YC Startups’ Performance Stats (infographic)

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YC Startups

Y Combinator (YC) is one of the most famous startup accelerators around the globe. According to a study done by SeedRanking, YC and AngelPad were the best accelerators in the US in 2017. Besides funding, most YC startups get massive media exposure and extensive training. YC has 2 batches every year, one in the winter and one in the summer.  Once the batch application is open, YC receives thousands of applications from all over the world.

In this infographic, we will focus only on YC startups from one batch (summer 2016). We selected this batch in order to measure the performance of the startups. Most startups need at least one year before judging its performance. This batch graduated from YC in August 2016. Accordingly, these startups had more than a year to build and market their products.

YC Startups

Overview

Like majority of unicorns, most YC startups from this batch have a team of two founders.  There are 51 startups (out of 92) which have only two founders. Unsurprisingly, only three startups have single founder. Two of them are non-profit startups (DevColor and Vote.org).  Paul Graham (co-founder of YC) considers having a single founder as the top reason for startup failure. Accordingly, for-profit startups with single founders have almost no chance of being enrolled in YC programs.

Beside team size, this batch has four non-profit startups (DevColor, Vote.org, Women Who Code, and New Incentives). Females are slightly underrepresented in this batch. 23 startups from this batch have at least one female founder. Most of these startups are doing very well. Finally, the majority of the startups in this batch are selling their products (or services) directly to their users.

Primary Market

YC startups from the S16 batch are very diversified. The map shown in the infographic describes the primary market targeted by these startups. The startups targeting the US market account for 76% of the whole batch. The second country following the US is Canada (6%), followed by India (3%), Israel (3%), South Korea (2%), and France (2%).

Status

According to our research, there are 11 failed, one acquired (YesGraph), and 80 active startups. We relied on many resources to identify the failed startups because it’s rare to find a failure announcement. Some of the startups in this batch announced on their websites that they would discontinue (like PatientBank and CoinTent). Others have closed their websites for a long time (more than a month). Finally, some other founders (CEOs) abandoned their startups to join other companies.

Fundraising

Most startups that were enrolled in the summer 2016 batch raised investments before joining the program. However, we couldn’t find any fundraising announcement for 14 startups. In addition, we found that 13 startups raised undisclosed funds before or after the program. The majority of the startups from this batch raised funds between one and ten million dollars. On the other hand, there are only three startups that successfully raised more than ten million dollars (Iris Automation, Drivezy, and Legalist).

Online Traffic

Online traffic is the lifeblood of any online business, and website traffic is one of the factors that measure the success of a business. When we analyzed the YC startups’ traffic, we found eight startups having more than hundred thousand unique visitors per month (UVPM). The top three startups are Coub (1.5m), OMG Digital (960k), and The Athletic (950k). Conversely, only seven startups have traffic between 50k and 100k UVPM. Xberts has the highest traffic size of this group of startups (97k), followed by Polymail (72K) and Burrow (67k).

Besides high-traffic YC startups, there are 32 which have traffic between 10k and 50k UVPM. The Flex Company is the leader among these startups (47k), followed by Whyd (46k) and Jumpcut (39k). Surprisingly, 49% of the startups from this batch have very low traffic (less than 10k UVPM). Fortunately, 51% of them are Business-to-Business (B2B). In most cases, Business-to-Consumer (B2C) startups should worry about their monthly traffic more than B2B startups.

Web Popularity

Gaining popularity and media exposure is one of the main reasons why founders dream of joining YC programs. Without media exposure, startups can launch and disappear without being noticed. In order to measure the media exposure for all startups in this batch, we counted the backlinks that each one has. We treated both follow and no-follow links the same way. As per our research, most startups in this batch were featured on reputable websites like TechCrunch, Business Insider, and Forbes.

We considered those with more than 100k backlinks as stars. The most popular startup from this batch is Coub (4.6m), followed by Vote.org (1.2m) and The Athletic (296k). Next, we considered those who have more than 2k backlinks as popular startups. The most popular startup among this segment is Quero Education (97k), followed by OMG Digital (71k) and Whyd (59k). We also considered those who have more than 500 backlinks as moderately popular startups. Finally, we considered those who had fewer than 500 backlinks as unpopular.

Online User Engagement

We measured the online user engagement by the bounce rate. Having a low bounce rate means that most users are taking actions like logging in, buying a product, reading more information, etc. On the other hand, a high bounce rate indicates that the majority of users leave the website without taking any action. We considered those who have bounce rate lower than 30% as extremely engaging websites. We also considered those who have bounce rate less than 40% as engaging websites. Websites having a bounce rate between 40% and 60% were considered moderately engaging. Finally, those who have a bounce rate higher than 60% are considered not engaging.

Conclusion

YC startups from the summer 2016 batch are doing well when compared to others. Having only 11 startups fail within 18 months is much lower than average. Regarding fundraising, most startups raised investment after the YC program. This indicates that being part of the YC program increases the chance of raising funds. In addition, most startups in this batch were featured on the most reputable websites. Finally, 5% of YC startups are considered real stars according to all metrics.