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Y Combinator Winter 2014 Batch Rankings and Quick Reference (mattermark.com)
67 points by daniellegeva on March 25, 2014 | hide | past | favorite | 33 comments

Wow I hate the UI/UX on this page. I know that the page is responsive and probably designed with mobile-first users in mind, given the target might be busy people in SF and tapping the down arrow shows the company description, but:

As someone browsing the site on a laptop, I hate the experience of clicking on each company's tile at the right most corner for a one line description, and all I get are two links: one link for the mattermark score on the left edge and the other for the company url on the right edge. And this disappears when you click on another company profile. ugh!

Yeah, so for others like me, this [1] is a better format, although I don't think it has mattermark rankings built in, it has a better interface for users on a laptop/desktop.

[1] http://ycuniverse.com/ycombinator-companies#ycw14

This is built specifically for mobile usage by people who are at Demo Day. For a desktop friendly style I'd suggest logging in to Mattermark and viewing the batch here: http://mattermark.com/app/data?investors=YC_W14

opened on iPhone - doesn't work. Expand function always scrolls screen too low and forces you to scroll manually back up

It's really interesting how many of these companies seem to be direct competitors with recent YC successes. The Dating Ring is essentially a carbon copy of Grouper in description. Algolia looks to compete with Swiftype. Zesty v. ZeroCater, . AptDeco and Move Loot are competitors within the batch.

Those are just the companies that seem to be solving the same problem in essentially the same way, and not speaking to the broader competitors trying to solve similar problems like analytics, mobile communication, etc. Just those that seem really similar to recent successes. Also, I don't think this is a bad thing. Competition is a net win for productivity, and increasing the number of smart people attacking a problem is a good thing.

Algolia's focus is not site-search but database search. That means we're not searching for long documents (web pages or pdf or ...) but for structured and multi-attributes based records (often stored in a DB). Our engine was built from the ground up (no hidden ES/Solr/Lucene) to provide instant-search (not just "prefix" search) and to retrieve relevant results even from the first keystroke (to do that our engine computes lots of "stuffs" at indexing time).

Got it, thanks for clarifying. Again, I was mainly speaking about the surface level descriptions on MatterMark. Also, I'm totally in favor of multiple smart people working on similar problems. Looking forward to testing Algolia out!

these are very much me-too companies. Algolia says they are database-centric but that's just marketing speak, search is search, "database search" is just facet search where you've told them the relevancy of each facet. TheDatingRing sounds like an absolutely horrible idea, it's like getting a Realtor but for the opposite gender. And their website is embarrassing. They miss the whole point, for many the act of using the dating site is itself rewarding. I've seen this a lot, people enjoy the online attention. Dating really isn't that hard, you don't need a realtor to find someone for you. Their real (online) competitor is facebook. AptDeco are competing against CL which is a waste of time, no matter how fancy the website.

This crop seems to be really disappointing. I didn't see a single company with any actual technology, it's all just me-too plus a little spin.

(I'm VP of Engineering at Algolia) Be sure I'm the first one hating marketing bullshit. Our team of 6 is composed by 5 engineers: we're developers/geeks/tech guys too :) When we speak about "database search" it has actually nothing to deal with "facet search". The 2 main differences of our engine comparing to "traditional/document search engine" is the way the ranking is working and the way we provide instant-search capabilities (not just "suggest" in a separated data structure like what you could have with ES/Solr, but real queries): we call that "database/record search". You may be interested by a blog post we wrote a few weeks ago describing our secret sauce: http://blog.algolia.com/search-ranking-algorithm-unveiled/. If you need more details, I'll be happy to chat (feel free to reach me at sylvain at algolia)

The Dating Ring is closer to a competitor to Grouper than the other dating sites I think you are referencing. And as someone who has used both, the fact that you barely interact with a website to use Grouper is absolutely a highlight.

even though its low on this list, I'm very excited about rickshaw, which I see essentially as a stripe for delivery for the real world. gorickshaw.com

Lots of interesting projects here. I am especially interested in Ambition, this could be a very cool way to drive sales.

Ambition co-founder here, thanks for the interest and you're right that there are a lot of great projects/products/companies in this batch... it's been an incredible learning experience working alongside them for three months.

I'd love to tell you more about Ambition... I'll connect via email.

Are Move Loot and Apt Deco direct competitors? Is it normal for YC to fund multiple versions of the same idea in the same batch?

Both look like cool services and I wish either one was available here in Chicago.

Yesterday my investor decided to fund a direct competitor to my company. Solving the same problem, for the same target market, similar looking solution, slightly different approach. I sense a bit of competitive spirit in the near future. I've already ramped up the schmoozing to get the investors to like us more at a personal level.

I guess it's no big deal. Looking forward to leaving Europe for the next round anyway. With a few exceptions, the higher level VC's here are some of the worst people I've ever met. They literally hate technology.

This is kind of a grey area. It's not unheard of for early-stage investors to fund two or more competitors (real or potential). If an investor believes the problem is real and the TAM is lucrative, then he or she will have an incentive to take as many shots on goal as necessary. Furthermore, as YC states in its FAQ, "...it's unavoidable you'll end up with some overlap" between companies when you fund so many of them, and when the startups' fundamental business models change so often. In these circumstances, YC states its operating procedure as: "...we don't talk to one about what the other's doing."[1]

Early-stage startups are a loosely regulated market. Things get trickier when you're dealing with public companies, or even with very large private companies. The markets are more established, and the potential for anticompetitive behavior is quite real. Some PE groups have started to come under scrutiny for holding corporate-governance-significant equity stakes in two or more firms operating in the same market.[2][3] And in general, a corporate officer or director of a public company will be deemed to have a conflict of interest if he or she holds a significant position in a competing firm.

[1] http://ycombinator.com/faq.html

[2] http://www.weil.com/news/pubdetail.aspx?pub=8165

[3] https://blogs.law.harvard.edu/corpgov/2012/04/01/sec-enforce...

YC's answer to the competing ideas is Yes. They accept startups working on the same idea.

See here: http://ycombinator.com/faq.html

Direct quotes from the above

Q: Will you fund multiple startups working on the same idea?

A Yes. If you fund as many companies as we do it's unavoidable you'll end up with some overlap. Even if you tried not to accept competing companies, you'd still get overlap because startups' ideas morph so much. The way we deal with it is that when two startups are working on related stuff, we don't talk to one about what the other's doing.

In practice it has not turned out to be a problem, because most big markets have room for several slightly different solutions, and it's unlikely that two startups would do precisely the same thing."

Kimono looks like Dapper[1] all over again, only instead of RSS, now it's all about APIs.

[1] http://open.dapper.net/

What does the number mean and where does it come from?

Do you know what no score means? Pushbullet seem like they should have one.

We don't score companies until we have 4 weeks of data, so for some that we haven't been tracking for long we just don't have enough info yet - sorry!

Has anyone ever studied whether momentum is a good measure for eventual success (whatever that might mean)?

Mattermark is fairly new, so I doubt that many companies would have had a concrete track record of success.

Exactly. We have 1 year of data, and are certainly backtesting. So far the only thing we can really test is whether momentum helps with fundraising... more on that soon

Good to hear! I was thinking of doing something similar, but no reason to duplicate effort

With Kimono #1, scraping websites is alive and well! I wish Pushbullet had a score, very useful tool.

lol. merge conflicts: "<<<<<<< HEAD"

@dmor : hey! why did Immunity Project disappear from the list? Last time saw it there it was #3, which is already kind of sad for humanity :-\

Didn't pg say there was a self-driving car startup? I don't see it.

Not everyone presents on demo day, some opt-out meaning they might not be listed here.

I'm pretty sure they did demo. Sama posted a picture of their sensor on Twitter yesterday.

Does anyone know if these scores have been predictive of success in the past?

AFAIK they haven't. The way they score [1] seems to suggest that they might be missing out on companies like https://gorickshaw.com and enterprise focused companies because these company might not perform well on mobile downloads, inbound links, twitter followers, facebook followers and linkedin followers (the six metrics they track and score on).

I personally feel that inbound links, twitter + facebook + linkedin followers don't add all that much to painting a complete picture of the companies that might not be in the "social" space but I feel that if they keep at it long enough and keep iterating, they will eventually figure out how to be less wrong (Even most top VC firms aren't able to consistently pick only winners).

[1] https://mattermark.com/mattermark-score/

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