Twice a yr, the crème de la crème of Silicon Valley flocks to the Computer History Museum in Mountain View to hearken to 100 or so startups ship rigorously curated pitches on the extensively widespread Y Combinator (YC) Demo Days.
To choose the batches, the accelerator program evaluations numerous functions from varied sectors and nations. According to YC associate Adora Cheung, these had been a number of the tendencies that stood out this yr: synthetic intelligence and machine studying (particularly in well being care), instruments for machine studying engineers, augmented actuality, cryptocurrency merchandise, customized shopper packaged items (CPGs), “and in addition a lot of biotech,” Cheung wrote, in an e mail to VentureBeat.
When requested whether or not the accelerator program is seeing an growing variety of female-led startups, Cheung replied: “Yes, however I can’t inform if the raise is only a random blip for now as a result of it’s small. We have a number of work to do to get to a statistically important change.”
The accelerator program already has an annual Female Founders Conference, the place feminine YC alumni take the stage to share their experiences and progress.
Internally, YC can be doing an important job at selling gender fairness, as one-third of its companions are ladies. This consists of founding associate Jessica Livingston, companions Cheung, Carolynn Levy, Kat Manalac, and Kirsty Nathoo, and, extra just lately, Anu Hariharan, who joined the accelerator as a associate of YC Continuity, a progress fund for later-stage startups.
VentureBeat checked in with Hariharan to be taught extra about Continuity’s just lately launched Growth Stage Program, the difficulties of elevating a sequence A, and what investments she and associate Ali Rowghani are eyeing for 2018.
(This interview has been edited for readability and size.)
VentureBeat: You oversee the Continuity Fund with Ali. What are a number of the challenges that startups face when elevating capital put up seed?
Anu Hariharan: Raising a sequence A is sort of completely different from elevating a seed spherical. The sequence A course of tends to be extra structured and formal, and potential sequence A traders count on you to pitch utilizing a deck as a result of they’re within the story about your organization. Your capability to convey that story is equally necessary as a result of it demonstrates your capability to recruit and entice the fitting senior execs as you scale the corporate. It additionally demonstrates your capability to fundraise sooner or later, particularly as you begin interacting with progress traders. The deck at a excessive degree ought to contact on three to 4 key components:
- Market alternative
- Product/market match: What ache level are you fixing, and what are the proof factors of an early product market match?
- Team: Why this group and why now?
- Use of proceeds: How a lot are you planning to lift, and what milestones do you propose to hit with that money?
VB: Are you hoping that with the Growth Stage Program, startups will probably be higher geared up when scaling?
Hariharan: One of the frequent errors we see founders make post-series A is that they fail to scale as a CEO. The transition from being the “doer-in-chief” (pre-series A) to “company-builder-in-chief” (post-series A) is extraordinarily necessary. Once you’ve got 30 workers, you need to spend extra time main (recruiting, constructing a group, directing actions of others) and fewer time doing the work your self (coding, answering assist tickets, and many others.). This is commonly onerous to do. Our hope is that the expansion stage program may help our founders make that transition by studying from one another and from knowledgeable practitioners who share their classes.
VB: What kinds of investments is the Continuity Fund focusing on for subsequent yr? Are any non-YC startups piquing your curiosity?
Hariharan: Continuity invests in two methods. The first is professional rata investing. We train YC’s professional rata investing rights in all follow-on priced financing rounds as much as a sure post-money valuation, starting with an organization’s first priced spherical. Second, progress investing. We search for firms with a robust product market match, a transparent enterprise mannequin, and a buyer traction demonstrating they’ve the flexibility to scale. Our main focus is YC startups, as a result of why wouldn’t or not it’s?
VB: Some argue that whereas VCs put money into cutting-edge applied sciences, the standard VC funding mannequin is antiquated. Is YC making an attempt to remain forward of the curve by integrating AI-powered softwares in deal sourcing, due diligence, and many others.?
Hariharan: One of essentially the most time-consuming duties is studying functions. We’re constructing AI to learn alongside us and level out issues within the functions we could have missed.
This article sources data from VentureBeat