The biggest moonshots in YC’s S22 batch •


Do bigger checks lead to greater fluctuations? Y Combinator’s newest entrants are the second group to cash in on a $500.00 check as part of the accelerator’s recently revamped standard deal. And while the accelerator says it only looks at founders when investing in startups, not industry, category, or idea, more money in the pipeline could be empowering enough to attract a different cohort of founders.

With this in mind, this year’s batch gives a glimpse of what prioritizes a cohort of YC-approved founders during a recession, pandemic, high inflation and ongoing war. The results are diverse – and we have already seen how it affects the future of fintech, crypto and artificial intelligence.

Below, decided to take the biggest moonshots of the batch, keeping the above factors in mind. Because not all of us are betting our potential legacies on fake fishing during a looming recession. Without further ado, let’s get into who made the cut.

Beyond Beyond Meat: Numi’s Fake Fish

Brands like Beyond Meat and Impossible have shown that there is a demand for fake meat that “bleeding”, but are hordes of fish eaters willing to dine on imitation shellfish?

The vegetable fish industry is teeny compared to today’s global seafood trade, but demand is increasing as brands examine a range of ingredients to see what sticks — like tomato for tuna ((ocean hugger) and konjac for scallops (The Plant Based Seafood Co). Joining the fight is Numica YC-backed startup that uses a “combination of soy, pea, and lentil protein” and “precision fermentation” to prepare something similar to shellfish.

Numi’s products are still in development, but the company is already bragging about a moonshot-sized goal: to capture 30% of the seafood market within 10 years. That’s a lot of potential mouths to feed; seafood consumption will nearly double by 2050, per researchers at Stanford. But in light of the many environmental problems in the industry, including: overfishing, waste, emissions and wasteit sure looks like a new wave of convincing fake fishing companies would do some good.

Harry Weber

Solve optimization problems with custom hardware

Optimization problems are the bane of many companies’ existence. For example, shipping and logistics providers have to figure out every day which products can be shipped in which containers – and indeed, how many containers they need in the first place. According to according to one source, 85% of Fortune 500 companies use mathematical optimization in their operations.

Enter Integrated reasoning, a startup that claims to develop hardware to solve these kinds of problems in the cloud. Founded by longtime engineers, little has been made public about the company’s plans. But the co-founders did reveal during Demo Day that they have a first product that addresses the backpack problem, an optimization problem where, given a set of items – each with a weight and value – one must determine the number of items to include in a collection, so that the total weight is less than or equal to a certain limit and the total value is as large as possible.

Optimization issues may sound like a strange market to build a business around. But clearly there is a customer base and Integrated Reasoning promises the moon. The company claims its hardware can make it up to 100x faster and 10x cheaper to solve problems like scheduling airline pilots or packing shipping containers, which – if accurate – could enable Integrated Reasoning to make a splash. in lucrative industries.

Kyle Wiggers

Flying for dummies

Learning to fly is a common bucket list item, but it is costly, time consuming and difficult. This causes a large number of student pilots to drop out of training before achieving their dreams. And unfortunately, some of those who get their drivers license will have fatalities because of their mistakes.

Airhart Aviation works to build aircraft that are easier and safer to fly, thanks to semi-autonomous flight control systems that don’t require “stick and rudder control”. It’s too early to say when Airhart will be fit for the product market, but her proposal to “make flying to Tahoe as easy as driving to the grocery store” sounded like a strong audience fit for YC’s Demo Day.

It may seem late to build planes that anyone can fly, while other startups are focusing on planes that no one needs to fly. Companies working to provide autonomous aircraft include Merlin Labs, Pyka, Reliable Robotics, Volocopter and Xwing, some of which are well on their way. But we still call Airhart a moonshot, because semi-autonomous seems to be more likely to land on time than full autonomy, especially for private flying.

Anna Heim

I would like to buy 10% of your future earnings, please

It’s hard to be an athlete, and finding enough time and resources to become a professional athlete takes time and money. moonshot let angel investors invest in the future of athletes, in exchange for a share of their future prize money. It looks a bit like what Trendex (although Trendex allows you to invest in all sorts of talent – ​​musicians included).

So why is this a moonshot? Part of me can see this as the future; if you are a promising athlete, getting an early injection of money can make or break your career, and I recognize that for some people this is the only way to make their dreams come true.

Another part of me just can’t get over how fantastically bleak it is to essentially allow people to sell some of their future wealth to investors. I know we’re living in a late stage of capitalism, but however I spin this, I can’t help but make this concept feel like looking for rent. I’m sure the founders didn’t specifically design their companies to make an unequal world any less equitable, but we’re still one or two market cycles away from this getting really grim.

Haje Kamps

Let’s try this DTC health thing again, but better this time

Direct-to-consumer healthcare was hot, but it wasn’t then, as sector unicorns scaled back aspirations as they ran into growing pains. Therefore I was surprised and then impressed to see Almond take the stage at Y Combinator Demo Day this week. Almond is a care platform that tries to make ObGyn care faster through personal and telehealth services.

“We are rebuilding back office technology that saves physicians time, and we are hiring a wider range of healthcare providers, enabling us to deliver better outcomes to patients and reduce the amount of time it takes to resolve their issue,” the company said. the website of Y Combinator. Membership to Almond is a $250 annual fee, similar to a OneMedical-type business model, and founding members get $150 the first year. Any visits and lab fees are billed to insurance.

The co-founders have a balance in backgrounds. Carly Allen, co-founder and chief brand officer, has headed production for campaigns that help brands like Coca-Cola, Nike, Chipotle and Bonobos, while Tara Raffi, co-founder and CEO, has made startup chops by building McKinsey’s in-house technology incubator and consultation with major US hospital systems. As we know from the issues at Ro, Hims and other platforms, the DTC healthcare needs a good balance between smart, accessible branding and efficacy, so let’s see how Almond performs.

Natasha Mascarenhas

Future flight, fuck yeah

For my moonshot selection, I want to highlight a few companies from the recent batch that have wings and want to shake things up in motion.

When Boom came along, I thought it was a cool idea that would lead nowhere. But to my incredibly excited annoyance, the company is still in business and has raised a lot of money. Perhaps there is a venture market for the future of flight.

Velontra wants to build a “hysonic space plane”, which is a good idea. There’s less friction this high, and you can zip around pretty quickly without air holding you back. Velontra, sweetening the deal, wants its planes to be able to “take off from anywhere, regardless of the weather”. Excellent and perfect, no notes.

Seaflight Technologies does the opposite. Instead of wanting to fly very high and very fast, it wants to fly lower and slower. The company builds electric ‘autonomous wingships’ that fly very close to the ground. According to its pitch, if I understood the regulatory nuance, being so close to the ground clears the sky – ha! – when it comes to government supervision.

Of course, these companies will each require a lot of capital and have a real technical risk to their makeup. But that’s what makes them good – you can’t shake the flight without a bucket of money and a big vision. And while the 737 is great, and I will always love to commute so long and so far through my home country, I’m ready for something faster and higher. And for my delivered goods, the reverse.

Alex Wilhelm

Honorable Mentions

  • ult, which describes itself as an “Uber for gamers” startup. The startup charges users to match them with fun (or challenging) competitors. In addition, it has a great website.
  • drip, who describes himself as a “BNPL for Brazil”. The BNPL space is difficult for several reasons and it is impressive to still be disrupting in the category – despite the rumblings of the public market. “While Affirm is creating the habit in the US, Brazilians are already splitting 30% of their retail payments into installments,” the company said via the Y Combinator website. “With Drip, they are now splitting payments without eating into their credit card limits and earning better rewards.”
  • Cover Cat, because it’s a damn fun name and a damn hard category to build into. But, selfishly, sign us up for consumer-optimized insurance!


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