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YCombinator Top 20 Tech Opportunities: Stablecoins Listed Alongside Promising AI Applications

Last Updated February 19, 2024 3:28 PM
James Morales
Last Updated February 19, 2024 3:28 PM

Key Takeaways

  • YCombinator has published its latest “request for startups,” identifying promising technologies for potential investment.
  • Of the 20 ideas on the list, 7 deal with machine learning and AI.
  • Meanwhile, one YCombinator executive appealed for applications from startups working on stablecoin products.

From Airbnb to Stripe, YCombinator has a track record for backing tech startups that go on to transform their respective industries. It is therefore worth paying attention when the firm puts out a call for inventors and entrepreneurs working on specific technologies.

In its latest “request for startups,” YCombinator executives highlighted 20 technologies they are eager to invest in, inviting anyone with an interest in them to apply for one of the firm’s incubator programs. Among the opportunities identified, YCombinator listed stablecoin finance, American manufacturing, cancer diagnostics, and a string of AI applications. 

AI Dominates Latest YCombinator Request For Startups 

Of the 20 ideas included in the latest request for startups, 7 deal directly with machine learning and AI.

For example, YCombinator partners Diana Hu and Jared Friedman appealed to applicants working on applying machine learning in the field of robotics or developing AI-powered simulations of the real world.

Other promising ideas listed include “explainable AI” to help increase trust in the technology, large language models (LLMs) that can handle back office processes, and AI coding tools that can help automate the customization of enterprise software.

Biomedical AI and Smaller Models

In contrast with Hu and Friedman, YCombinator Group Partners Surbhi Sarna and Nicolas Dessaigne both made more general appeals.

Highlighting opportunities at the intersection of AI and biomedicine, Sarna said she was interested in funding “highly technical founders building foundational models from scratch in any part of biology or medicine.”

Dessaigne, on the other hand, emphasized the need for more lightweight, fine-tuned language models as an alternative to the giant general-purpose ones that have dominated the sector so far.

YCombinator Exec Says Stablecoin Opportunity Remains Untapped

Calling for startups in the field of “stablecoin finance,” YCombinator Group Partner Brad Flora said that although $136 billion worth of stablecoins have been issued to date, “the opportunity seems much more immense still.”

“We would like to fund great teams building B2B and consumer products on top of stablecoins, tools and platforms that enable stablecoin finance and more stablecoin protocols themselves.”

Drawing an analogy between the present-day stablecoin sector and “digital music’s transition from the realm of outlaw file sharing in the early 2000s,”  Flora suggested the technology could help drive the mass adoption of crypto.

Moreover, just like Apple was ultimately overshadowed by Spotify in the streaming market even though it had a major headstart in the MP3 business, he implied existing issuers might not be the ones to take stablecoins to a mainstream audience. 

“Only about seven million people have transacted with stablecoins to date, while more than half a billion live in countries with 30%+ inflation,” he remarked, adding that the $17 trillion in customer deposits held in US banks “are all up for grabs as well.”

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