The 15 Most Successful Y-Combinator Companies

Personal note: Welcome all Y-Combinator News and Digg users. This list is based on my opinions and observations on what I’m reading in the press and it is pretty subjective. I know I may have missed a couple of companies and if I did, please let me know in the comments without trolling. Maybe even leave your top 15 favorite Y-Combinator ideas-it’d make a good debate. I gathered a lot of the funding data via Crunchbase. I think every Y-Combinator company is amazing and don’t want to make any comparisons nor do I want to offend anyone. But these 15 companies seem to be good benchmarks to work with given the press that I’ve read about them.

Paul Graham created one of the most popular incubation companies called Y-Combinator. Y-Combinator offers financing, business networking opportunities, etc. Y-Combinator gives companies about $5,000 per startup and $5,000 per founder for companies that comprise of about 2-4 people. Y-Combinator gets about 2-10% equity in exchange and requires startup teams to relocate to Y-Combinators facilities in Cambridge, Mass. in the summer and Mountain View, Calif. in the winter.

Y-Combinator has seen it’s fair share of companies not doing well after receiving funding. But Y-Combinator has seen tremendous success with some of the companies that they have funded as well. And when I say tremendous success, I mean TREMENDOUS.

Below is a list of the top 15 companies I believe were the some of the most successful for Y-Combinator.

15. Snipd

1. $15,000 seed from Y-Combinator is a way for users to literally cut pieces out of a website and share them on a widget using scissors. Users can cut out text, images, and video. The company opened it’s doors a few days ago and has been growing since they were in beta.

Snipd wants to monetize their idea by replacing the ShareThis and AddThis buttons that are currently on many mainstream sites. Then Snipd would provide analytics services to media companies about what type of content is hotter than others.

14. heysan! inc.

1. $20,000 seed from Y-Combinator
2. $855,000 seed from Khosla Ventures and Atomico Investments is a mobile messaging service that allows users to IM each other over the phone using AIM, MSN, Yahoo!, ICQ, and Google Talk.  There is no download required and it is a free service.  Heysan is actively working on support for Facebook Chat and Myspace IM support.

The company was founded by Michael Ossareh and Marie Brattberg.

13. Weebly, Inc.

1. Unknown amount in seed from Y-Combinator
2. $650,000 seed from Baseline Ventures is a company where users can create websites quickly.  It is definetely more useful that GeoCities.  The interface is utilizes AJAX and drag+drop technology.  This month, Weebly announced that they have reached over 1 million users.  And in May 2007, Weebly raised $650,000 in funding.

Weebly was founded by David Rusenko, Chris Fanini, and Dan Veltri.

12. Addmired, Inc.

1. Unknown amount in seed from Y-Combinator

Addmired is the parent company of AddHer first asks the users to upload a picture of themselves. The second step is to create a widget and embed it on MySpace profiles or any other websites. The widget will display 2 random individuals selected from the uploaded photos and will ask the reader questions such as “Who Dresses Better?” or “Who’s the next generation prom queen?”

Addher creates a weekly video of a featured users and publishes it on their blog. The company was founded by Gabriel Leydon, Halbert Nakagawa, and Michael Sherrill. AddHer’s traffic has been shooting up since July 2008.

11. Justin.TV

1. $50,000 in seed from Y-Combinator, Paul Graham, Paul Buchheit, Aydin Senkut, Mike Maples, and Georges Harik
2. Unknown Series A amount from Alsop-Louie Partners

Justin.TV reached one million users since the company launched in May 2007. Justin.TV is one of the most famous live web video broadcasting companies on the Internet today. The company was started by Justin Kan, who wanted to broadcast his life 24 hours a day. It’s like The Truman Show.

One of Justin.TV’s biggest wins was getting the Jonas Brother to do a live video on their site around August 2007.

10. Tipjoy

1. Unknown seed from Y-Combinator
2. $1 million angel funding from Chris Sacca, Betaworks, and The Accelerator Group allows bloggers to make money through donations. If users add the “Tip This” button to each blog post or a “Leave a Tip” banner somewhere, this allows a blog’s readers to pay for good content.

Best of all, Tipjoy gives 96% of the earnings to the blogger. The remaining money goes towards PayPal’s service fee of 2% and Tipjoy earns 2% from a service fee. Bloggers can cash out through an gift card or withdrawing their tips.

TipJoy was started by Abigail Kirigin and Ivan Kirigin.

9. Songkick

1. $15,000 from Y-Combinator
2. $1 million Series A from SoftTech VC and The Accelerator Group aggregates concert ticket listings across 16 ticket vendors in the U.S. and the U.K. Then they put all the ticket sellers in one place so users can compare prices.

Songkick also has a plug-in that chimes in to iTunes, Winamp, and Windows Media Player so that it can automatically detect your favorite artists’ upcoming concerts. Songkick has been continuously growing without slowing down. Songkick was founded by Ian Hogarth, Pete Smith, and Michelle You.

8. Disqus

1. Unknown seed from Y-Combinator
2. $500,000 Series A from Union Square Ventures is a company that created software to make threaded comments. Disqus also made spam control software. Disqus was founded Daniel Ha and Jason Yan.

Comments integrated by Disqus are based on a voting system. Disqus has been constantly growing in traffic since launching in May 2007.

7. Dropbox

1. Unknown seed from Y-Combinator
2. $1.5 million Series A from Sequoia Capital allows users to store and share files online. Dropbox works with Windows and Mac and appears in a similar format as an explorer window. When opening files and editing them in the explorer window, the changes apply and a green checkmark appears on top of the file.

Dropbox was founded by Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi. Dropbox has been constantly growing in traffic.

6. Anywhere.FM

1. $15,000 seed from Y-Combinator
2. Rumored $100,000 seed funding from angels
3. Acquired by iMeem

Anywhere.FM is a service where people can upload their music and listen to it on the go. Thus far over 15 million songs have been uploaded on Anywhere.FM. Anywhere.FM has close to 100,000 users. The company was founded by former and Microsoft employees.

The company was started by Luxiou Chen, Sachin Rekhi, and Anson Tsai. Anywhere.FM has been growing at a stable rate since their acquisition.

5. Loopt

1. $6,000 seed from Y-Combinator
2. $5.05 million Series A from New Enterprise Associates and Sequoia Capital
3. $8.25 million Series B from New Enterprise Associates and Sequoia Capital

Loopt is a mobile social networking service that shows if a friend is available, away from their phone, etc. Users can be alerted if a friend is within proximity. This service is a direct competitor of Dodgeball.

Loopt was started by Sam Altman and Nick Sivo. Loopt has fairly steady growth and has created an app that supports the iPhone.

4. Scribd

1. $12,000 seed from Y-Combinator
2. $40,000 angel investment from The Kinsley Hills Group
3. $3.71 million Series A from The Kinsley Hills Group and Redpoint Ventures is the YouTube of documents. Anyone can upload documents and embed them into websites. Scribd has a beautiful interface and allows users to easily share, add to favorites, and e-mail to others.

The company was founded by John Adler, Jared Friedman, and Tikhon Bernstam. The company grew from 3 employees to 14. Many publishers have agreed to put all of their books online through Scribd for free. Douglas Clegg put his book, Afterlife in its entirety on Scribd.

3. Xobni

1. $12,000 seed from Y-Combinator
2. $80,000 angel investment from Y-Combinator
3. $4.26 million Series A from Atomico Investments, Ariel Poler, Saar Gur, Tom Pickney, Khosla Ventures, and First Round Capital, “inbox” spelled backwards, was personally endorsed by Bill Gates. Xobni creates a profile for every contact that you e-mail on Microsoft Outlook. Xobni helps manage relationships with those that you e-mail regularly. It brings contact info, related people, email usage stats, and threaded conversations to Outlook.

Xobni was founded by Adam Smith and Matt Brezina. The company was founded in April 2006. Xobni was also one of the first partners of Facebook Connect.

2. Reddit

1. $100,000 seed from Y-Combinator
2. Acquired by Condé Nast was Digg’s biggest competitor when the company first started around June 2005. Reddit depended on user-submitted news and the community would vote how popular a particular story is. The winning stories would make it to the homepage.

The company was founded by Alexis Ohanian and Steve Huffman, graduates at the University of Virginia. A few months ago, Reddit went completely open source.

1. Ominisio

1. Unknown seed from Y-Combinator and Chris Sacca
2. Acquired by YouTube (via Google) for $15 million created a way for a video to sync a presenter with his/her presentation on a video side-by-side in a dual-screen. Omnisio created this using SlideShare, a presentation-sharing community.

Omnisio was founded by Ryan Junee, Julian Frumer, and Simon Ratner. YouTube loved this idea and wanted to roll this up into their own company, thus leading to a $15 million acquisition. Below is an example of Omnisio in action.
</p> <div><a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="" >Share and annotate your videos</a> with Omnisio!</div> <p>

This article was written by Amit Chowdhry. You can follow me at @amitchowdhry or on Google+ at

The 15 Most Successful Y-Combinator Companies Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    There have only been a handful of acquisitions and large Series A deals from YC companies. What about Heroku, $3M Series A from Redpoint?

    What about Auctomactic, Zenter and other acquisitions? Parakey?

    What about really well running companies like Wufoo and RescueTime?

    Loopt is arguably the largest and most valuable YC company currently.

  2. Amit Chowdhry says:

    1. I did not hear about the $3 mllion Series A from Redpoint for Heroku.
    2. I did not know that Parakey was a Y-Combinator company.
    3. Perhaps I need to educate myself more about Auctomactic, Wufoo, and RescueTime. Personally I have not heard much about them.

    Most of the visitors that came here were from Y-Combinator’s own social bookmarking site so obviously they’ll know more about the companies than me and which companies are doing better.

    My criteria for determining these top 15 were:
    1. Acquired or not. If not, did they receive add’l funding
    2. Traffic growth (WooFu’s traffic seems to be fluctuating quite a bit) compared to some of the others I’ve selected.

  3. Vincent says:

    It appears like the only metric of success is traffic. I don’t see any clear-cut link to actual revenue here.

  4. Amit Chowdhry says:

    I don’t have access to the revenues of Y-Combinator companies since they’re all private.

  5. Josh says:

    Seems like Wufoo’s traffic is pretty straightfoward…

  6. Anonymous says:

    If you’re looking at traffic, the only 10,000+ Alexa company you left off is Jamglue. Is that because its audience is urban youths instead of rich white guys?

  7. Sara says:

    Wufoo! Duh!

  8. Anonymous says:

    It seems that in order to ascertain which YC are the most successful, one would need to establish both a process and criteria. In order to conduct a thorough comparison, an important step in the process would be to identify ALL launched YC startups ( I am surprised to read that the author did not do so before beginning his analysis. If he had, he would be familiar with Auctomactic, Wufoo, and RescueTime. It’s a shame that revenue and profit information isn’t available, b/c I feel that would be a strong indicator of success. I agree that traffic is another indicator, but I’m not sure I wholly agree that the amount of funding should be weighted equally. Some startups don’t need millions in funding to become extremely profitable/successful.

  9. Rich White Guy says:

    I love Jamglue.

  10. stop whining says:

    i think the author did enough analysis to determine what he thinks is the 15 most interesting.

  11. Dan says:

    Why is there so much anger. While I may not agree with the post, he’s still entitled to his own opinion. It’s not difficult to voice your thoughts without slamming the author.

  12. Sean says:

    Great overview Amit. Ultimately I’d define successful companies as those with the biggest valuation. Traffic and revenue don’t necessarily reflect valuation. Not sure that I’d put Omnisio as the most successful as I believe several of the companies are worth more than their acquisition price. I do marketing work with both Xobni and Dropbox, and believe both are probably worth more than $15 million. I’d probably rank Loopt at number one in terms of valuation. I’m sure they are getting a big boost from the recent iPhone commercials. But overall great perspective – thanks.

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