October 22, 2021

Our favorite startups from YC’s Summer 21 Demo Day, Part 1

Search in ideas, greenification, and the beauty of Zillow surfing

Y Combinator kicked off its fourth-ever virtual Demo Day today, revealing the first-half of its nearly 400 company batch. The presentation, YC’s biggest yet, offers a snapshot into where innovation is heading, from not-so-simple seaweed to a Clearco for creators.

The TechCrunch team stuck to its tradition of covering every single company live (but, you know, from home,) so you’ll find all of the Day 1 companies here. For those who want a sampling of standouts, however, we’re also bringing you a host of our favorites from today’s 1-minute pitch off extravaganza.

As reporters, we’re constantly inundated with hundreds of pitches on a daily basis. The startups below caught our picky attention for a whole host of reasons, but that doesn’t mean other startups weren’t compelling or potential unicorns as well. Instead, consider below as a data point on which startups made us do a double take, be it due to the size of the market opportunity, the ambition exhibited by the founding team, or an idea that was just too clever to pass up.

Genei

Genei is, dare I say, a refreshing mix up between robots and writers. The startup has a simple goal: automatically summarize background reading so content creators can grab the top facts, attribute, and move onto the next graf. Writing is innately an art, so I find Genei’s positioning as a tool for writers instead of a replacement out to take their jobs as smart. Better yet, it’s launching by targeting some of the hardest workers in our industry: freelance writers. These folks often have to balance consistent pitches, diverse assignments and tight deadlines for their livelihood, so I’d presume a sidekick doesn’t hurt. Down the road, I could totally see this startup playing the same role as a Grammarly: a helpful extension of workflows that optimizes the way people who write for a living, write. — Natasha

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