YC Companies Analysis

Aug. 22, 2023
4 min read
Team skills.ai


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Executive summary

  • The data presents the distribution of the number of cofounders in startups. The most prevalent is startups with 2 cofounders (2145), followed by single-founder startups (1010). As the number of cofounders increases, the count drops noticeably, with startups having 6 cofounders being extremely rare.

  • Geographically, the majority of startups are based in the United States, particularly in San Francisco. However, the data also reflects a global distribution of startups, with non-US locations like Bengaluru, India, and London, United Kingdom showing strong startup numbers. Latin America and Africa are represented by Mexico City, Mexico, and Lagos, Nigeria respectively.

  • Industry analysis reveals a significant number of companies are building for the Software as a Service (SaaS) and Business to Business (B2B) sectors. The Fintech industry is also notably popular, as are the Developer Tools and Marketplace sectors. Trends towards Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning are evident.

  • YCombinator's acceptance of startups has been increasing annually since 2005, with 2021 having the highest number of accepted startups. Noteworthy growth spurts are observed between 2010-2011 and 2014-2015. As of 2023, the number of accepted startups stands at 198, with the final count to be updated as the year progresses.

About the data

This dataset encompasses all companies accepted by the startup incubator YCombinator up until early 2023. YCombinator runs two batches each year, with the summer batch designated by an 'S' and the winter batch by a 'W'. The industry_tags column contains multiple tags; prior to analysis, these must be separated and the data normalized. Missing values are replaced with “Unknown”.


1. Number of cofounders distribution.

  • The data illustrates the distribution of the number of cofounders in various startups.
  • The most common number of cofounders is 2, with a count of 2145. This implies that most startups prefer a dual leadership structure.
  • Startups with a single founder are the next most common, with 1010 instances. This suggests a significant number of entrepreneurs prefer to start their ventures independently.
  • The count drops noticeably as the number of cofounders increases. There are 780 startups with 3 cofounders, 136 with 4, and just 19 with 5.
  • Instances of startups with 6 cofounders are extremely rare, with only 2 recorded. It's also worth noting that there are 36 startups without any listed cofounders.

2. Geographical distribution.

  • The United States hosts the highest number of startups, with San Francisco leading with 1325 startups. Other notable US cities include New York, Los Angeles, Palo Alto, and Mountain View.
  • Among non-US locations, Bengaluru, India has the highest number of startups (111), followed by London, United Kingdom (108) and Toronto, Canada (77).
  • Notably, Mexico City, Mexico and Lagos, Nigeria are leading startup hubs in Latin America and Africa, respectively.
  • Among the listed data, there are several startups located in relatively smaller cities and towns, indicating the spread of the startup culture beyond major cities.
  • Despite the high concentration in certain cities, the data reflects a global distribution of startups, spanning North America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

3. What industry are companies building for.

  1. The largest number of companies are building for the Software as a Service (SaaS) and Business to Business (B2B) sectors, with 916 and 711 mentions respectively in the data.
  2. The Fintech industry follows closely behind with 630 mentions, showing a strong interest in financial technology solutions.
  3. Developer Tools and Marketplace sectors also present significant numbers, with 353 and 317 mentions respectively, indicating a demand for tools that aid in software development and online commerce platforms.
  4. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning are also prevalent sectors with a total of 285 and 203 mentions respectively, reflecting the ongoing trend towards AI-driven solutions.

4. Number of startups accepted by YC on annual basis.

  • The number of startups accepted by YCombinator has been increasing annually since 2005, with some fluctuations.
  • 2021 stands out as the year with the highest number of accepted startups (704), followed by 2022 with 607 startups.
  • A significant growth spurt in the number of accepted startups is observed between 2010-2011 (42 to 98) and 2014-2015 (142 to 204).
  • The years 2005-2009 show a moderate increase in the number of startups, with 2009 having 23 startups accepted.
  • As of 2023, the number of startups accepted is at 198, but the year is not yet complete; the final count may increase.

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