Y Combinator has announced Launch YC, a platform where people can sort accelerator startups by industry, batch, and launch date to discover new products. The famed accelerator, which has seeded Instacart, Coinbase, OpenSea, and Dropbox, among others, is inviting users to vote for newly launched startups “to help them climb the leaderboard, try out product demos and learn about the founding team.”
In a blog post announcing the news, Y Combinator said the program has been around for years, but only internally for YC founders.
Y Combinator uses Launch to target founders, developers, investors, and job seekers seeking the “Stripes and Airbnbs of the Future.” The founders of Y Combinator meanwhile can start any day and any time. YC Head of Communications Lindsay Amos said YC founders who are currently participating in an accelerator batch can announce Demo Day via Launch ahead of time. For me, it makes the biennial event a more evergreen affair.
“We did this to solve a problem every founder faces: approaching customers and investors for the first time,” Amos said via email.
Launch YC feels like Y Combinator’s strategically justified response to one of the loudest criticisms of its model in recent years: As cohort size has blown up, it’s harder than ever to stand out in a batch. As standing out within YC has become more difficult, and given the importance of distribution to early stage startups, by providing a way for startups to make a little more noise, YC can make its program’s implied equity cost more attractive.
In my opinion, the accelerator seems to be making a not-so-subtle move on Product Hunt, a nearly decade-old website — and Y Combinator alum — that’s where founders launch their products and services to users. Unlike Product Hunt, Y Combinator does not have a comment section, but they take feature requests. As of now, Launch is only for recently supported YC companies and product updates from YC alumni.
Responding to questions about the overlap between the two institutions, Amos wrote that “we encourage YC founders to launch on many platforms – from the YC Directory to Product Hunt to Hacker News to launch YC – to help clients, investors and candidates reach .”