Analyzing Y Combinator’s Three Recent Startup Cohorts: What Can We Learn?

Saeed Zeinali
3 min readOct 31, 2023

Y Combinator (YC) is a top accelerator program that many startup founders aspire to join. It’s a place for innovation, talent, and valuable resources. I analyzed Y Combinator’s recent startup cohorts: W24, S23, and W23, and I made several anecdotal observations. This article delves into some of the trends that might be useful to you if you are thinking of starting a startup.

B2B (Business-to-Business) Surge: A Shift in Dynamics

One of the most striking observations is the pronounced shift towards B2B (business-to-business) startups within these cohorts. According to Crunchbase, B2B startups have been on the rise globally, driven by an increasing demand for enterprise solutions and the growing importance of digital transformation. This shift is clearly reflected in Y Combinator’s recent intakes. In the cohort of 2016, when our own startup applied to Y Combinator, there were approximately twice as many B2B companies as B2C (business-to-consumer). However, a closer look at W24, S23, and W23 reveals a dramatic transformation, with the ratio now hovering at nearly 10 B2B startups for every B2C venture. The implications of this shift are profound, signaling a change in the startup landscape’s core dynamics.

AI’s Ubiquity and Transformational Role

The presence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is pervasive across these cohorts. In today’s technology-driven world, AI is at the forefront of innovation and business transformation. A study by Statista reveals that the global AI market is experiencing significant growth, with AI becoming a staple in various industries, from healthcare to finance. Almost every company within Y Combinator’s recent intakes incorporates AI in some capacity, with the primary goal of automating processes and boosting operational efficiency. This trend underscores the transformative potential of AI in shaping the future of business.

No-Code and Automation: Simplifying Development

One notable trend within W24 is the prevalence of companies aiming to automate software development or create a no-code development experience. This development is not isolated; it aligns with broader industry trends. A recent report by Markets and Markets highlights the growing adoption of low-code and no-code platforms in various sectors. As software continues to play a pivotal role across industries, the pursuit of innovative solutions to simplify technology development is a logical progression.

Global Reach and Diverse Representation

Y Combinator’s global outreach has expanded significantly. Crunchbase data shows a notable increase in the number of startups from outside North America participating in Y Combinator’s program. Regions such as Europe, South Asia, the Middle East, and Africa are experiencing a much larger representation than in previous years. This reflects the accelerator’s growing global appeal and its recognition as a launchpad for startups worldwide. Y Combinator’s expansion beyond North American boundaries is not only a testament to the accelerator’s influence but also an indicator of the burgeoning global startup ecosystem.

Gender Diversity and Continued Progress

While the percentage of companies with female founders is growing over time, the pace of this growth remains steady rather than rapid. The tech industry has been striving for greater gender diversity, and Y Combinator plays a pivotal role in advancing this cause. According to a report by PitchBook, funding for female-founded startups is on the rise, yet more efforts are needed to bridge the gender gap. Y Combinator’s commitment to supporting female entrepreneurs is an essential part of this ongoing transformation.

Y Combinator continues to shape and represent current trends in the startup ecosystem. This comprehensive analysis provides insights into the changing dynamics of the startup world. It is a reminder that the entrepreneurial landscape is dynamic and ever-evolving, influenced by market demands, technological advancements, and global entrepreneurship.

Y Combinator, with its finger on the pulse of innovation, offers valuable insights for aspiring entrepreneurs, investors, and anyone interested in the dynamic and transformative world of startups.

**References:**
1. Crunchbase. (2023). *B2B Startups Are on the Rise.* [https://about.crunchbase.com/blog/b2b-startups-are-on-the-rise](https://about.crunchbase.com/blog/b2b-startups-are-on-the-rise)
2. Statista. (2023). *Artificial Intelligence Market Growth.* [https://www.statista.com/statistics/607583/worldwide-artificial-intelligence-market-growth](https://www.statista.com/statistics/607583/worldwide-artificial-intelligence-market-growth)
3. MarketsandMarkets. (2023). *Low-Code Development Platform Market by Component.* [https://www.marketsandmarkets.com/Market-Reports/low-code-development-platforms-market-220059544.html](https://www.marketsandmarkets.com/Market-Reports/low-code-development-platforms-market-220059544.html)
4. Crunchbase. (2023). *Y Combinator Alumni.* [https://about.crunchbase.com/blog/y-combinator-alumni](https://about.crunchbase.com/blog/y-combinator-alumni)
5. PitchBook. (2023). *Female Founder Funding Sees Record High.* [https://pitchbook.com/news/articles/female-founder-funding-sees-record-high](https://pitchbook.com/news/articles/female-founder-funding-sees-record-high)

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Saeed Zeinali

Healthcare, Business and Tech enthusiast. Passionate about arts, food, and road-running.