Y Combinator puts out a new call for startups in areas like AI, spatial computing, climate tech and more

Spatial computing, climate tech and applications of AI technology join the newly announced list of startup incubator Y Combinator’s newest request for startups, announced on Wednesday. In a blog post penned by YC Managing Director Dalton Caldwell, the organization put out a call for the types of startups it wants to now fund, in the latest update of its RFS — or “Request for Startups” tradition, which began back in 2009.

The firm hasn’t updated its Request for Startups list since 2018. However, it did seek out startups that could impact the trajectory of COVID-19 amid the pandemic and asked for certain types of startups as one-offs, such as its call for government 2.0 startups in 2019 and demand for more climate tech in 2022.

Climate tech made the new list as well. And although COVID-19 was no longer a focus, healthcare still is with requests for startups focused on a way to end cancer, foundational models for biological systems, the managed service organization model for healthcare and eliminating the middlemen in healthcare.

Not surprisingly, AI technology was mentioned several times throughout the new list, too, including in areas like machine learning (ML applied to robotics, ML to simulate the physical world), “explainable AI,” small fined-tuned models, LLMs (large language models) for manual back office process in legacy enterprises and AI to build enterprise software. Better “enterprise glue,” was added, as well, along with new enterprise resource planning software, or ERPs.

Other candidates of interest include defense technology, new space companies and startups focused on bringing manufacturing back to the U.S.

Apple’s launch of the Vision Pro has YC hedging its bets that “spatial computing” may deserve some attention, too — that is, startups building for the mixed reality environment that AR/VR headsets like the Vision Pro and Meta Quest 3 have introduced.

Digital currencies and crypto technologies largely did not make the new list, beyond one request for stablecoin finance, which refers to digital currencies pegged to a fiat currency, like the U.S. dollar.

While YC will accept other startups that don’t fit any of these categories, the RFS can help entrepreneurs narrow their focus on areas that are likely to gain attention from investors and receive funding.

“The world is full of founders with expertise that could be tapped into something new and great; our hope is that this list inspires some of those people to do so — or if they’re already building, to apply to YC,” wrote Dalton.

Applications for YC’s Summer 2024 batch are now open and the deadline for early admisssion is February 20, the organization notes. The deadline for other applications is April 22.

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