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Domain Preferences of Y Combinator Companies
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Domain Preferences of Y Combinator Companies

Domain Preferences of Y Combinator Companies

Y Combinator (YC) is a seed funding company that was launched in 2005. Since then it has funded more than 2 thousand companies including some popular ones such as Dropbox, Stripe, Airbnb, Reddit, Zapier, Coinbase, and Twitch.

We have analyzed the domain names of Y Combinator companies to see what kind of domain names they use.

The companies funded by Y Combinator

Y Combinator on a Glimpse

The valuation of Y Combinator companies was over $150 Billion as of October 2019, totally. In their own words:

 “Twice a year, we invest a small amount of money in a large number of startups. We have two batches per year – one from January through March and one from June through August.” 

This batch took place 30 times until now. The latest one was in Winter 2020. We analyzed 2,212 companies funded by Y Combinator from 2005 to 2020. 

Investments of Y Combinator by Years

Having invested in more than 2,000 companies since its establishment, Y Combinator has increased the number of companies it has invested, especially in recent years. They invested 280 companies in 2018, 360 companies in 2019 and 172 companies in 2020 (as of May 2020).

Y Combinator’s Investment Categories

Y Combinator invests in 26 categories. B2B, consumer, and marketplace are the leading categories of the investment. 478 B2B (business-to-business) companies have been funded until now. Consumer category with 428 companies, and marketplace category with 163 companies are the second and third most funded categories.

Most Visited Websites

The most visited companies’ websites are as below:

CompanyWebsiteRank
Redditreddit.com19
Twitchtwitch.tv33
Dropboxdropbox.com65
Scribdscribd.com245
Weeblyweebly.com292
9gag9gag.com363
Airbnbairbnb.com368
Geniusgenius.com408
Humble Bundlehumblebundle.com1361
Coinbasecoinbase.com1440

As seen on the list, 9 out of 10 companies preferred the .com extension. The only company that does not use a .com domain as the main website is Twitch. Although the company uses the .tv version, they also own twitch.com. 

(Most popular websites data was taken from Alexa.)

Most Funded Companies

Y Combinator Most Funded Companies

The most funded companies backed by Y Combinator are as follows:

CompanyDomainFunding Amount
Airbnbairbnb.com$6,00B
Cruisegetcruise.com$3,36B
Instacartinstacart.com$2,09B
Dropboxdropbox.com$2,05B
DoorDashdoordash.com$2,00B
Flexportflexport.com$1,30B
Stripestripe.com$1,26B
Rappirappi.com$1,20B
Zenefitszenefits.com$583M
Coinbasecoinbase.com$560M

All of the top-funded companies are using .com domain names. 9 of them are using the exact-match .com domain name. Only Cruise uses a prefix: getcruise.com

(Most funded companies data was taken from the Y Combinator Database)

Domain Statistics

Extension Preferences

1,734 companies out of 2,212 prefer .com extension (78.5%).

.io is the second most preferred extension with 128 companies (5.8%). 21 of the 172 companies funded in the last year use the .io extension.

Third, fourth and fifth most used extensions are .co, .ai and .org, respectively. .ai is often preferred by artificial intelligence (AI) companies such as Lofty.ai and People.ai.

gTLD – ccTLD Distribution

Although generic top-level extensions (gTLD) are preferred more, we also see lots of startups use country-code extensions (ccTLD) such as .co (Colombia), .io (British Indian Ocean Territory), and .ai (Anguilla). Companies use country extensions because of their popularity or potential of being an abbreviation of their business area: .co (abbr. of “company” – similar to .com), .ai (artificial intelligence), .io (popular among startups) etc. 

85.76% of companies preferred gTLD and the rest of the companies (14.24%) use ccTLD. 

Domain Creation Dates

391 companies registered their domains and were funded by Y Combinator in the same year. When we look at the year difference between funding and registration year, there are 809 domains whose difference is 2 years. We can say these domains are hand-registered. 

Not all 2,212 domains have websites. 1,671 of the domain names have active websites (with at least one page). The remaining companies no longer exist.

Domain Length

We said “Don’t choose your domain name too long” in our article Don’ts of Choosing a Domain Name. Domain name length of  Y Combinator companies is as shown in the chart.

There are 372 companies whose domain length is 8-letter. There are no domain names on the list with more than 25 characters.

Domain Purchases of Y Combinator Companies 

DomainPriceDate
cover.com$825.000,002017-08-13
presto.com$150.000,002018-02-04
handle.com$95.378,002018-03-22
fountain.com$95.000,002007-07-10
lean.com$52.500,002011-05-25
cardash.com$25.000,002017-05-12
vanta.com$24.980,002017-07-19
onemonth.com$20.000,002013-10-09
wayup.com$20.000,002015-07-27

At least 131 of the 2,212 companies backed by Y Combinator purchased their domain names from the previous owners, according to Namebio records. 90% of these domain purchases are .com and the remaining ones are .io, .co and .me. 118 out of 135 companies preferred the com extension.

Fintech company Cover, funded in 2016, paid $825,000 for cover.com. You can find the story of that purchase on this blog post written by the co-founder of Cover. 

Presto, B2B service for restaurants, paid $150,000 to buy the exact match .com domain name.  

The other fintech company Handle paid $95,378 for Handle.com. The fourth most expensive sale is fountain.com, which was sold for $95,000. 

Top 10 Domain Registrars

Top Registrars of Y Combinator Companies

There are 128 registrars used by the Y Combinator companies. The first 10 registrars are as shown in the chart. GoDaddy is the most preferred registrar by Y Combinator companies. Namecheap is the second and Google is the third one.

RegistrarDomain Count
GoDaddy709
Namecheap359
Google201
Gandi110
Amazon102
Tucows71
Enom67
Name.com48
MarkMonitor46
Key-Systems41
Others458

.COM Preference by Years

.com, the king of domain extensions, is the most preferred extension with 78%. But it seems that .com preference is declining in recent years. As seen in the graph; the preference of .com, which was almost 100% in companies funded in 2005, has decreased to 57% in companies funded in 2020. This is mostly because of “all good .com domain names are taken”. Therefore, the startups have to choose other extensions than .com if they can’t purchase the .com domain.

Conclusion

  • .com is by far the most preferred extension by Y Combinator companies.
  • The preference rate of extensions other than .com increases year after year. However; companies that get funded with high figures upgrade their domain names to their exact-match .com domains.
  • .io extension is gaining popularity among startups that founded in the last years. 
  • Almost 60% of Y Combinator Companies Uses Exact Match .COM Domain Names.
  • 24 of every 100 companies funded by Y Combinator, on average, no longer exist.

What do you think about the domain name choices of companies funded by Y Combinator?

You may also want to check Fortune 500 Companies and Crunchbase Top 1000 Companies analyses to see their domain preferences.


Domain Names of Top Y Combinator Companies by Valuation

COMPANYDOMAINCREATE DATE
Stripestripe.com12 September 1995
Airbnbairbnb.com5 August 2008
Cruisegetcruise.com12 December 2002
Doordashdoordash.com18 June 2013
Coinbasecoinbase.com2 July 2011
Instacartinstacart.com31 October 1996
Dropboxdropbox.com28 June 1995
Ginkgo Bioworksginkgobioworks.com20 June 2008
Gustogusto.com23 August 1995
Flexportflexport.com7 January 2013
Rappirappi.com30 June 2002
Brexbrex.com22 October 1998
Redditreddit.com29 April 2005
GitLabgitlab.com15 January 2004
PagerDutypagerduty.com12 February 2009
Checkrcheckr.com5 June 2005
Segmentsegment.com6 July 1998
Dockerdocker.com25 January 1995
Scalescale.com29 December 1997
Faireffaire.com22 April 1998
Twitchtwitch.tv8 June 2009
PlanGridplangrid.com11 December 2011
Mixpanelmixpanel.com13 March 2007
Amplitudeamplitude.com9 May 1996
Optimizelyoptimizely.com11 January 2010
Boom Supersonicboomsupersonic.com21 July 2016
Gringrin.com3 October 1995
Meeshomeesho.com17 October 2015
Algoliaalgolia.com22 April 2012
GOATgoat.com31 May 1995
Zapierzapier.com30 October 2011
MessageBirdmessagebird.com10 November 2008
Standard Cognitionstandard.ai16 December 2017
Memeboxmemebox.com15 November 2006
Embarkembarktrucks.com30 January 2017
Helion Energyhelionenergy.com25 August 2008
EquipmentShareequipmentshare.com19 July 2004
SendBirdsendbird.com4 August 2013
Rescalerescale.com13 November 2002
GoCardlessgocardless.com14 April 1999
Rigetti Computingrigetti.com16 February 2013
Razorpayrazorpay.com23 August 2013
Northbynorth.com18 January 2012
Relativity Spacerelativityspace.com1 September 2015
Podiumpodium.com18 September 1997
Benchlingbenchling.com23 February 2012
Ironcladironcladapp.com7 November 2014
Newfrontnewfrontinsurance.com6 April 2018
InfluxDatainfluxdata.com24 June 2014
Webflowwebflow.com31 March 2003
People.aipeople.ai15 December 2017
Weeblyweebly.com29 March 2006
Xenditxendit.co20 October 2014
Matterport Incmatterport.com9 June 2011
EasyPosteasypost.com18 January 1998
Siftsift.com19 August 1995
The Athletictheathletic.com10 December 2000
Mattermostmattermost.com22 December 2012
WePaywepay.com6 December 1998
Vidyardvidyard.com27 January 2011
Weavegetweave.com29 July 2010
Nurxnurx.com16 May 2000
Proxy, Incproxy.com3 November 1994
Heapheap.io25 December 2011
Prestopresto.com26 September 1996
Payfazzpayfazz.com11 February 2016
MemSQLmemsql.com30 January 2011
Fivetranfivetran.com3 August 2012
Ripplingrippling.com25 February 2002
Cleverclever.com9 March 1995
Herokuheroku.com15 June 2007
Fivestarsfivestars.com29 August 2002
CoreOScoreos.com13 August 2005
ClearTaxcleartax.in1 March 2011
Quero Educationquero.education15 June 2016
Ridecellridecell.com1 February 2008
HelloSignhellosign.com5 March 2004
GrubMarket Incgrubmarket.com8 July 2013
Latticelattice.com11 October 1996
Unbabelunbabel.com23 December 2000
Athelas Incathelas.com3 July 2010
Oh My Greenohmygreen.com10 August 2012
Leverlever.co20 July 2010
Atriumatrium.co26 September 2014
Zeuszeusliving.com9 September 2015
Frontfrontapp.com30 August 2011
Le Toteletote.com29 March 2012
ShipBobshipbob.com12 March 2014
Snapdocssnapdocs.com16 January 2005
GitPrimegitprime.com21 May 2014
Scribdscribd.com24 September 2006
Guestyguesty.com4 December 2003
Axoniaxoni.com12 October 2013
Loblob.com24 August 1995
Notablenotablelabs.com9 February 2015
Atomwise Incatomwise.com17 December 2012
Flutterwave Incflutterwave.com31 March 2015
Panorama Educationpanoramaed.com6 April 2012
FutureAdvisorfutureadvisor.com13 November 2003
SFOXsfox.com19 December 2012
Lambda Schoollambdaschool.com18 May 2016
ZeroDownzerodown.com26 August 2003

(Source: https://www.ycombinator.com/topcompanies)

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