Y Combinatory, the most well-known and arguably most prestigious tech incubator, has just wrapped up their Summer 2014 Demo Day, where all the companies were given the chance to present their worth to potential investors, the media and the curious general public.
What makes this class so interesting is the number of companies actually trying to solve significant internationally relevant problems as opposed to inconveniences limited to San Francisco and other rapidly gentrifying cities.
These problems are as difficult as developing free vaccines for HIV and AIDS, building better and cleaner nuclear reactors, improving the current inefficiencies of the pharmaceutical industry and quite a few more.
The rest of the class is also impressive and worth paying attention to. From a company using an ingenious strategy to work around price disparities between countries to an organisation developing a juice blender as convenient as a Keurig machine, there is potential.
Of course you will still find some of the more stereotypical start-ups with missions statements that the creators of Silicon Valley would enjoy lampooning but that is to be expected- think on-demand valet parking, wherever you are. As absurd as it sounds the company is on the way to being a success.
Overall though it must be said this this class is one of the more exciting ones in a long time, not just because of the potential, which there is a lot of, but because of the wide range of industries now being represented. The joke that we wanted a flying card and instead we got 160 characters may start seeming less true if this is a trend that continues and actually succeeds.
Some of the more interesting companies (there were plenty of others but didn’t want to overwhelm you):
Nuclear fusion company taking an innovative approach to creating better sources of energy.
An organisation building a nano-nuclear battery.
A company that pays travellers to purchase and bring back items from their overseas travels that would be more expensive if purchase back home.
A nonprofit organization that uses data scientists to help civic groups and other nonprofits use big data to solve major social impact problems.
Developing a free vaccine for HIV and AIDS.
Carlypso markets itself as a new way to sell your car where it does all the work for you, promising a solution as easy as a trade-in but more lucrative. A lot of potential, keep an eye on the company.
Bikanta is using nanodiamonds to redefine medical imaging.
Developing the blender of the future.
Valet parking wherever you are.
Promises to contest your parking tickets with just a picture of the ticket.
Rigetti is building a quantum super computer.