American seed-stage accelerator Y Combinator (YC) has awarded equity-free grants of $15K to four Indian startups, namely Circles, Vizitor, Sandoras, and Wealth42, along with others who participated in 10-weeks programme of its Startup School.
Startup School is YC’s free online course for founders with unique ideas. Startup School programme, which was launched in 2017, is open to all founders, currently working on a startup or about to start one, to go through the course. However, being part of Startup School doesn’t guarantee entry to YC accelerator.
The Startup School has also announced that its Winter eight-week course will begin on January 20, 2020. During and after the course, YC will introduce startups individually to people who could help them, especially the founders of other YC-funded companies.
Announcing the names of grant recipients, it said in a blog post, “As part of our efforts to further support founders in Startup School, we awarded $15K in equity-free grants to the most promising companies to go through the course. The quality (and quantity!) of founders who participated in Startup School this past year made the grant selection process a tough one.”
A brief on the four Indian startups chosen by Y Combinator, as shared in the blog post:
- Circles is a Bengaluru-based social payments platform that lets users discover and share credit cards, settle debts, and track payments within trusted circles of friends and family.
- Vizitor is a Chandigarh based startup which offers a smart visitor management application that secures the whole check-in & check-out process of guests at your work-places.
- Wealth42 is a robo-advisor app that does goal-based financial planning. The app gamifies personalised investment objectives which help build a habit of saving.
- Sandoras is a Bengaluru-based natural language processing (NLP) model assessment and data augmentation platform.
Y Combinator Increases India Focus
YC was launched in March 2005 and has, till date, accelerated the launch of over 2K startups by providing seed funding. YC aims at helping startups through the tough initial phase, so they can build products or services to raise money on a larger scale.
Y Combinator is a three-month-long intensive accelerator programme followed by demo day on which it offers seed funding, typically around $120K for a 7% equity stake in the selected startups.
For its upcoming batch, the startup accelerator has selected 28 Indian startups — a record for the country — from varied sectors including fitness, farm and fintech for its upcoming batch.
In 2019, YC held onsite interviews in India this time. According to the YC spokesperson, the programme interviewed 140 companies from India this time. The accelerator programme has seen a 50% increase in applications from Indian startups in 2019, she added in an email response sent to Inc42 earlier.
Y Combinator India focus started in 2015 when it had announced it foresees India spawning multiple $10 Bn startups in the next five years and that it wanted to get a shot at finding some of those. The number of startups selected for the winter session this time is double the number of startups selected for the summer batch. Y Combinator recently pulled out of China and reportedly that is the reason for its increased focus on the Indian market.
Indian companies in its portfolio include payments gateway Razorpay, fintech firm ClearTax and social commerce player Meesho, which were part of its earlier 2015 and 2016 batches.