Deep Dive #6 - YC Startups

It's more than Airbnb and Reddit!

Hey everyone!

Startup Exchange Deep Dive is a newsletter sharing interesting links and resources we find about various topics in the startup world. We also hope to provide opportunities for people looking to break into startups and tech.

If you have any feedback or suggestions let us know!

This week we will be diving into some interesting startups that have come out of Y Combinator.

Cyborgs Incoming 🤖

As wearables have become more mainstream, we’ve seen the beginning of people using technology to augment their bodies. We’ve also seen the beginning of the biohacking revolution, with prominent figures like Dave Asprey leading the way. 

The most interesting development has been attempts made to surgically implant devices that can better our abilities to do certain functions. Over the past couple of years companies have created chips to enhance the capabilities and performance of the brain. Most notable has been a company Elon Musk invested in - Neuralink. Neuralink is creating a chip implanted in the brain that allows for interfacing with computers through an invasive procedure. However, most people are wary of the ethical and invasive aspects of the device. 

MindPortal (YC W21) is an up and coming challenger to Neuralink that hopes to create a non-invasive computer brain interface. This would be huge because invasiveness is one  of the big blockers of consumer adoption for current solutions. Furthermore, MindPortal is creating  a system for two way communication to devices, allowing for really interesting applications. For example, a device could send a signal to the brain to elicit a certain feeling or sensation. 

Modern Age Homebuilding 🏠

The current process for having a house built, usually goes like this for the average person. You drive around neighborhoods under construction, you look at lots, and see pre-set designs. 

Atmos (YC S20) have taken this process and tried to revamp it for the modern era. Through Atmos you can select a lot wherever you want and design a house that meets your expectations as opposed to being forced to select one. 

They make the process extremely easy by abstracting away all the hassle of talking to designers and construction companies through their online platform. This allows people to bypass a lot of the bureaucracy and low-level processes involved in home building and really allows for full customization that has been previously unseen for the average new homeowner.   

Cruise Control?🚗

San Francisco based Cruise(W14) is arguably the most technologically advanced company to have come out of YCombinator. At a time(late 2014) when it seemed like only ultra-rich companies like Google(with Waymo) and Uber(exploring their options) could come about with innovative fully autonomous vehicles, in came Cruise making autonomous vehicles a possibility within 7 years. 

Cruise’s dream has not been to make ultra-rich vehicles or enter the mass-production spiral usually synonymous with vehicles but to make safe self driving vehicles a genuine possibility for the masses irrespective of economic status. A thorough research from Ark Investment’s Analyst team shows how economically viable the actual growth and spread of self driving cars can be and it is this dream that Cruise is chasing. Even though they were acquired by General Electric in 2016, Cruise’s mission hasn’t changed and they’ve since partnered with even bigger companies like Microsoft and Honda to further their vision within GE.

Cruise has already achieved one of their biggest goals of navigating through the complex terrain of San Francisco while minimising possible accidental percentages to less than 1%.

With companies like Zoox and Rivian bagging big investments from Amazon this year, it only remains to see how Cruise uses its smart innovation to democratise the access of their technology/vehicles which seems to be the biggest opportunity in the self driving car space.

Reselling made EASY💰

One of the smartest startups to come out of the Indian IT triangle is Meesho(S16). One of India’s biggest problems to keep up with modern technology has been the relative low digital literacy rates of some demographics of its society. However, media channels of Instagram, WhatsApp and Facebook still form a very important part of Indian Internet culture. 

India is home to arguably the largest number of small scale and medium scale businesses. The people running these businesses like to keep operations fast and don’t have the resources or the skill set(at times) to run a full fledged ecommerce store. Enter Meesho. Meesho provides sellers with products (which it sources from suppliers) and inventory management and other basic seller tools. In turn, sellers hawk their catalog to friends and family as they please. Meesho handles all payment and logistics, providing a cut of the transaction to sellers. In this manner, it enables both suppliers and resellers to form a part of their social commerce economy.

Now nearing a 2B$ valuation, Meesho has partnered with big guns like Facebook and Softbank. With a smart method to hyper-localise to the Indian market, Meesho has not only disrupted reselling in India but has given a chance to several small scale and medium scale businesses.

The Best Roles This Week 🎮

Internships 

MBA Finance Ops Intern - Google X  (Remote)

Archive Intern, Office of the CEO - 23AndMe (Remote)

Developer Education Intern - Twilio (Remote)

Content Strategy Intern - Pawsitive

Full Time Roles

Program Manager - Off The Record

Multiple Roles - TrueBudget

Corp Dev Associate - a16z

Associate - Pillar VC