On August 22nd, Y Combinator presented 132 companies at their 27th Demo Day. Y Combinator (YC for short) is a seed accelerator started in 2005. It is regularly recognized as one of the best launching pads for startups. Fast Company calls Y Combinator, “the world’s most powerful start-up incubator”. It has graduated an impressive list of companies including Dropbox, Airbnb, Coinbase, Stripe, DoorDash and many more. As of 2017, Y Combinator had invested in roughly 1,450 companies. Due to the accelerator’s proven success, it’s application process is highly selective.
In the Summer class of 2018, the two leading industries represented are B2B software (30%) and healthcare (28%). There are a total of 20 countries represented, with 28% of the class coming from outside the US. Of the 132 companies, five are located in the southeast region of the United States (six if you include Optic, a company founded in Durham but relocated to San Francisco). Two are located in Atlanta, Georgia, two are from Florida and one is from the Raliegh-Durham area in North Carolina. Here’s a deeper dive into those five companies.
Location: Miami, Florida
Papa provides “grandkids on-demand.” The Miami company operates a platform connecting college students to senior citizens for companionship and assistance. Seniors or their family can call or use a mobile app to schedule a “Papa Pal.” The students can assist with daily tasks or chores, as well as provide companionship to the seniors. Thousands of individuals are turning 65 this year and many report increased loneliness as they enter the senior stage of life.
Data Driven Biosciences
Location: Durham, NC
Data Driven Biosciences uses genomic diagnostic tests to provide a faster and cheaper cancer diagnosis. This company combines it’s testing with machine learning and an extensive database to diagnose cancer ten times faster than the current process. The company’s founder, Dr. Sandeep Dave, is an oncologist, and professor from Duke University.
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
SparkSwap is a new cryptocurrency exchange built on the lightning network. It allows trading of Bitcoin and other currencies without depositing assets to a third party. SparkSwap reduces risks and allows for faster trading.
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
ExceptionALLY aims to help parents understand, organize and plan the care and education of a kid with special needs, such as autism or down syndrome. The platform allows parents to educate themselves as well as collaborate with school personnel to make sure their child’s specific needs are met in the classroom.
Location: Gainesville, Florida
Rain Neuromorphics has developed a processor for artificial intelligence that was inspired by the neurons in the brain. The company believes that it’s Memristive Nanowire Neural Network chip architecture can train more extensive, more powerful neural networks than any commercial chip that’s currently on the market.
Location: San Francisco, CA (But founded in Durham)
These five companies are a great sample of the startups coming out of the Southeast. There is a broad range of industry expertise, there are plenty of resources and talent to support new ideas and overall activity is trending upwards. As the southeast continues to cultivate its startup-friendly cities, I expect that we will begin to see even more Southeast companies appear on YC’s class lists. It’s an exciting time in the Southeast, as new companies arise every day, supported by strengthening startup ecosystems. And quite frankly, I see no end in sight. If I were you, I’d stay tuned in to the Southeast. It’s going to be fun…