "old boy networks", fear of losing jobs, etc. are far bigger factors in things outside of SV often sucking. You can build the perfect solution for a problem at an amazing price and Accenture would still win because the people making the decisions want Accenture, not the actual best solution.

> So much time is waiting executing rote processes by hand across industries

I've personally seen many times how companies prefer doing those hand processes, even after having paid me for developing a solution to solves that. Humans are strange creatures.

The big problems that most people want solved and can indeed be solved have already been solved. For the most part we're now in the phase of solving small problems, refining current solutions, and maybe creating new problems with its own set of solutions.

Of course there are many big problems that haven't been solved because those are extremely difficult and expensive to solve which falls outside of the realm of startups. For example an HIV vaccine, super efficient solar cells, cold fusion, efficient energy storage, brain computer interface, dark energy, dark matter, etc.

With all the advancements in ML, there's a new set of lowest hanging fruit, and it's incredibly exciting.

I'm not an expert, but I imagine that the companies working on those easier problems already started a couple of years ago.

Hard problems like self driving cars and natural language interfaces are way beyond the capabilities of a small startup.

Cruise was a small startup that got at least basic self driving working before they sold to GM. IIRC it was <10 people when I rode in one of their converted Audis. Lots of startups are working on NLP. I wouldn't be so pessimistic.

Cruise was founded about 5 years ago which is what I was saying on my previous comment.

Alright, there was a startup doing self driving trucks in YC this batch. It’s far from a solved problem, and scrappy teams can still make headway.

But anyway, the point is that there are a lot of new opportunities opening up because of that new enabling tech, and many of them are accessible to small companies.

I think most look at the ideas and don't see a safe/profitable path. Most are right but with the right person they can take any idea and make it work. Not because of the big idea but by winning the small battles and the non-obvious battles.

Facebook had a similiar idea to others. But they limited it to Harvard. So anyone who joined was part of a social club that they saw in real life. That gave them trust and people more freely posted. Next they rolled out to only ivy league schools. Next all colleges. Then highschools. When they released to the public the colleges still had semi-private networks allowing them more freedom. Then facebook did something no one thought was possible, they allowed you to login to hotmail import your contacts. Now you are friends with people you may not have talk to in years.

The original idea only shaped a broadvision. Each decision really provided the vision and a path for growth.

The original vision is important. If you tried to take a dating app and follow the Harvard facebook roll-out it wouldn't work because people wouldn't want to be seen as looking for a mate. Dating sites try to connect strangers.

I have feeling, that team is most important here, not starting idea. There is chance, that the teams with currently non-viable ideas will pivot and be successful in the future.

After a quick browse through lists on both days:

- Where have all the IoT companies gone?

- Cool seeing machine learning being used inside applications (The audio analyzer to separate and boost voices for conference calls comes to mind)

- Surprised at how many "meh" reactions I had. Too many grocery/fashion and not enough bio/energy game changers and I left feeling mostly uninspired by overall visions.

More power to everyone hustling out there though.

> - Where have all the IoT companies gone?

Was talking to some VC folks the other day and asked this same question. The answer I got was under performance, not enough unicorns per investment and the number of companies even hitting profitability was much lower than other sections of their portfolio.

> Where have all the IoT companies gone?

Previous discussion : https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18710682

I am currently participating in another accelerator in London called Antler; and I have been exposed to ideas from 70 entrepreneurs. We are presenting to investors this week.

Also I am in YC Startup School too, which allows you to see what's coming up in the world, and that's awesome too.

It's amazing to see that a significant percentage (~30%) of ideas they have come up with have been also thought of by others e.g. from the YC list independently to an uncanny extent.

Honestly it should not have caught me by surprise but it did.

> It's amazing to see that a significant percentage (~30%) of ideas they have come up with have been also thought of by others e.g. from the YC list independently to an uncanny extent.

Imho the concept of multiple discovery [0] applies just as much to innovation as it does to scientific discoveries.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiple_discovery

It has always intrigued me how even great ideas like the theory of evolution were thought of by more than one person. I always reasoned that the spread of knowledge by books to begin with and then the tele* media( graph , gram , phone etc) accelerated it. Nowadays it is almost unbelievable if multiple discovery didn’t happen. Internet plus 7 billion people plus the accumulated treasure of knowledge is one helluva tailwind

A lot of businesses look similar when comparing the basic idea. When you compare on execution things can get dramatically different.

As a tech founder in B2B I would go even further and say the idea nor technical implementation matters much, what's important is how well you can build relationships with your prospects, how you can sell it, and hire people to help you scale it up

I wouldn't go that far. All those things are important. I'm a tech founder too, but for some more credible citations, I'll defer to Sam Altman[1] and PG[2].

[1] https://startupclass.samaltman.com/courses/lec01/

> It's become popular in recent years to say that the idea doesn't matter. ... But the pendulum has swung way out of whack. A bad idea is still bad and the pivot-happy world we're in today feels suboptimal. Great execution towards a terrible idea will get you nowhere. There are exceptions, of course, but most great companies start with a great idea, not a pivot.

[2] e.g. http://www.paulgraham.com/avg.html. Controversial, but I'm a believer.

I think the most important thing is managing to convince dozens of sweat-shop, conveyor belt startups per year to give you equity for almost nothing, thereby guaranteeing at least some equity will eventually be worth billions merely by chance. Good job, YC.

What do you think about their fee and stake?

Looks like it ranges 60-80k [after their fee] for a 10% stake.

That feels pretty expensive for an accelerator, especially one that's new, with little network effect yet.

For me personally the benefits I already got from the program are worth a fee and stake, and without them I would have taken much longer to take that leap of faith into starting my own company. And it's fair enough especially for a first time founder like me, considering the risks involved. I am newer than them.

If I was someone more established with an existing network and knowledge of how these things work, that would be a different story.

Yeah it looks like the program is mainly for super early stage, ie no cofounder, pre-idea folks.

I think if you already have a co founder and an idea and/or prototype, then that fee/stake for value might seem unacceptably expensive.

When I advice folks... I always like to say, for any good idea you have, 100 other people have already thought of it. For any great idea you have had, 1000 people have thought of it.

The core difference lies in the execution. If you can execute on even a marginally “okay” idea, you can build on that, but even the greatest idea in the world has no chance without that execution.

Corollary: don’t worry about protecting your idea, worry about how you can be the best person to execute it.

I recently heard about Antler, how is the programme?

It has been very helpful for me. I am a tech guy and they have assisted in various ways for me to find a cofounder, for example with opportunities to work on mock business cases with the other people in the program, lots of time to chat and allowed us to take our time when to decide to partner up, most people teamed up after 3-4 weeks.

Speaking about other people, as I mentioned it's about 72 of us, 40% ish with tech background, the rest with business and/or industry experience.

They provided us with advice on what to do first to validate the idea, get traction with first customers, and many opportunities to do mock investment pitches where we would get comments from a committee with what we need to improve or what investors would ask.

Additionally there were some courses about different aspects of startups, from design thinking to unit economics, sort of like a mini mba.

So far it has been very valuable for me.

However, on the criticism side, it's sort of early days for them so they could not give too much advice for example on how to tell if a team works or not, with my first team that I had formed we spent 5 weeks (out of 10) spinning in circles not being able to decide on any idea. We generated around 12 but discarded them as soon as any friction came. So we had disbanded and stressed out, then I met another person who had a firm idea what to do and had already validated it, just needed a tech person, and this is going much better now.

Slightly off-topic, but as a non-tech guy (unless you count making websites with Bootstrap as 'tech') with significant experience in the business/marketing side of things, would attending an accelerator with the intention of finding a tech co-founder help? I can self-fund a product for a few years at least so I would bring that into the equation as well.

Yes :)

60% of the program attendees are pretty much as you described, including my co founder. They have found the tech partners here.

Its focus is different. Pre-YC where you need to find a co-founder, ideate and validate asap.

Yes, forming the team, ideating, validating, then preparing for a seed round, then with traction or other metrics for another round

It's because ideas are the easy part. How many people thought of Uber before it existed? Probably everyone that has ever had to book a taxi.

Would guess schlep blindness caused a lot of people to dismiss the idea, a whole lot of groundwork and legal headaches besides just making an app to request a car. http://www.paulgraham.com/schlep.html

The interesting part about Uber is the legal side and not the actual transportation. I.e. how can you legally provide a public transportation without paying for permit.

Or how can you call a driver a non employee while specifically giving him orders to drive.

This is the real innovation.

Uber is a marketing company and the customers are the drivers. The criticism of Uber “ordering” drivers ignores the fact that exactly how the taxi business has worked. Taxi companies don’t have drivers as employees, they are almost always contractors that lease or buy cars from the taxi company. Spend some time as an actual Yellow Cab driver and then contrast that to how good Uber drivers have it by comparison. You can, for example, just not drive and Uber doesn’t charge you a fee. A taxi driver has to pay Yellow Cab daily or weekly for their car/fees no matter if they are rolling or not. A Yellow Can driver can’t also work in the same car for another taxi company, while Uber drivers can drive simultaneously for Lift, do deliveries for various companies, etc. Uber markets rides for the drivers, drivers are customers of Uber, not employees. The taxi business has always sucked for drivers, Uber didn’t create that, they actually made it better because a driver isn’t forced to lease Yellow Cab metal. Uber also broke the taxi medallion racket that kept taxis in many large cities under the control of the mafia or other connected people who could artificially distort the supply and demand using political pressure and payoffs. Destroying the value of taxi medallions was the real, great innovation of Uber. And, the public isn’t any less safe with Uber than they were with taxi monopolies. Passenger safety is practically the same, especially when accounting for the dramatically higher volume of ride share trips compared to the volume of taxi trips.

In looking at all the bio-based companies they all seem ... mature. Like, going on their pages and seeing the people there, well, there are not a lot of 'fresh' faces. Most of them are MDs/PhDs or have some years on them. I think thats a great thing!

Fresh out of Y Combinator, Tandem lands millions from Andreessen Horowitz


"is raising a $7.5 million seed financing at a valuation north of $30 million"

"We’re told several top venture capital firms were vying for a stake in Tandem. One firm even gifted the founders a tandem bike, sources tell TechCrunch, resorting to amusing measures to sway the Tandem team. But it was a16z — which has an established interest in the growing future of work sector, evidenced by its recent investment in the popular email app Superhuman — that ultimately won the coveted lead investor spot."

This sounds like what Kevin Kwok was describing[0] in his recent essay, The Arc of Collaboration. Even down to using the Discord metaphor. Kwok says that Slack ended up being more of an exception handler when normal processes break down. Contrast to Discord, which is more of a meta-layer around games and integrates within game platforms. I wonder if Tandem is what will make collaborative communication ubiquitous, i.e. sales talks to engineering talks to design all from within their various environments.

From TC: Tandem provides a virtual office for remote teams, complete with video-chatting and messaging capabilities, as well as integrations with top enterprise tools, including Notion, GitHub and Trello.

[0] https://kwokchain.com/2019/08/16/the-arc-of-collaboration/

I hope not to sound like a jerk or get downvoted for this, but what's the point of quoting the article without adding at least an opinion or thought?

:) well I posted on a FYI - For Your Information only angle.

My thoughts: seed valuations for YC Demo Day are probably on a all time high, VC's giving gifts to be able to get in rounds looks like something out of Silicon Valley HBO, ok I remembered everything on SV HBO is based on real life events.

I think the most ridiculous thing is not even the gift, but the fact that it is a Tandem bike (just because of the name).

What's the rationale there? "Ohh their name is Tandem. Let's buy them a Tandem bike to convince them to accept our term sheet. It's our fiduciary responsibility to do this stupid thing".

For me, that's just a red flag. How little can you add to a company besides money, that you have to resort to this chaplinesque strategy?

Why not? Personal relationships are a part of why deals are made. Showing some whimsy and personal attention isn't going to hurt, and costs what? ~500?

Not really your point, but if somebody gifted a $500 tandem/boat anchor for a $30MM co, that might indeed be a red flag. A $500 tandem is probably a boat anchor no matter what the circumstances are...

This is the norm in business. It forces reciprocity. It’s why most sales orgs spend so much on business entertainment.

I (think) I know what you’re saying, what I’m saying is that if I said I was interested in your billion dollar automobile startup, and bought you a car as a gesture, you might be excited, until I handed you the keys to a used 1998 Hyundai Excel.

Unless I really am missing the point, because a $500 bicycle really is a pretty cheap machine these days, let alone a $500 tandem.


It's the thought that counts right? Tandem is the name, they are gifted a tandem bike, which reinforces the symbolism of doing something together. I'd hope it would be perceived either neutrally, or generate some very small positive feelings, but not negatively.

I appreciate all the positive readings.

Maybe it’s that I’m personally more focused on downsizing than accumulating :)

More that anything creates reciprocity. It’s why I am very wary of taking things from vendors.

It’s basically a joke. Jokes attract attention of other people. Investors need to set up a relationship with the founders.

> I think the most ridiculous thing is not even the gift, but the fact that it is a Tandem bike (just because of the name).

Similar to Governors convincing Bezos to open HQ2 on their state by writing product reviews on amazon.com, giant cactus and what not.

Why is a sense of humour a red flag? Founders are people too you know.

> VC's giving gifts to be able to get in rounds looks like something out of Silicon Valley HBO

It's actually super common. I've probably received 20+ random gifts. Everything from shoes to jackets to bitcoin miners and bottles of wine (I don't drink).

If there's a $7.5m deal that will eventually be worth 10x that (say it returns $75m to the investor), a $200 tandem bike doesn't really move the needle.

> It's actually super common

I didn't know that, I knew that was normal practice on recruiting but I didn't imagined it on fundraising.

> that will eventually be worth 10x

The seed stage VC's are probably targeting more on the 100x - 1,000x range :)

In the case of an article that lists 82 startups, their comment is essentially saying "Here's a startup I think is notable". Hence their opinion.

MyPetrolPump is genius. It's last-mile delivery for gas (or Uber for gas), but solving a security and logistics problem for a high-value market. Only qualified truck drivers can move trucks, and you pay them per hour. So now you refuel the trucks behind closed doors while the truck is parked overnight and you only have to secure access for the petrol driver.

I feel there is also a room for mobile superchargers. They can come to your house and fully charge your car in half an hour, rather than waiting for hours on home voltage.

I considered this, but nothing beats hydrocarbon energy density. It seems more practical to swap out pre-charged cells like some electric scooter companies do, which would require an interchangeable format that might be obsoleted by newer tech every 5 years.

Once we have supercapacitors and room temperature superconductors, a lot of these problems go away, though.

Exciting times!

Swapping would be faster. I recollect that Tesla had such a system. Not sure where it went

They did a demo for the Model S and there was an Israeli EV company that had a similar model, but died.

There are a few problems with the swapping idea:

- People like to have ownership over their batteries (and the battery capacity)

- Logistics around swapping availability and costs

But the biggest one is:

- Charging continues to get faster and capacity continues to increase.

Whatever small amount of time is currently saved by swapping will be irrelevant by the time anyone could overcome the current obstacles to get something off the ground - it's a bad strategic bet.

I believe that's what Freewire (https://freewiretech.com/) is trying to do.

I thought the same as well.

not for American market. average car tanks takes 30-50 dollars of gas. markup on gas prices is really small around 15%. if sold at market prices profit from each delivery will be 4-6 dollars. cost of delivery will be around $20-30 dollars when you count driver salary, truck lease, fuel, etc. Fuel delivery has been done in US profitably for very long time. its delivery of heating oil to houses but during every delivery they sell a few hundred gallons of oil and thats when the low margins start adding up, $40 delivery won't cut it.

This is not meant for average car tanks. As you can see on their site, this is aimed at trucks and generators with large tanks: https://mypetrolpump.com/

Agreed. A lot of construction workers even have trucks with a the toolbox style gas tank in the bed. They have handles that look just like gas pumps.

I can say that Tandem is the one which strikes me the most. I had a privilege to test the product in early beta and you can see the benefit of such solution. Basically Discord for work which I believe will be adopted soon by many companies.

>Basically Discord for work

This was very confusing for me since I use Discord only for chat for various open source projects.

Tandem is voice and video chat - the part of Discord I never use.

I have worked remote last 5 years and there is no tool that has truly solved Information asymmetry that remote workers meet every day. How usually organizations solve this is overcommunication and keeping memos from everything but that is a huge time sink and there are always those bad apples that don't keep memos.

This is exactly what's happening. More meetings + synchronous chat/calling apps won't solve this either.

yeah, there needs to be something more radical. I think at the moment fully remote teams work better than semi-remote because fully remote teams most communication happens through slack and emails so there is almost always a paper trail.

My experience reflects yours.

Once you have a SINGLE full-time remote employee your team should operate as a fully-remote team. That means online meetings, online communications, documentation, etc.

What you hope to have in your opinion to solve the problem?

I have toyed tough about some kind text-to-speech bot that would automatically keep searchable memos from every meeting. But I am not sure is the current text-to-speech models there yet.

You can listen to founder's vision and idea about the product on the podcast I run.


It's also big part of networking, with something like that you can apply to different programs, different mentorships that all brings you closer to human capital and money. That's part of the privilege being an american too, you're much closer and easily accessable to all of it.

They did a Launch HN here, if anyone's curious :https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20585810

here are all S19 companies http://app.crunchdex.com/s19

> TrustedFor: LinkedIn is just such an awful platform that there’s space for a startup to disrupt it by just remaking it. TrustedFor is building “LinkedIn 2.0,” a platform for professional profiles that is centered around recommendations from people that the users have actually worked alongside. The startup is leveraging the YC network pretty heavily to get associated companies on board.

Good luck. I'm happy to see someone trying to get into LinkedIn's business. I've used LinkedIn close to when it started, but it is really getting on my nerves.

If they succeed, that could be really interesting on how to compete with an established company where the network effect is their real edge.

LinkedIn is so spammy, I hate it. The recruiters don't even read your profile, and you feel like a jungle explorer trying to find how to turn off all the notifications

The older I get the more I find myself browsing LinkedIn. I actually enjoy some of the deep conversations in closed groups.

The Custom Movement sounded really interesting for a moment. I was already having fantasies about getting a pair of sneakers with thin soles, wide toe boxes, plenty of air holes and one the left shoe one size larger than the right.

Alas. It's just about printing designs on sneakers.

I'm quite curious about Waves. There have been a number of unsuccessful attempts (that I'm aware of) to make a dating site/app with kink matching, but it's hard to keep the emphasis on sexual compatibility from completely overwhelming the other aspects of dating.

Looking at their site, there doesn't appear to be any obvious secret sauce (the app is not available where I am) except perhaps that the range of 'kinks' they're catering to is limited to the mildest and most popular, so maybe they're targeting a slightly more mainstream userbase?

What if it's not about "dating", but just casual sex, like Grindr?

Working in the area makes this text on Tensil’s page me extremely curious: “This gives you the performance of custom silicon at the cost of commodity hardware. With Tensil, you can roll out your dream chip in weeks instead of years, at prices measured in thousands instead of millions.” So they designed some fuse programmable ASIC for machine learning? Setting the fuses makes this ASIC “custom silicon”? ASIC for thousands? Sounds to good to be true.

Tensil founder here. We're a little different from the other ASIC companies because we specialize our chips to individual model architectures on demand. Our value prop is that our chips are smaller and cheaper than high end GPUs while offering the same or better performance on the model you care about.

This is compelling to a lot of hardware companies, where they often have 1 model that represents >50% of their compute workload. Making a Tensil ASIC for that model becomes much cheaper than GPUs at scales of 1000 chips or more.

I'm happy to talk in more detail if this interests you! tom@tensil.ai

Is there even a market for cheap ASICs?

ASIC set-up costs are only a problem on low volume production runs, and in that case generic purpose hardware is probably a cheaper solution anyway.

If you have some high computation or bandwidth requirements that can't be met with of the shelf hardware, then FPGAs are probably still a better solution.

So if you ask me, Tensil is just trying to ride the AI wave.

I'm quite confused my Tensil, is the training of the model moved to their chips, or the final model? If the former, then are the chips locked in to whatever model they were built for, e.g. this chip only trains a multi-layer perceptron with n layers? Or are the chips re-programmable or FPGAs? If the latter, don't most models run quite quickly on CPU after training anyways?

It seems like they're selling ASICs. It would be useful in something like an embedded system where you train a model beforehand, deploy it, and then let it go. On top of speed improvements, they're generally more efficient, so something running on battery power could last longer.

Tensil founder here: we take fully trained models, training doesn't happen on our chips. The model architecture is hardened but the parameters can be reprogrammed.

I'm assuming it's the later. Some applications require pretty high speed inference, like video.

Vendr.com: A SaaS to keep track of your SaaS subscriptions.

and a 6.5k or 10k PER MONTH for someone to buy your SaaS subscriptions seems super expensive. I'm not too versed in the SaaS market but is this really something that you need a dedicated "SaaS expert" to manage for you?

Yes! This is a great idea!

Signing up with a typical SaaS service these days typically involves 1) a qualification call with an SDR (wastes 30ish minutes), 2) a redundant qualification call with an AE (roughly 30 minutes where they probe you for price sensitivity), 3) a 2-3 day delay while they draw up a really high anchor for your price, 4) two or three iterations of you fighting the price (wastes an hour each time), 5) you sign a contract with a lingering uncertainty you got ripped off.

Repeat for the 20-30 SaaS providers you end up using. It's a huge time suck for a dubious benefit. I would love to pay to make that go away in the future.

It is a strange abstraction that some businesses need, I suppose.

Wouldn't you just need them to arrange and liaise with the vendors at the beginning? Once the plans are finalised, why is Vendr.com still needed?...

Their launch HN may include some answers: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20707194

Basically, it saves you at least one potential IT headcount. From my time at Amazon, I remember an internal tool to they had to do exactly this. You put software requests and someone from IT buys it for you and sends you the license and installation instructions.

So if your company is large this becomes a real issue I guess. Also by having a third-party IT vendor, you can buy anonymously. This shields you from unreasonable negotiations and future solicitation.

The same idea was built in Austin and acquired. I had the same thoughts.


Reading that article it actually makes sense. But to potentially spend between 78,000 and 120,000 dollars a year to manage your SaaS would require a high assessment if it's worth it. Especially when they are targeting small to medium companies, for which that money could be spend on a few junior developers, sales people, or on ACTUAL SaaS.

It's a tough sell but I can get the idea

Here are the ideas that I think have the most potential...

talar: Huge potential here. Cars are on their way out, and scheduled grocery delivery can replace it.

spotless materials: Coatings can make a huge difference in the way we interact with materials... in fact, for the most part, that's all we interact with. better coatings make things better.

encellin: I believe that interacting with our bodies on a more finely tuned small scale is the future.

my petrol pump: I can see a lot of convinience happening here. Recurring customers whos lives are made better.

rejuvenation technologies: I want to see life extension succeed. If they have something that works then that's fantastic for us all.

tensil: Baking AI seems like a good compromise for a lot of reasons. known capabilities, and known weaknesses make for predictability.

Rejuvenation Technologies is based on this paper: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4415018/

I hope they can get this to work! The issue is their paper uses technology covered by other players in the space who have a decade head start and significant research budgets. Maybe they'll get bought out, but my guess is delivery and CMC are hurdles they'll run up against and then have a hard time getting follow-on investors. FIH for this idea is going to be really hard. If they can get this going, I'd love to see adding in additional components of the telomerase holoenzyme.

Edit - Their IP position is actually pretty strong and they are already thinking about delivering the other holoenzyme components: https://patents.google.com/patent/US20140242155A1

I hope they lean on the exosome delivery idea discussed within, "In highly preferred embodiments, the delivery vehicle is an exosome". That would really differentiate them from the competition. The real test will be biodistribution in non-rodent models. I will be following closely!

Your link is to the patent application. If you check PAIR, you’ll see that only a small subset of the claims, amended, have received NOA. I would tend to disagree about the strength of their IP portfolio based on a cursory glance at the publicly available info, but I’d be curious to hear why you think differently.

Ouch, I didn't look at PAIR. They lost all their delivery claims. I was impressed by their priority date, which pre-dates some of the competition, but it looks like they lost most of the key claims they'll need to fight off a lawsuit.

>talar: Huge potential here. Cars are on their way out, and scheduled grocery delivery can replace it.

A ton of these already exist. Blue apron, Home Chef, Hello Fresh, Amazon (although I believe amazon is currently pickup only). Does talar do anything different than the already established companies?

>spotless materials: Coatings can make a huge difference in the way we interact with materials... in fact, for the most part, that's all we interact with. better coatings make things better.

Again, there are a bunch of established companies making spray on and dip on coatings for clothing, fabric, tools, and other miscellaneous items that does essentially the same thing. Is there anything new here that the others don't do?

It seems like with Talar, their delivery people are literally coming into your home and stocking your pantry/fridge.

So now somehow these random delivery people all have to have keys to my apartment (including the main entrance)?

Why would I want some rando coming into my home and placing things? I have my food/ingredients spread across a few different cupboards in my apartment, how am I supposed to specify where I want things to go?

EDIT: Oh apparently it's

"Upon on signing up, your assigned House Manager will contact you to understand your buying and stocking preferences."

Yeah that really doesn't sound like something that will scale well.

And still wouldn't want some rando coming into my house and into my cupboards/fridge/etc. Really weird.

Not just any rando, but a lowly-paid gig worker.


Imagine being asked to deploy highly complex firmware with non obvious failure cases without any software updates. I sure hope that the models with Tensil are not fixed!

Unfortunately a big problem with ASICs is economics/operational issues for the startup cost making a chip. This isn't a traditional engineering problem to solve. I'd be concerned if the founding team doesn't have someone good at that stuff and solving hard technical problems with many years of ASIC experience. Hardware is hard!

Walmart does grocery delivery at zero markup. They have announced but not begun to fridge deliveries. What does Talar have that distinguishes it?

> scheduled grocery delivery can replace it.

Scheduled grocery delivery is an innovation? Seems like the same story, different decade.

Thanks for the shout out for Tensil! Let me know if you're interested in chatting about it tom@tensil.ai

Why not Arpeggio Bio or Asher Bio?

I've seen very few microsurgery advances, and it looked like they might be transplanting single cells. Arpeggio and Asher both seem focused on their single treatment or process...

A microsurgical cell transplant system could usher in an entire class of new treatments that could be adapted in a variety of ways. I think its more likely to succeed, and could have a much larger impact.

How is Globe going to prevent hourly escort rentals?

do you need to? I see another business opportunity

https://prooftrading.com/ this looks like a resume template. The "Progress" section's content is mind boggling to see.

"hire CTO" as a goal

Team capabilities star ratings...

The gigantic Our Story section reads like YC Mad Libs.

> ______ is a bloated industry. It is opaque and old-fashioned, and it has not substantially improved through the technological revolution in the way other industries have, in part because there are tremendous barriers to entry for new innovative players.

> ______ is taking a crack at changing ______ for the better by starting with what we know: ________________________. We are building a nimble, transparent, highly effective ______ platform and hope to go live in 2020.

> hope to go live in 2020


Not good if it takes more than a year to launch an app

I love the transparency. The team seem to have extremely relevant skills and experience - they just are most definitely not CMOs.

What is CMO in this context?

Chief Marketing Officer

Is there a directory which lists how the YC starutps are doing? As in how many from 2016 batch are still around, and how many didn't make it? I am sure there has to be one around.

There is this: https://www.ycombinator.com/topcompanies/ Not exactly what you asked, but gives some insight

this is what you are looking for except S19 not yet updated https://www.ycdb.co/

wow- I didn't even have the patience to read through all of them. How does YC coach so many? At 15 min a startup, they can cursory mentor 32 startups/day or 160/wk if they do nothing else. That doesn't seem like coaching. More like a certificate school.

MyPetrolPump: Bold move to start a business for ICE cars today. Those things need to be all but gone by 2040.

Is getting fuel in India really such a hassle that people are willing to pay a premium to get the fuel delivered to them? How big is this market?

I live in Europe, and have never been to India, so I don't know about the situation there. But personally I can't imagine paying for a service that would maybe save me 5 minutes per week.

I opened their website and they show refilling generators. In india electricity is unrelieable even in the best cities(including bangalore.) So every office and apartment has generators.

Ah, that makes sense! Thanks for the clarification, I should have visited their website before posting my comment.

From my experience, no - its not that big a hassle. However labour is really cheap in India so if someone will deliver it for not much cost why not.

Though I might worry a bit about the what if someone spills petrol and drops a cigarette business. Petrol stations have underground tanks and some distance from habitation to deal with that.

In the U.S. there is Yoshi: https://www.startyoshi.com/

They might make good servicing the scooter rental business which is booming in India.

The pivot to MyElectricityPlug seems inevitable.

This can easily pivot to Battery charging / replacement.

Trella is going to get sued by Trello.

A middle east-focused shipping marketplace is potentially infringing on the not-the-same-word trademark of a list/board web application?

> GitStart allows you to send small coding tasks (from JIRA, etc.) to its global network of developers. They charge a fee for each task — but if the developer does a good enough job that you’d like to hire them more permanently, GitStart also makes a commission.

When was this company created? I thought the Git trademark policy disallows anybody new from naming things “Git”-thing.

Trademark law is not enforced like copyright law is. It is the responsibility of the trademark owner to take infringing companies to court, or risk losing the mark. Maybe someone should tell Linus and co.

What about GitHub? Is it older than Git's trademark?

It, along with GitLab and a couple others, predate the official policy so they’re grandfathered in.

I was even going to say it was a missed opportunity for gittyup but maybe giddyup is better for TM avoidance!

Amazed you can trademark a slang word: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Git_(slang)

I don't think it's just the word - I think it's the combination of the word and the usage.

If your "GitStart" startup was intended to help "unpleasant, silly, incompetent, annoying, senile, elderly or childish person[s]" to start doing something, I think you'd have no problems from a trademark perspective.

If your "GitStart" startup is to help people start doing something with Git, the (trademark-ed) source code management system, then you might be in trouble.


If GitHub was granted an exclusive word trademark, then copying some or all of it should result in an accepted opposition by the USPTO. It doesn't matter if the offender company is in another segment, since GitHub is a notorious trademark (i.e. if you try to trademark MacHair for a hair salon, you will get sued by Apple and/or Macdonald's).

However, I don't think it's the case, since the word GIT has been used by other entities long before GitHub came to be. Otherwise, we wouldn't have GitLab, for instance.

I think GitHub might have problems suing GitStart or other Git- names as they didn't invent Git. It was Linus of course who did.

Agreed - it would probably be the Software Freedom Conservancy, if anyone.

See https://git-scm.com/about/trademark for their policy on this.

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