Is Y Combinator Pivoting Away From Fintech?

  • JJ Hornblass
  • August 23, 2016
  • 1

canstockphoto39204793Fintech seems to have lost some appeal at Y Combinator.

Arguably Silicon Valley’s top incubator yesterday hosted Day 1 of its Summer 2016 Demo Day, and the percentage of fintech startups dropped noticably compared to its winter lot. Last March, around 10% of Y Combinator startups focused on fintech. Yesterday, only two of the 44 — or less than 5% — had a fintech bent.

It should be noted that Y Combinator often clusters startups by discipline during its demo events, so more fintech might be showcased among today’s lineup. Until then, the two fintech startups from yesterday’s presentations.

Airfordable – Payment plans for travel

Airfordable offers a payment plan service to support travel for people that have limited credit or limited savings. The service lets travelers create bi-weekly payment plans that push payments off up to three months. Tickets are distributed only when the payment plan is successfully completed. After reaching profitability and booking $500,000 in sales, the company wants to increase spending to push into financing plans for hotels as well. According to TechCrunch, the company has partnered with an insurance company that is accountable for default risk and is growing at 53% month over month.

Simbi – Bartering marketplace

Simbi lets people barter their skills through a credits system. According to TechCrunch, Simbi is growing 95% per month, and $100,000 in services are being traded each month. “The bartering market could be magnitudes bigger than the $14 billion estimate if there was a clearing house like Simbi to make exchanges simple and safe,” according to TechCrunch.

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JJ started the first iteration of Bank Innovation back in 2007, and has been working on it ever since. He also serves as President & Chief Executive Officer of Royal Media, Bank Innovation’s parent. He founded Royal in 1995 and oversees all aspects of the New York-based diversified media company. Prior to forming Royal, JJ was on the editorial staff of American Banker, the daily newspaper, and worked as an editor of a business magazine in Hong Kong. As a reporter and editor, he has won journalism awards from the National Press Foundation, Newsletter & Electronic Publishers Foundation, and the Reader’s Digest Foundation. He has a BS in Economics from Yeshiva University and a Master’s from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He was also a Fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Graduate School of Banking. He lives in New York City with his wife, two daughters, and son. He counts among his accomplishments one New York City Marathon, two New York City Triathlons and the 2010 Father’s Day 5K, the first race he ever ran with his daughters. He can be reached at or 212-564-8972.

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