Y Combinator selects record 15 Indian startups
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Y Combinator has picked a record 15 startups for its summer batch of 2019. The famed Silicon Valley accelerator has been behind startups like accommodation-sharing platform Airbnb and payments platform Stripe.
Typically, Y Combinator picks four-five startups from India for each of its summer and winter batches. So, the latest selection underlines a pickup in the early stage startup ecosystem. Till now, Y Combinator has backed 40 startups from India since 2014. The firm had selected four startups for the recently concluded batch.
While Y Combinator did not disclose the names of the startups picked for this year, most of them focus on solving problems and building products for the Indian consumer, besides a few software companies.
“We believe there are many massive $10-billion+ companies to be built for India. A key factor in what will make the next ‘Silicon Valley’ will be founders who made it big, and then who give back by investing in the newer generation of founders. I now see the very beginning of this happening in India,” Y Combinator partner Adora Cheung told TOI.
What helped increase the number of participants this year was that Y Combinator held interviews from shortlisted applicants in India for the first time. Another factor was the launch of the YC Startup School, which attracted a lot of students from India.
“There was a 50% increase in applications from India. Part of it was because we announced interviews in Bengaluru. The other part was because of YC Startup School — a 10-week online free course on how to start a startup. We will be repeating both,” added Cheung.
Y Combinator has backed over 2,000 startups since the programme was launched in 2005 and, collectively, these companies have been valued at over $100 billion. Some of its biggest global successes besides Stripe (valued at $22.5 billion) and Airbnb ($35 billion) include crypto exchange Coinbase ($8 billion), cloud storage platform Dropbox ($9.3 billion) and delivery company Doordash ($12.6 billion).
What might be driving further interest of Y Combinator in India could also be the success of some of the early companies it had backed, including online tax-filing platform Cleartax, social commerce platform Meesho ($250 million) and payment gateway Razorpay, which is raising a new round of funding at a valuation of over $400 million.
The development comes as new startup formation has also picked up after falling for the first time in five years in 2017 as funding had slowed. India added 1,200 technology startups in 2018 compared with 1,000 in previous year, software lobby group Nasscom had said in a report on the startup ecosystem in October.
At the same time, venture firms are getting more active at the seed and early stage and investing larger amounts of $500,000 to $1.5 million, compared to $150,000 by Y Combinator. Sequoia Capital India announced its accelerator programme, called Surge, earlier this year, while Kalaari Capital runs a programme called KStart since 2016.
“Investors have also realised that they need to have a more broad-based approach and diversify their thought process in looking for the next big disruptor. Big global accelerators realise that the India venture capital market is deepening. So, even they don’t want to get disrupted,” said KStart partner Revanth Bhate.
Source: ET Tech