My first YC Demo Day was in Summer of 2008, where my startup and twenty-one others anxiously pitched a room full of investors on what we’d been working so hard to build.
Fifteen years later, I’m here as YC’s president kicking off our 37th Demo Day — the one celebrating the Summer 2023 batch. I’ve seen a lot of batches in the last decade and a half, and I can say without a doubt: this is a good one. It’s one of the strongest YC batches ever; the technical talent runs deep.
We received over 24,000 applications for this batch; we funded 229. We deliberately went with very early startups for this batch. 75% of the companies presenting today started with no revenue on day one of YC. 81% had never raised a dime.
This is the first batch in over three years that took place 100% in person. Office hours, speaker sessions, meetups — we were able to be together for all of it. For the next batch, I’m happy to share that we’re also making plans for an in-person, invite-only Demo Day. Virtual Demo Day served us well for the last few years and we’re planning to continue offering a way to watch it remotely… but there truly is no room like the one that YC can bring together for Demo Day. Want to be there? Invest in YC companies.
You’ll notice AI has a big presence in the S23 class — this is no accident. Recent developments in AI have unlocked an entire universe of possibilities, presenting a resoundingly clear answer to the question of “Why now?”. There has never been a better time to start an AI company than now, and there is no better place to start an AI company than Y Combinator.
This batch brings the YC community to over 10,000 founders across more than 4,500 startups. 350+ of those startups are valued at more than $150 million; 90+ of them are valued at more than $1 billion. Over 5% of YC companies become unicorns, a percentage that still blows my mind to write. It’s unrivaled.
YC now has more full-time Group Partners than it ever has before, allowing us to give more personalized attention to those founders and their startups. YC’s Group Partners are the ones that pick the companies, work with them throughout the batch, and support the founders for the life of their company. The newest Group Partner is Tom Blomfield, co-founder of two billion-dollar startups: GoCardless and Monzo. We also recently welcomed back YC alum Wayne Crosby (co-founder of Zenter, the startup that became Google Slides) and Emmett Shear (co-founder of Twitch) as Visiting Group Partners.
For years we’ve shared what verticals each respective batch focused on. For S23, it breaks down like this:
- 70% in B2B SaaS / Enterprise
- 10% in Fintech
- 10% in Healthcare
- 6% in Consumer
- 4% Proptech / Industrials
The demographics* for the S23 batch:
- 16% Asian
- 2% Black
- 3% Hispanic or Latino
- 3% Middle Eastern or North African
- 6% Multiracial
- 12% South Asian
- 29% White
(* self-reported and opt-in; not all founders reported demographics)
Additionally, 15% of the S23 companies have a woman founder and 10% of the founders are women.
If you’re investing in YC companies, three things I ask of you:
- Do no harm — This should be a simple one, but as with anything having to do with investing, it gets complicated. If you don’t have capital to invest, if the startup is clearly out-of-thesis, or if there’s a clear conflict (such as having invested in a competitor when you don’t invest in competing companies), you shouldn’t meet with them. If you might be able to invest or help but not until later, call that out up front so founders can properly prioritize.
- Make decisions quickly — Speaking from experience, I know how hard it is as an investor to talk to dozens of startups in quick succession. But this is their life, and no matter how busy you get, we ask you to treat each founder with respect and seriousness. The wrong way to do YC Demo Day is to wait until a deal gets hot. We want you to be a conviction investor: make your own call, do your own research, and get to know the founders and their spaces. If it all resonates with you, invest.
(We recommend using the handshake deal protocol so you and the founders can choose to work together in a quick and clean way. If you haven’t seen that, here it is.)
- Act like long-term owners and be helpful — If you’re investing, introduce the founders to more investors. Introduce them to potential customers. YC is a community. The founders tell each other who’s most helpful, and who can help bake that 10-year “overnight” success. If you’re looking for a quick flip, this is the wrong business for you to be in.
I am so excited for this new set of founders joining the YC community. We’re thankful to our YC investor community and are excited that with the founders, we’ll be looking to create the next generation of world-changing startups.
Do you want to be a part of the next batch of YC? Apply here.