Y Combinator is an accelerator that hosts what are widely considered the most coveted tech startups in the world, and this most recent class is no different. Even with a record 114 startups in its current class, president Sam Altman said they represented “less than 2 percent of the companies that applied.” Only about four or five would go on to become “big hits,” he added.
For every Airbnb, Dropbox, Stripe, or Twitch—all of which are Y Combinator alums in the billion-dollar-startup club—there are hundreds of others that fade into oblivion. It’s hard to say which companies will go on to become unicorns (if we had this skill set, we’d be in a much more lucrative industry), but based on their short two-and-a-half-minute presentations at Y Combinator’s demo days this week, we picked six startups that left a lasting impression.
1. Standard Cyborg
Walking on stage wearing a $23,000 prosthetic leg, the Standard Cyborg founder and CEO Jeff Huber talked about some of the challenges amputees face. Prosthetics are typically very expensive because they’re “designed completely by hand by someone pouring and carving plaster,” and the companies that make them usually discourage wearers from using them in wet environments, like the shower or beach, to avoid rust buildup and the suspension systems jamming. For Huber, whose left leg was amputated at infancy, this meant the mundane task of taking a shower became a daily balancing act. “I’ve definitely fallen lots of times,” he told Quartz, noting many amputees often rely on a special shower stool when bathing.