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Y Combinator kicked off its fourth-ever virtual Demo Day today, revealing the first half of its nearly 400-company batch. The presentation, YC’s biggest yet, offers a snapshot into where innovation is heading, from not-so-simple seaweed to a Clearco for creators.
The TechCrunch team stuck to its tradition of covering every single company live (but, you know, from home,) so you’ll find all of the Day 1 companies here. For those who want a sampling of standouts, however, we’re also bringing you a host of our favorites from today’s 1-minute pitch-off extravaganza.
As reporters, we’re constantly inundated with hundreds of pitches on a daily basis. The startups below caught our picky attention for a whole host of reasons, but that doesn’t mean other startups weren’t compelling or potential unicorns as well. Instead, consider the below to be a data point on which startups made us do a double-take, be it due to the size of the market opportunity, the ambition exhibited by the founding team or an idea that was just too clever to pass up.
Genei is, dare I say, a refreshing mashup between robots and writers. The startup has a simple goal: Automatically summarize background reading so content creators can grab the top facts, attribute and move onto the next graf. Writing is innately an art, so I find Genei’s positioning as a tool for writers instead of a replacement out to take their jobs as smart. Better yet, it’s launching by targeting some of the hardest workers in our industry: freelance writers. These folks often have to balance consistent pitches, diverse assignments and tight deadlines for their livelihood, so I’d presume a sidekick can’t hurt. Down the road, I could totally see this startup playing the same role as a Grammarly: a helpful extension of workflows that optimizes the way people who write for a living, write. — Natasha