随着利益市场的转移，著名硅谷创业孵化器Y Combinator也在逐渐改变自己的投资方向。Y Combinator曾经投资过Airbnb、Reddit，但如今这家公司却将注意力更多地放在了B2B公司，而非消费者创业公司。Y Combinator并不是唯一一家这样做的公司。企业投资曾局限于特定风投资本，但现在已经找到了不仅仅只有风投的投资组合。
Y Combinator is following the money. In a shift from its origins, the storied Silicon Valley accelerator that backed Airbnb and Reddit is now funding more business-to-business (B2B) startups than consumer startups. They’re not alone. Enterprise investing, once a focus for specialized venture capitalists, has found its way into the portfolios of far more venture capitalists (VC).
Startup investors’ broadening B2B interest was on display at Y Combinator’s demo days from Aug. 21 to Aug. 22. Of the 124 startups in the summer 2017 batch, 41 were selling to large enterprises and business (a classification including fintech and government). That easily eclipsed the 25 consumer companies in this session’s class. After YC started in 2005, only 25% of YC portfolio companies were focused on the enterprise on average during the first five years. Since 2012, that average has risen to about 40%, according to YC.
Top categories of Y Combinator startups in summer 2017 batch
That trend is driven by modern software working its way more deeply into the operations of almost every major global enterprise, says Aaron Harris, a YC partner. As talented engineers and business people wrestle with legacy software, and barriers to start new companies drop, founders are leaving their own own firms to create new ones that solve obscure yet often lucrative business problems. “The pace of this I think is accelerating,” said Harris in an interview.
There is also an elephant in the room when it comes to new “consumer” startups, or rather two of them: Google and Facebook. The search and social giants have claimed most of the spoils from digital advertising (the two firms are expected to?grab?half of global internet advertising revenue this year, and an even larger share in the US) leaving less room for new startups that want to make money by selling digital ads. YC’s?analysis?of startup applications shows a dramatic shift from mentions of advertising to software-as-a-service.
That pressure is prompting startups to find new business models, and branch out into categories less common for Silicon Valley such as fertility services or construction. Here, YC claims to have a unique view on what’s next. The thousands of applicants to its accelerator enable YC to spot hot sectors about 18 months before they show up in Google Trends (it detected a surge in bitcoin and blockchain startups as early as 2011, for example). “One of the interesting things about this business is you don’t t expect the next big thing until it happens,” says Harris.
So what’s the next hot thing? Unsuprisingly, artificial intelligence. Yet stranger ideas abound.