5 Innovative AI Startups Making Waves in Y Combinator’s Summer 2023 Cohort

As the summer season unfolds, Y Combinator’s latest batch of startups is stepping into the spotlight to showcase their innovative products for media scrutiny and investor attention. This year, approximately 217 companies are set to present their ideas, a slightly smaller cohort than the previous winter’s 235, as VC enthusiasm experiences a minor dip.

The first half of 2023 witnessed venture capitalists backing nearly 4,300 deals, amounting to a substantial $64.6 billion in total funding. Although these figures might seem substantial, they represent a 49% decline in deal value compared to H1 2022 and a 35% dip in deal volume year-over-year.

However, amidst this backdrop, the AI sector stands out as a shining star. Accounting for nearly a fifth of the total global venture funding between August and July, AI continues to attract considerable attention. This surge is evident in the Y Combinator’s summer 2023 cohort, which features a remarkable increase in the number of AI startups—57 compared to the 28 in the winter 2022 batch.

To gain insights into the AI technologies that are currently driving investments, we have delved deep into the summer 2023 batch and identified the YC-backed AI startups that exhibit the most promise and differentiation.

AI Infrastructure Pioneers

Several startups in the Y Combinator cohort focus on providing the tools and infrastructure necessary for building AI from the ground up. One notable example is Shadeform, founded by data engineers and distributed systems architects Ed Goode, Ronald Ding, and Zachary Warren. Shadeform offers a platform that enables customers to access and deploy AI training and inferencing workloads across various cloud providers. This innovative solution addresses the challenge of sourcing adequate hardware for AI model development, particularly GPUs, which have experienced a shortage. Shadeform allows companies to launch AI jobs across public cloud infrastructure, providing predictability and scalability.

Another intriguing player in this space is Cerelyze, founded by ex-Peloton AI engineer Sarang Zambare. Cerelyze takes AI research papers, often found on open access archives like Arxiv.org, and translates the mathematical content into functioning code. This automation streamlines the implementation of AI techniques described in research papers, saving developers from the laborious task of reverse engineering. While Cerelyze’s code translation currently works for a limited subset of papers, it presents an exciting concept with room for growth and improvement.

AI Development Tools

Sweep, launched by William Zeng and Kevin Lu, veterans of the video-game-turned-social-network Roblox, is a startup focused on automating small development tasks like high-level debugging and feature requests. Sweep can analyze code errors and GitHub issues, devise solutions, write code, and submit pull requests to GitHub. While the potential for AI-driven development tools is promising, the founders exercise caution by requiring human review and editing before implementing code fixes, recognizing AI’s potential for errors.

AI-Powered Applications

Nowadays, co-founded by Anna Sun and Amy Yan, positions itself as the “AI co-pilot for corporate event planning.” Sun and Yan, with backgrounds at companies like Datadog, DoorDash, Google, Meta, and McKinsey, aim to simplify the often burdensome and costly process of corporate event planning. Nowadays automates tasks such as reaching out to venues and vendors, managing emails and phone calls, and considering personal preferences for event planning. The exact workings behind Nowadays remain somewhat opaque, leaving questions about the extent of AI’s involvement in these processes.

FleetWorks, created by ex-Uber Freight product manager Paul Singer and Quang Tran, who previously worked on ambitious projects at Airbnb, targets freight brokers. The platform simplifies load booking, tracking, and appointment scheduling, alleviating the manual work and communication challenges faced by brokers. FleetWorks leverages AI to automate routine calls and emails, potentially allowing freight operators to focus on higher-value tasks. If the platform delivers on its promises, it could prove highly valuable to the logistics industry.

In conclusion, Y Combinator’s summer 2023 batch features a diverse array of AI startups, each tackling unique challenges and pushing the boundaries of what AI technology can achieve in various domains. These startups hold the potential to make significant contributions to the evolving landscape of artificial intelligence and its practical applications.