Y Combinator held its Demo Day in Boston unveiling 19 new startups to VCs and investors. The event was hosted by Paul Graham and Jessica Livingston. The companies covered areas like; video streaming; concert recommendations; enterprise wikis; a music player; an ad network; music games; hosted forums; price search; file synchronization; web promotions; an image editor; music rating; a stock-picking community; video dating; fantasy sports betting; music sharing; hosted applications; universal login, and Wikipedia like biographies.
Prominent VCs from around the country came to Boston for the event including; Fred Wilson (Union Square), David Hornik (August Capital), Jeffrey Bier (North Bridge ), Eric Hjerpe (Atlas), Austin Westerling (Charles River), Rich Levandov (Avalon). There were also people from Highland Capital, General Catalyst, Matrix Partners, Fidelity, Venrock, and others. That is Fred Wilson on the left in the photo.
Most of the companies are two person, very early stage, startups still in stealth mode. We got a good look at all the teams and technology, but I can only mention four of the companies that have actually launched a beta. They are; Adpinion, Anywhere.FM, Fuzzwich, and Versionate.
The companies were much higher quality than I expected. The founders were nearly all coders and hackers but did a surprisingly good job at presenting their idea, target market, and business model, and usually a demo in just 7 minutes. That takes talent. Several VCs said the presentations were better than many they see in their offices.
Like any VC portfolio, the Y Combinator companies will include a couple big winners, a handful of moderate successes, and a large number that will fail to gain traction. However, even those that fail to gain traction will try again and emerge with a new idea. These guys are real entrepreneurs.
Anywhere.FM looks like a (possible) winner. There are several others still in stealth mode that I can't talk about but they are focusing on music, fantasy sports, and photo editing.
Scott Kirsner, Boston Globe writer, was at the event and wrote a blog noting that several of the companies are planning to relocate to Silicon Valley because the VCs are more aggressive and the partnership opportunities are better. Come on Boston VCs! Step up and make the investments.
Next week I will be at TechStars Demo Day where 10 more companies will show their stuff to investors. And later next month I will be at TechCrunch 20 where Michael Arrington and Jason Calacanis will promote their top 20 picks. Fifty hot startups in less than a month. That is my idea of a good geek time.