Stitching Stats: YC

YC

It’s a place where people come together and conspire to create worthwhile products that provide value. A place where ideas get turned into billion dollar companies & impact the masses. YC has been called home by companies which have gone on to be worth a whopping 70 billion dollars, making it one of, if not the most prestigious startup accelerators worldwide.

Given my admiration for the accelerator, which has funded & advised a fair few of the products I use day to day, I thought I’d put together some stats using the data collected from their website.

First up is the overall number of companies it has admitted into the accelerator since its inception. We’re looking at a 2088% growth from 2005 to 2016.

startups-admitted

An incredible stand alone figure, but one that isn’t entirely fair. As of the 26th of August 2015 the number of YC companies that had dissolved sat at 177, as opposed to the 894 startups that passed through its doors, meaning a net of 717 companies were launched up until then.

If you believe that companies only survive if they provide value to their customers, as I do, then it’s easy to see that YC is playing all its cards in an attempt to provide value. Or in an other light, capitalize on it seeing as it is technically a VC and only really consults with the people who provide value.

Looking back YC’s journey, Jessica Livingston speaks of the benifits of batch on-boarding (two batches; winter & spring) “you could teach them all the same things at once, they became colleagues because starting a startup with 1 or 2 people is very lonely & isolating”. Humans are social creatures that thrive in packs so intuitively the benefits of batch on-boarding is obvious.

winter-vs-spring-admissions

There’s a pretty significant drop in 2013 that breaks the growing trend, perhaps somebody else with more info could elaborate.

Consistency of the Data

Given that the only validation has been that the data came from the YC website, I thought I would look into the YC blog to check the stats published for consistency.

Blog Post 1 – YC Portfolio Stats

This post from July 16th 2014, says that the number of startups funded by YC to date are 716. Given that we don’t know if the spring batch is included, lets sum 2005 to 2014 inclusive of the spring batch 691 & the same exclusive of the spring batch 613.

Both numbers look slightly off but personally I’m not too bothered. At worst a ~15% margin for error sounds bad but given that nobody is making mission critical decisions based on this data, the world will live another day.

Blog Post 2 – YC Stats Winter 2015

The first thing that sticks out in this post is the number of startups funded in winter 2015, the 114 stated in the post doesn’t correlate with the 98 in our graph. The next number to look at is the number of overall companies funded, 842 in the post as opposed to the 894 (inclusive of W15) 796 (exclusive of W15) in our data set.

I highly suggest checking out the other stats regarding founder ethnicities, genders & company focus. If more of that kind of information was publicly available it would be ridden with useful insights.

Valuations

An excerpt from the FAQs on the YC website seems to show…

We have a standard deal – we’ll invest $120k in return for 7% of the company’s equity. While we may deviate from this in exceptional cases, it will still be the case for almost all of the companies we fund

… that the standard valuation of a YC startup upon joining is ~1.7 million dollars.

An interesting insight would be to see what the valuations of startups are after the 3 months in San Francisco working with YC. But again, finding that type of data is fairly difficult unless you’re on the inside. And with a current batch acceptance rate of  <3%, its harder to be accepted ‘inside’ the YC  than it is to be accepted to Stanford.

Finally, as promised a more friendly version of the data on the website can be found here.