Biotech, robotics, and fintech startups took the spotlight today at prestigious accelerator Y Combinator’s 26th Demo Day. This batch features 141 total companies from 23 countries, with presentations spread over two days. The house was packed at Mountain View’s Computer History Museum with wealthy investors forced to stand in the back or sit on floor. Meanwhile, marijuana soda, wind turbine-cleaning drones, and indestructible panty hose startups demoed their products in the break room and parking lot.
Y Combinator has made progress ramping up diversity in its startup school. 35 percent of this batch’s companies are internationally based, 27 percent have a female founder, and 13 percent have an underrepresented minority founder. The 50-person YC team now includes 18 partners, with Eric Migicovsky of Pebble joining to help out hardware companies and explore the accelerator’s opportunities in China.
The question on everyone’s minds is which startups will join the 15 previous ones like Stripe, Dropbox, and Airbnb now worth over $1 billion. But with YC’s portfolio moving beyond social apps and enterprise tools towards hard science innovation, and 18 percent of this batch’s companies coming from health and biotech, many of the software investors seemed a little overwhelmed. We’ll let you choose your favorites from our write-ups of all 64 that pitched on the record today. Check back later for TechCrunch’s picks of the top companies, and we’ll have full coverage of Demo Day 2 tomorrow.
Bear Flag Robotics
Bear Flag is building autonomous tractors. They claim to be able to reduce input by 20% and increase production yield by 11%. They’re already testing tractors in the field in California. They plan to charge about $4,000 per tractor per month.Universe
A mobile app for building mobile websites, who would have thought? Universe lets users build a personal portfolio site with the same ease of editing a photo on Instagram. Users can follow other sites which creates a bit of Tumblr-like network of personal blogs. Users have already built one hundred thousand sites with the iOS app which has expanded its functionality in recent months to l