YCombinator Summer 2020 Domain Name Stats

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YCombinator is a startup incubator that provides funding for early stage startups who apply to participate. Each year, YCombinator invests in two large groups of startups, dividing into Winter and Summer groups. The Summer (S20) group was recently revealed, and I thought it would be interesting to evaluate what domain names these startups have chosen to use.

There are 126 companies listed under S20, and 125 of the 126 had domain names listed. Notably, it appears that there were more companies than the 126 listed companies that participated in the two Demo days this week. I am not sure why there is a discrepancy, but I only looked at the 126 companies listed under S20 on the YCombinator website.

Listed below are the YCombinator Summer 2020 startup companies along with their domain names. Below this list, you will find the aggregated domain name stats by category. Keep in mind, many of these startups are in the early stages with little funding and/or revenue, so buying the ideal domain name has likely not been a high priority:

Domain extensions:

  • .com – 63/125 = 50.4%
  • .IO – 15/125 = 12%
  • .CO – 10/125 = 8%
  • .App – 7/125 = 5.6%
  • .AI – 5/125 = 4%
  • Other new gTLD (.School, .Run, .Tech …etc) – 10/125 = 8%
  • Other ccTLD (.TV, .com.br, .in …etc) – 11/125 = 8.8%
  • Other gTLD (.net and .org) – 4/125 = 3.2%

My own analysis shows that if a company uses a generic brand name – like Glimpse or Sidekick, it is much more likely to use either an off-brand domain name like TryGlimpse.com or a non .com domain name like Sidekick.video. Companies with creative names like Hellosaurus or Maytana tend to use the exact match .com domain names. I also noticed that many of the startups used .IO domain names.

16 COMMENTS

    • .COMR shill.

      Let him prove:

      HOW MANY startups *HAVE* upgraded their name! I don’t want 1 or 2 single examples. I want the facts – the big picture! What % of ‘successful’ URLS have actually *EVEN* upgraded their URL at one time or another?

      Kept their content, everything – budding business (start-up), then *CHANGES* the URL? I’m serious! IS it happening? Barely. Gregg just has some far-flung fantasy claim.

      I’m asking folks, because if these websites are *UPGRADES* in the making – has this been the CASE before? What magic will cause them to ‘upgrade suddenly now’??

      When WILL they ‘figure out’ .com is ‘king’? LOL! Give me a break! This blog post is TERRIBLE NEWS for .comrs! Gregg trying to ‘SPIN’.

      Fact: for a lot of these, a .com would be a DOWNGRADE!

        • A LOT has changed in the last few years…

          And it’s changing A LOT faster now! Perception. This is domain *investing* not betting that everything will stay the same (.com).

          When was this? When you sold tinder .com?

          OH, even *BEFORE NEW DOMAINS* existed.

          Wow. Cool story bro!

          Means nothing. Wasting my time on you.

          • You did also suggest in another thread that you have never actually sold a New TLD domain though. People should take these comments with a grain of salt.

      • The ones who are successful will upgrade, and the ones who aren’t successful won’t. For a startups any old domain is fine. It is like eating off a paper plate, you know that when you are done you will throw it away.

        I can’t say I have ever heard of a startup outgrowing the startup phase and being highly successful but not buying the correct .com. Maybe there is some but it would have to be very rare.

  1. Nice subject, if you have an automated way of extracting the domain names it would be interesting to compare the results with prior years S19, S18, …
    getmatter.app
    once.app
    stacker.app
    getbits.app
    blabla.app
    jemi.app
    thndr.app

    quell.tech
    reflect.run
    rally.video
    fancyapp.live
    lume.health
    sutra.fit
    sidekick.video
    decentro.tech
    flock.network
    keydb.dev
    opvia.bio
    strive.school

    7 .app and 12 other new gtlds, in total 19 out of 125, 15.2% is significant imo.

    • Significant to who? Every single domain in the list is complete rubbish. I challenge you to find a single name that is worth something.

      The only takeaway is early stage startups want short brand name, typically a single word, and couldn’t care less what the domain is. Company Name > Domain Name.

      • “I challenge you to find a single name that is worth something”

        Snoopy, you have to break out of this way of thinking to see the wood from the trees. Most people typing in domains are not domain investors.

        • Those companies are choosing $10 domains, anything available that could represent a single word company name no matter how bad. This is no big sign for new tld investors and it is clear as day that the number of new tld sales is now falling every year.

          These startups are a couple of guys in a bedroom with no budget,

          ThePeopleMesh.com for a company called Mesh.
          Jemi.app for a company called Jemi.

          These are not considered or important choices.

      • Significant in the sense that end users are using ngtlds. I didn’t mention anything about value. In fact all 125 domains in the list are of very low value but that’s not the point. Also, I’m not saying that ngtlds are “better” or more valuable than .com but they have a space in the domain industry and many “investors” currently underestimate them.

        • The don’t place in any value in these domains or care what they register though, much like the people registering those .com’s couldn’t care, eg thepeoplemesh.com for a company called Mesh.

          This stuff is a step up from using an IP address and is not a sign for new tld domainers (who are losing their shirts). New tld aftermarket is declining rapidly, has been for years.

          • Snoopy, they place value on these names and even though you don’t, it’s ok that they do.

            I mirror KT’s point if it wasn’t clear from what I said earlier. They aren’t domainers, they are end users. It’s significant because more end users/startups are using new domains and the effect is more web users will be typing them in, accepting them, and loving them (or hating them).

            Whether more folks love or hate them – doesn’t matter – mindshare of .com is eroding.

  2. Anyone reading this will probably be surprised by how many new domains are being used by startups.

    The question isn’t even about who would upgrade, that question only comes up if the startup breaks through and by that time .com may be less relevant and maybe not even worth registering – we don’t know either way but some of the tlds above are part of the brand… It makes sense to go with the new domain and not the .com.

    What we do know and is so clearly evident by this list, is that end users (especially startups) aren’t worried enough that they are building on a non-.com, to switch to an alternative .com name. They chose a name/brand that they love with a new domain and they are going with it.

    What is also clear is that some of these startups are innovative and have smart people behind them. Some of these folks eclipse the very domainers (in terms of thinking big/different and also in the amount of $ they’ll make from their startup)…and of course some won’t make it, and aren’t great ideas and their failure will not be down to their domain name as some would have you think.

    The other thing that’s clear, is that as more startups and businesses opt for new domains the mindshare is clearly being pulled from .com. it used to be a small pull, but looking at the list above .com investors need to think twice about renewing their marginal .coms – they may never sell as new domains continue to break ground and dominate.

  3. Ycombinator itself did a study a while back. companies with an exact match dotcom name blew away those without one. too bad you can’t go long start-ups with an exact match dotcom and short those without one. i tell ya i’d be rich sammy. oh wait. i already am.

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