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Program Startup Ideas

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Imagine an app that tells you when all of your favorite brands are offering some new deal. With their tech platform, the company is building a business that runs “brand-specific loyalty programs.”

163

 A startup that creates low-cost, programmable electronics for the Internet of Things.

121

A program that trains and supports people to become entrepreneurs. The startup has raised $1.35 million.

109

This startup is building a system to help engineers understand the best ways to program to particular chips.

107

A company that’s building a “Netflix for fitness”. The company wants to be able to provide “instant-on, personalized, scalable, and effective fitness programs”.

105

A company that runs gamified learning programs for employees and helps them retain information.

103

An online platform that helps students get into college by providing information about scholarships, programs and financial aid.

97

A startup that provides data about charities so you can see how much they are spending on administration vs program expenses

91

A startup for teachers and parents to create an after-school program that takes place during the school day and aims to save money on travel and out-of-school costs.

90

A video game for learning how to program

87

In the summer of 2016, the Y Combinator Summer School launched a $100,000 scholarship for students who attend the program. The scholarship is awarded to graduate students from underrepresented backgrounds.

87

A SaaS business aimed at helping companies create online training programs for their employees.

86

A startup to help you understand your current credit card’s reward programs

85

Another startup accelerator program, Techstars was originally called TechStars but shortened its name in the summer of 2010.

84

A CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program that provides customers with weekly deliveries of fresh produce and other items from local farmers. Customers pay for their weekly deliveries of local fruits and vegetables through a subscription model.

84

This machine learning startup is building a program to identify problems in the world’s food supply

84

A company that provides a platform to run community-based learning programs in developing countries online.

82

A web-based SaaS that helps businesses sell products with coupon codes, through the company’s own network of retailers. The startup sells coupons via a monthly subscription program, and will offer a “freemium” model to startups and small businesses who want to use the tool without it costing them.

82

A startup working on a program to prevent water damage in homes.

81

A group of entrepreneurs who were tasked with building out the Internet of Things for the US government. The team is building a programmable thermostat, which they say will “change the way people live and work”.

81

A computer science startup that builds simple, cheap, and fast hardware for India’s unconnected. One product, called the Laptop Bridge, is a $35 device meant to plug into an electrical socket and convert it into a computer-like device that can run basic programs and connect to the internet, so that farmers, students, or anyone else can use it.

81

A startup that helps you set up a study abroad or exchange program at a college in the US. The startup is currently focused on China and has a pending partnership with a college there.

79

A tool to help programmers manage their time, to increase productivity and reduce distractions.

79

This startup lets employers create employee referral programs and sells the referral fees. The startup’s customers include companies like Wayfair, Zillow, and American Express.

79

This company is building a toolkit for managing and monitoring your content marketing campaigns. The goal is to make it easy for companies to build and manage their content marketing programs.

78

A platform for managing and sharing programs that helps companies and nonprofits with their marketing materials.

77

A platform to help college students compare programs and prepare for graduation.

77

A peer-to-peer lending company that focuses on college students. The company says it’s in talks with a few large consumer finance companies and would like to see itself included in student loan refinancing programs. They’re based in Delaware.

77

Founded in 2015, Y Combinator is a Silicon Valley-based startup incubator and seed fund. Y Combinator has invested in several companies that have gone on to raise hundreds of millions of dollars. It has also had several companies drop out of its program.

77

A social network for millennials, and for people who want to make money for millennials. It allows users to earn royalties from their content and has a referral program.

77

A digital loyalty program for retailers that rewards consumers for their loyalty.

77

The concept of the accelerator is a young one, with the first accelerator programs emerging in the late 1990s in Silicon Valley and New York. In general, accelerators help startups get off the ground, providing capital, mentorship, and networking opportunities.

76

A 12-step program for quitting smoking, offering coaching, and a digital dashboard to track progress.

76

A search engine for content about programming. It’s built to help people find programming tutorials, ebooks, and other resources.

76

A startup that wants to help programmers collaborate online and on-the-ground.

75

A startup that wants to help its customers find the right credit card with the right rewards program.

75

A program for students to learn the science behind the environments they work in and work to protect.

74

This app lets users shop at top retailers with their phone camera. The app allows you to scan a barcode and then shop on the same day. The app works with 25 major retailers like Sephora, Amazon, and Bloomingdale's to manage loyalty and reward programs.

74

A tool for businesses to manage customer programs, offering features like email marketing automation, loyalty programs, and more.

74

A platform that allows companies to build digital training programs for employees.

74

A platform that allows developers to take their app and run it via IP. It's aimed at mobile apps, but its founders say it can run desktop programs too.

73

An agency that helps organizations “build agile teams, identify and craft the right growth strategy, and build the right retention and customer experience programs.”

72

A connected car startup focused on providing an on-demand ride service. It’s one of the companies that was part of the Telangana government’s PPP program.

72

A toolkit for programmatic buying of ads on Facebook. The startup is pitching the tool to agencies and advertisers as a way for them to automate Facebook ad buying.

71

A startup that helps businesses manage their membership programs. The startup is currently focusing on the restaurant industry.

71

A travel rewards app for frequent travelers that links to loyalty programs and airlines.

71

This list does not include every startup that has accepted into YC, but only the startups that have launched since the program started.

70

"An automated way to scale and manage applications that help businesses solve problems. It uses machine learning, ecommerce, and a referral program to build a community of users.”

70

A no-cost education platform that helps students learn how to code by watching videos online. Arist wants to help millions of people learn programming.

70

A software-as-a-service provider that allows restaurants to create, manage, and promote their loyalty programs.

70

A startup that provides mobile training to employees, with a program that offers employees the opportunity to collect feedback on a mobile device about their interaction with customers.

70

A company that uses social media to measure sales. The company claims to be the first to use programmatic buying to measure sales.

69

A company that helps companies market to their employees, allowing them to get the benefits of a health insurance program without an employer having to pay for it.

68

A platform for programmatic advertising, helping buyers target ads at businesses based on their size, location, and other criteria.

68

A start-up that allows you to pay for your Lyft or Uber ride using the credit you get back from your credit card company’s rewards program.

68

A tool that helps programmers build and execute microservices-based applications on any cloud or on-premise infrastructure. This is a startup that is building its own infrastructure on top of AWS.

67

A startup that powers the internet of things by allowing any connected device to be programmable for voice control, whether that be a home security system or a self-driving car.

67

A program to help small businesses and entrepreneurs with their bookkeeping.

67

A tool for companies to execute marketing campaigns in an automated fashion, with the ability to tell the marketing department what to do and what to ignore when it comes to email program design. Idea is also originally a software company, but now a marketing software company.

66

In theory, this company can help retailers build better loyalty programs for their customers. Instead of rewarding customers with discounts and other perks, this startup says it can help retailers build loyalty programs that allow customers to earn rewards and discounts based on how often they visit the store.

66

A startup that is building a platform for chatbots that lets people build chatbots using any programming language

65

A SaaS service that helps companies build marketing automation programs that work for their specific channels.

65

As of 2016, accelerator programs are across the world, from Silicon Valley to London, with India, China, Singapore and Israel also hosting their own.

65

A startup to help workers make better business decisions, with a focus on helping them make the right strategic decisions in the long term. It’s currently part of the Techstars accelerator program.

65

This startup is building a new way to access and use the world’s most popular programming languages. The company is now working with Google on its Material Design language team.

64

This company is a cloud-based loyalty program that rewards users for everyday purchases, like a cup of coffee or a movie ticket.

64

A software platform that uses machine-learning to help companies build customer loyalty programs.

64

A food delivery app that has a rewards program. The app is currently in private beta with the public beta expected in 2020.

63

A startup that uses a software program to crunch open data to predict land value The startup claims that it can predict land value more accurately than appraisers and cheaper than buying survey data

62

A platform for companies to facilitate “experiential learning” programs. They’re currently working with three startups, including one in the YC batch.

62

This startup is building a digital loyalty program for hotels that aims to cut down on fraud.

61

A tool that provides an interface to connect to third-party data sources, like credit cards, loyalty programs, and other apps, to produce a complete customer profile.

61

The company’s wallet app includes a rewards program that allows users to earn points that translate into gift cards and other discounts.

61

A startup that’s making it easier for users to supercharge their mobile devices by pairing them with high-performance wireless chargers. Its 10K program is now open for sign-ups.

59

Ride-sharing for the elderly. The startup is working on a ride-sharing service for seniors, called Seniorly. The company is also in talks with the US Department of Transportation to develop a pilot program for a level of autonomous driving.

58

A way to increase the efficiency of office supply purchases. The company wants to use a rewards program for office supplies to encourage companies to spend more on the right things.

58

A free employee referral program for companies with more than 100 employees, which they say allows companies to double their referrals and increases the number of employees they hire.

57

A digital wallet for the workplace, with a rewards program that allows companies to pay their staff with their own money.

57

A tool that allows programmers to build and edit .NET Framework applications directly from their smart phones

56

A startup that helps schools and universities establish open data programs to promote transparency and accountability.

55

A startup that helps companies build mobile bots, or programs that interface with chat apps like Slack.

55

Uncover is a program that helps smart, talented people make a living from their interests.

55

A P2P lender that works with government sponsored housing programs in the US.

54

A company that wants to solve a problem for small businesses: they’re struggling to get their customers to pay. Shopin makes it easier to create a loyalty scheme for their customers by helping them create a personal account and tie it to their business account. Shopin also has a small business version that can help businesses combine rewards programs from multiple platforms into one.

54

A platform that aims to make it easier for companies to build more effective employee referral programs.

53

A startup that makes a game that helps people learn how to code and write programs in custom languages. The one-time investment is $50, and it’s currently in a private beta.

52

A startup that makes it easy for non-programmers to spread their own ideas together with others in real time. The company has been building a community of online users to ask and answer questions in a Q&A format.

51

A tool to help companies build and manage training programs. The startup wants to compete with other SaaS solutions by giving companies the ability to customize their programs.

51

A startup using a combination of machine learning and an artificial intelligence program to improve customer service.

51

Designed to help clients define and measure their social impact, Consequence is a software company helping nonprofits and for-profits better track their impact. It helps clients measure the effectiveness of their programs and measure employees’ impact, too. The company has a $10 million Series A, with $1 million raised in its first round of VC funding.

50

This startup is building a service that helps companies manage their employee benefit programs with a single platform, and will take a slice of the companies’ profits to pay for the service.

49

A program that matches and trains mentors with students in the Bay Area.

49

The summer school is for students interested in learning programming and fundamental knowledge in computer science, with the intent of helping them be successful in college.

49

A startup that helps programmers write beautiful code, built on the fact that we’re all just doing the best we can with the tools we have and doesn’t expect its users to be professional programmers with developer-level command of the language it’s written in.

49

This is a platform that brings the benefits of a SaaS program to a closed system, allowing companies to securely deploy and manage their infrastructure on-demand, with a focus on collaboration and integration with existing systems.

48

 A startup that builds programs to help employers hire more effectively.

48

A free, open-source platform for building and managing distributed applications. Uses a programming language called Akka.

47

A tool meant to help store managers and their employees deal with peak seasons. The tool works in a similar way to Southwest Airlines' Rapid Rewards program, connecting the store manager to the employees who help them at the store. The idea is that with the company's software, the store manager and employees can find out what rewards are best for the store and plan accordingly.

47

The startup wants to make your web browser a full-fledged programming language that you can write programs in.

46

A company building custom-branded, headless mobile apps for small businesses. It’s one of the more unusual companies in the program, with a very different business model than other companies in the program.

46

A company that allows people to make “tweets” from their phone, or a software program that’ll be able to take a list of contacts and create a list of tweets to send to them.

46

A new service that helps companies keep track of the travel costs of their employees. The company collects data from travel rewards programs, and allows employees to manage their travel spending.

46

A program that helps businesses and nonprofits engage their volunteers through social media, newsletters, and email.

44

A startup that makes it easy to book flights on Scandinavian airlines. It’s currently a YC summer program.

43

A B2B product that allows users to manage and track expenses related to their professional development program. It’s free for startups and small businesses.

43

A data-driven company that makes a program that helps people pay their utility bills every month. The startup is focused on helping customers keep their utility bills at a minimum.

43

A startup that provides a “digital home” where someone can design and build a custom home online, and then have it shipped to them. The startup creates a 3D model of the house, and then puts it into a CAD program, which allows them to directly see the design, and put in every detail.

43

A platform that allows developers to build and sell applications for companies that want to offer or manage a loyalty program.

42

A “complete-home automation platform”, with a home security, lighting, and HVAC system in one box. The startup is one of the first companies to be accepted into the InnovateHER program, and has a partnership with Amazon Alexa.

42

A platform that makes it easy to program drones, with a focus on making it easy for people to build and control drones with a mobile app.

42

This startup is built to help programmatic marketers manage their tune-up purchases. The startup claims to help retailers with multichannel inventory, real-time fraud detection, and daily auditing.

41

A startup that allows users to choose their own fitness programming based on their own goals and schedule, with an emphasis on strength training.

41

A chatbot that can answer questions about social security benefits. The startup is building a chatbot that is programmed to answer questions about social security benefits, creating a conversational interface between government and citizens.

40

This is an app that allows people to pay their taxes with bitcoin, in a program that’s funded by Coinbase.

40

A startup that wants to build a digital kitchen, with a programmable fridge, a robot, and a system for collecting and processing your data.

40

A 4-year-old company that makes a programmable, connected-home appliance that can be programmed to do things from turning the AC off and on to turning lights on and off to listening to music and turning the TV on and off. The company has raised $7.3 million in funding.

39

A startup that aims to integrate payments into customized retail experiences. The startup helps retailers connect with shoppers, and it’s already in a few pilot programs.

39

This startup is working to make it easier for people to find and buy insurance online. The startup is a relatively quick study that completed YC’s Startup School program in June.

39

Ideas is organized by YC staff and features the companies that have been accepted into the program. Past speakers include the founders of Airbnb, Stripe, and Reddit.

38

A company that’s building a dashboard for cities to track the impact of their programs and metrics for investors. It’s looking to target dozens of cities, from Portland to Detroit.

38

The Y Combinator summer school is a four-week program that teaches computer science fundamentals to top-tier high school students. The program was launched in 2010 by Paul Graham, the founder of Y Combinator.

37

A startup that helps healthcare companies manage their patient records. The company provides software and services to help them make data easier to find. They have already run pilot programs with large insurance companies and hospitals.

37

This startup wants to improve the impact of school-based violence prevention programs.

37

A startup that lets you create your own custom sleep program.

37

A digital rewards program for customers. Customers earn points for purchases, and then redeem them for prizes ranging from gift cards to gadgets and cash.

36

Provides a way to identify, and then communicate with, identified individuals who are in the process of going through a government program. The startup is currently in the process of raising funding.

36

A way to help businesses manage their energy consumption. The startup has over $2 million in funding and a number of pilot programs in the works.

35

A new payment option for cities. The startup is giving cities a new way to pay for things, with programs that work with existing infrastructure but also with the company’s own private network.

35

A shopping app in India that helps users buy online and has a loyalty program. The startup has a reported 4 million users.

35

An open-source program that lets anyone create their own app for the Oculus Rift.

34

A program that helps people trade in their old textbooks for credits to buy new ones. The startup is working with publishers to get its new textbooks a little cheaper than new ones.

34

A toolkit that lets companies through its own platform to administer their own payroll and benefits programs.

34

We will be building a tool that will empower companies looking to start an internship program to make it easier for students to find internships.

34

This company wants to replace the often-painful experience of filling out a tax return with a more automated process. The startup is working on a software program that will work with H&R Block’s online software to take the pain out of filing a tax return and streamline the process. The company says it has $1.5 million in monthly revenue.

33

Byju's helps students set up learning programs and track their progress. The startup has been around for a while, but the recent YC batch saw a big spike in students signing up. Byju's has a $5 monthly subscription.

32

A software company that builds tools for online content creators to optimize their income by using tools like Google AdSense and YouTube Partner Program.

31

A developer of software that teaches programmers how to be better at data visualization, developing and releasing new courses in the field.

31

A mobile loyalty program on the city’s streetcars. Citymapper has a small but active mobile app for iPhone and Android devices that is a map of the subway and bus system in London. The company is also building a loyalty program that rewards users for using it.

30

The accelerator program, which uses the Y Combinator model, has graduated from YC more than 50 companies and has been called “the most successful startup incubator”.

30

A startup that’s building an online training program for people who want to learn to code, but don’t want to go to school.

30

A platform that helps universities and colleges create personalized online learning programs for students and teachers.

28

A tool that helps programmers craft their apps and websites faster. It’s built as a collaboration tool that allows developers to work on the same app idea at the same time.

26

A customer management software for online retailers, allowing them to run customer loyalty programs and reward their customers for purchases.

26

A startup aiming to create an insurance program that helps small businesses with insurance costs. The startup currently has a grant from the National Science Foundation.

26

This is a company that makes a mechanical keyboard that is fully programmable with over a million possible keyboard configurations as well as being hackable. The company is now shipping pre-order keyboards.

25

This B2B SaaS company is building a program that helps companies manage their product delivery services and handle issues like returns and warranty claims.

25

A home automation company that lets users program lighting and appliances to turn on when they arrive home in the evening.

25

A tool for non-tech students to learn about programming.

24

A company that allows teams to share and collaborate on customer loyalty programs and rewards.

22

A way to evaluate programming languages and compare them to one another.

22

The founder of Code.org, a nonprofit working to make computer science education more accessible, wants to create a foundation to encourage high school students to learn software and programming.

17

A program for giving tips to Uber drivers. It’s a mobile phone app that facilitates the sharing of tips and information with drivers.

17

A program for graduating students to match them with jobs and internships, pitching itself as an alternative to unpaid internships.

17

This small startup is building a set of tools to help people adopt and use artificial intelligence programs.

11

The company’s vision is to make the process of creating a video game “as simple as making a PowerPoint presentation”. It wants to make video game creation accessible to non-programmers, and today’s software for that is too difficult to use.

6

A startup that provides a web platform that businesses can use to manage their employee referral programs

-1

A startup that provides a service where people can learn how to use a specific software program (IE Excel)

-1

A startup that helps people prepare their resumes for a job that they aren’t qualified for (IE they are a programmer and they want to apply for a job as a finance manager)

-1

A startup that provides a service for people to help them get certified for the medical marijuana program in their state (ie in Virginia you can be certified to grow your own and/or buy from a dispensary)

-1

Idea: The best way to learn a new programming language is to practice it through a project

-1

Idea: Sofi is a lending program for student loans They say they can get a loan to anyone in 6 minutes, and don’t charge a processing fee The company is currently lending $3,000 loans (via a credit line) to students

-1

Idea: A programmable hardware add-on for Raspberry Pi

-1

Idea: Online courses for teaching the basics of programming

-1

Idea: A programmatic way to hire people on-demand, with data-driven validity checks

-1

Idea: The startup behind this idea is a marketplace for programmers to find jobs and businesses to find talented programmers

-1

Idea: A platform that helps people start a business and access funding (either from investors or through a loan program)

-1

Idea: A startup that helps companies manage their unpaid internship programs, which can be a legal headache

-1

Idea: A platform for authenticating users via the Slack application programming interface (API)

-1

Idea: A tool for managing corporate rewards programs, like corporate credit

-1

Idea: A program that allows users to build a digital profile based on their social media posts, with the goal of helping them build a portfolio to get a job.

-1

Idea: A programmable, micro-controller chip for industrial automation.

-1

Idea: A platform for insurers to call and text patients regularly about their health and to encourage them to get physicals. The startup aims to be a replacement for the “wellness programs” that many insurers have offered in the past.

-1

The event featured the first TechCrunch XR (extended reality) Hackathon in which teams built VR and AR experiences using HTC Vive and Facebook’s Oculus Rift VR headset. The event also featured a Startup Alley in which the most promising startups from the 2019 program showcased themselves to investors, mentors and press.

-1

Idea: A software company that helps the Philippine government’s DoTCo build out their management trainee program. The startup sets up the trainees with a computer-based learning curriculum and helps the government manage their data.

-1

A startup for freelance designers. The startup has plans to expand to include a wider variety of creative services including programming, video and audio production and web design.

-1

Idea: Fuctional programming is one of the frontiers of software development, and this startup is building a tool to help developers better understand the functional code they’re writing.

-1

A startup that helps companies manage and optimize their employee referral programs.

-1

A software company that helps businesses build and scale their content marketing programs. A financial services company that aims to make trading more accessible for small and medium-sized businesses.

-1

A startup that allows you to transfer funds from a card (like a credit card or bank card) to a bank account using an API (application programming interface) instead of a physical card

-2