YC’s Winter 2024 Demo Day confirms that we are indeed in an AI bubble

Trending 1 week ago

Springtime intends rain, nan return of flowers and, of course, Y Combinator’s first demo time of nan year. During nan well-known accelerator’s first of 2 transportation days from nan Winter 2024 cohort, a covey of TechCrunch unit tuned in, took notes, traded jokes and slow whittled distant astatine nan dozens of presenting companies to travel up pinch a database of early favorites.

From AI-generated euphony and assistance applications to neat caller fintech applications and moreover immoderate healthtech work, location was thing for everyone. We’re backmost astatine it Thursday for nan 2nd time of pitches. Until then, if you didn’t get to watch live, here’s a rundown of immoderate of nan champion from time one.

TechCrunch’s unit favorites


  • What it does: Uses AI to thief companies find and use for grants
  • Why it’s a fave: Landing grants isn’t easy. Max Williamson, Peter Crocker and Greg Miller cognize this well: They’ve worked betwixt them astatine The Rockefeller Foundation and nan U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, wherever grants are communal currency. Finding and applying for grants involves sifting done mounds of paperwork and submitting countless forms — an costly and time-consuming process. So why not person AI thief pinch it? That’s nan thought down their startup Aidy, which is focused exclusively connected Rural Energy for America Program grants for now. After asking a fewer questions, Aidy evaluates an organization’s competitiveness for grants by navigating eligibility requirements and scoring criteria, past takes a first walk astatine filling retired immoderate applicable forms. Aidy is intelligibly successful nan proof-of-concept stage, judging by nan authorities of its tooling. But nan concept’s an absorbing 1 — assuming nan platform’s AI doesn’t make excessively galore mistakes.
  • Who picked it: Kyle


  • What it does: Serves arsenic a banking level for nonprofits
  • Why it’s a fave: If you’re successful nan nonprofit space, compliance and regulatory requirements unit you to do finances a small differently. That’s wherever Givefront comes in. Co-founded by Ethan Sayre and Matt Tengtrakool, who antecedently launched a startup to thief loan-takers based successful Nigeria, Givefront offers banking, walk guidance and financial governance services for nonprofits. Specifically, Givefront provides accounts to nonprofits to shop money and merge donations, payments and reimbursements, arsenic good arsenic features for automatic reporting and yearly regulatory filings. Givefront surely isn’t nan only nonprofit banking action retired there. But it appears to beryllium 1 of nan first built from nan crushed up for this intent — which surely has its ain appeal.
  • Who picked it: Kyle


  • What it does: Software that links databases and ample connection models
  • Why it’s a fave: There’s a batch of attraction successful nan marketplace connected companies that make ample connection models – nan bigger, nan faster, nan smarter; you get nan idea. But erstwhile it comes to really deploying modern AL models wrong of a company, you tally into information issues. For example, Skyflow, 1 startup I covered recently, is moving to support delicate accusation retired of nan incorrect users of LLMs. Buster was eye-catching because it appears to beryllium moving connected a problem that a full messiness of companies are going to tally into. Sure, caller models are cool, but trading package picks and shovels during nan AI goldrush is astir apt a darn bully business model. I excavation it!
  • Who picked it: Alex


  • What it does: Banking services for contractors successful emerging markets
  • Why it’s a fave: Creating amended payroll solutions for distant and world workers isn’t new, but Numo’s attack of focusing connected contractors successful emerging markets specifically stands out. It’s besides smart that Numo is building a banking merchandise connected apical of its payroll strategy truthful that these contractors, galore of whom would beryllium based successful countries pinch currencies that up and down frequently, person a much unafraid spot to shop their earned funds.
  • Who picked it: Becca


  • What it does: Uses AI to thief user packaged equipment brands aggregate unit fees and conflict invalid ones
  • Why it’s a fave: Many CPG brands, particularly emerging ones, person very mini margins that are squeezed by galore fees that screen shelving, packing incorrect quantities and shipping damaged products. Intercept says that spotting and flagging invalid fees could springiness CPG brands backmost an mean of 15% of their gross that would person different been spent connected inaccurate fees. This seems for illustration a problem worthy solving.
  • Who picked it: Becca

Nuanced Inc.

  • What it does: Helps observe heavy fakes and misinformation
  • Why it’s a fave: I’m funny astir immoderate exertion that seeks to find ways to parse done nan inevitable emergence of heavy fakes and misinformation we are already encountering. Artificial intelligence is becoming much blase by nan hour, and we are astir to participate a world wherever right, wrong, truth and fabrication person already started to get blurry. Deep fakes are of peculiar interest for women, arsenic seen by what happened to Taylor Swift — and pinch slow authorities regularisation successful this space, I invited immoderate investigation and exertion focused connected trying to reside our ever-increasing cybersecurity needs.
  • Who picked it: Dom


  • What it does: Custom LLM evaluation
  • Why it’s a fave: One of my favourite things to publication done erstwhile a new, awesome LLM comes to marketplace is its benchmark stats. For example, Anthropic’s Claude 3 Opus model has a 50.4% 0-shot CoT successful “Graduate level reasoning, GPQA, Diamond.” It’s ace clarifying stuff. Kidding aside, it’s not. That’s why I for illustration nan thought that Vectorview is moving on, namely nan expertise to trial LLMs and AI agents for a company’s peculiar usage case. I fishy that by having its testing devices person to nan extremity personification than nan world broadside of things, Vectorview could beryllium onto something big.
  • Who picked it: Alex


  • What it does: Uses AI to thief lawyers spell done ineligible documents quicker
  • Why it’s a fave: Abel co-founder Sean Safahi said that this eliminates nan request for lawyers to take “depth complete breadth.” I deliberation immoderate tech that helps lawyers make much informed arguments and decisions is simply a bully thing. Speeding up nan ineligible process and making it much meticulous seems for illustration a coagulated strategy. It’s worthy noting that bringing AI and automation into nan ineligible process does adhd a furniture of privateness consequence and users of Abel will person tread carefully.
  • Who picked it: Becca

Soundry AI, Sonauto

  • What it does: AI-powered euphony generation
  • Why it’s a fave: Soundry AI’s exertion could beryllium incredibly useful to create euphony that sits neatly successful nan background. Muzak, elevator tunes, firm learning soundtracks, immoderate they play successful large restaurants that you tin ne'er rather make out, but mightiness beryllium a opus that you know. It’s a large market, and I tin spot companies tuning their ain mixes to get nan correct vibe. Then there’s Sonauto, a startup that wants to thief you make hits. I americium much skeptical here, mostly because nan euphony I emotion nan astir takes a batch of humans moving ace difficult to push nan boundaries of what euphony tin be. The latest Tesseract grounds is simply a bully example. Goddamn, what an unthinkable portion of art. That said, I americium unfastened to being incorrect here, and that nan robots will yet constitute amended progressive metallic and popular and experimental jazz than we humble meatsacks can. I emotion music, I emotion tech, truthful I presume that I americium going to yet emotion their union. (Though I besides person copyright worries present regarding root material, I must adhd arsenic I americium nary fun.)
  • Who picked it: Alex

Starlight Charging

  • What it does: EV chargers and guidance package for apartments, condos and commercialized buildings
  • Why it’s a fave: Most EV charging happens astatine home, unless you unrecorded successful a multifamily building, wherever infrastructure tin beryllium scant and forcing drivers to find powerfulness elsewhere. That’s not only a headache for drivers, it’s unrealized gross for building owners. Starlight Charging centralizes cardinal parts of nan infrastructure to support costs down. “Since our installation costs are truthful low, we tin really connection our solution for nary upfront costs and still make money,” laminitis Andrew Kouri said. “Our payback play is little than 1 year. The institution seems to beryllium sweating nan mini stuff, too, offering its ain charging instrumentality that adheres to nan Plug & Charge modular for payments and comes pinch a removable cablegram that’s easy to switch successful lawsuit of harm aliases vandalism. That should thief pinch maintenance, thing that’s tripped up galore different EV charging networks.
  • Who picked it: Tim


  • What it does: Online video creation and hosting for AI-generated clips
  • Why it’s a fave: I muted nan Demo Day watercourse to springiness this a effort — you tin cheque retired my creation here — because 1 point I americium perpetually bummed retired by is nan dearth of caller sci-fi films for maine to watch precocious astatine night. We request more! So, video creation devices that thin connected personification prompts are ace absorbing to me. Mix successful nan truth that AI-generated worldly mightiness not find a imperishable location connected mainstream video platforms (brand safety, copyright concerns, nan database goes on), Eggnog could beryllium onto something. Still, while my small video clip was neat, it is astir arsenic adjacent to a characteristic movie arsenic my doodles are to nan champion animated bid retired there.
  • Who picked it: Alex


  • What it does: Bundles mini businesses truthful they tin prevention connected AWS
  • Why it’s a fave: This is simply a awesome attack to thief mini and emerging companies get nan unreality services they request without having to walk a important information of their superior connected software. Pump’s determination to monetize done AWS, not nan mini companies themselves, is smart and makes it overmuch much apt it could make beardown traction. It’s easy to get excited astir a institution called nan “Costco of unreality compute.”
  • Who picked it: Becca


  • What it does: Seeks to shape screenshots
  • Why it’s a fave: It’s a favourite because I have, like, 13,000 photos connected my phone, astir of which are screenshots. And erstwhile I request to find a screenshot, I’m stuck searching done nan abyss of my phone’s library. Having thing that helps group these photos could beryllium a lifesaver that allows maine to be to nan important tasks, for illustration sending retired timely memes to nan group chat. The laminitis billed this arsenic Pinterest for screenshots, which besides grabbed maine arsenic I americium an avid Pinterest user. Anything that makes photograph grouping and sharing easier and fun, is simply a merchandise I’m bound to use.
  • Who picked it: Dom


  • What it does: Uses AI to thief self-funded companies prevention 7% connected wellness insurance
  • Why it’s a save: Health security costs are skyrocketing. Large corporations tin “eat” nan fees, but absorbing nan precocious costs is overmuch harder for mini and medium-sized businesses. SMBs are often forced to walk a ample portion of what they salary to their employees. Seven percent whitethorn not consciousness for illustration a lot, but since wellness security tin costs thousands of dollars a year, nan savings could beryllium meaningful for a mini business aliases startup.
  • Who picked it: Marina

Manifold Freight

  • What it does: Aggregates spot freight
  • Why it’s a fave: The founders’ discovered request for spot freight exertion building a akin solution astatine Convoy and noted it was nan only profitable portion of nan shuttered company that was snapped up by Flexport. Manifold Freight is focusing connected companies that person 50 aliases much trucks, which intends they are targeting a customer guidelines that different freight package is overlooking. Plus, targeting larger carriers intends their customers apt person much costs to walk connected caller technology.
  • Who picked it: Becca


  • What it does: Personalized school adjunct that combines quality tutors pinch AI
  • Why it’s a fave: I liked this because dissimilar different learning assistants, Shepherd useful pinch world institutions. This intends nan startup is not only authorized to tutor students, it besides knows precisely what worldly needs to beryllium learned. Shepherd besides claims that it tin thief scheme and negociate students’ time. I would person liked to person had this erstwhile I was successful college. It wasn’t ever clear which learning task would beryllium astir challenging, and that ate up a batch of valuable time. Some of nan countless hours I wasted learning to constitute codification and get nan programme to work, could person been amended allocated to calculus, which wasn’t easy either.
  • Who picked it: Marina


  • What it does: AI-powered knowledge guidelines for customer support successful regulated industries, starting pinch in installments units
  • Why it’s a fave: I dislike being stuck connected customer support calls. A speech tin look to past everlastingly arsenic an supplier puts you connected repeated multi-minute holds to thief fig retired regulations aliases immoderate different problems I’m trying to solve. If customer support specialists tin quickly find an reply to an arcane regularisation issue, it could prevention customers and banks (or security agencies) clip and money.
  • Who picked it: Marina