Original post

This article contains a list of the top 50 YC software startups (sourced from the October 2019 YC Top Companies page). It also contains aggregated statistics for valuations and back-end languages used.

Values in this article are sourced, but I cannot guarantee their accuracy.

Table of Contents:

  1. Top 50 Software Startups
  2. Aggregated Stats

1. Top 50 Software Startups:

Company Latest val ($MM) Initial back-end language(s) DataSci / LowLv
Stripe:
Payment / economic infrastructure for internet
36,000 source Ruby source N / N
Cruise:
Building self-driving car tech
19,000 source C++, Python source, source Y / N
Airbnb:
Marketplace to rent someone’s room
18,000 source Ruby source N / N
DoorDash:
Food delivery
16,000 source Python source N / N
Twitch:
Gaming video platform / community
15,000 source, source , C++, Ruby source N / Y
Instacart:
Grocery pick-up / delivery
13,700 source Ruby source N / N
Dropbox:
File hosting / syncing
8000 (market cap @ Aug 2020) source Python source N / Y
Coinbase:
Cryptocurrency exchange
8,000 source Ruby source N / N
Gusto:
Employee payroll and benefits
3,800 source Ruby source N / N
Rappi:
On-demand delivery
3,500 source Go, Node, Python, Java source N / N
Flexport:
Freight forwarding platform
3,200 source Ruby source N / N
Reddit:
Online network of communities
3,000 source Lisp source N / N
GitLab:
DevOps platform
2,750 source Ruby source N / N
Brex:
Corporate credit cards
2,750 source Elixir source N / N
PargerDuty:
SaaS incident response platform
2,270 source Ruby source N / N
Checkr:
Background checks
2,200 source Ruby source N / N
Podium:
Interaction management platform
1,500 source Ruby source N / N
Segment:
Customer data platform
1,500 source Go, JS source, source N / N
Docker:
Build / deliver software in containers
1000 est. source, source Go source, source N / Y
Scale:
Training / validation data for ML
1,000 source Python, JS source, source Y / N
Amplitude:
Product / customer analytics
1,000 source Python, Java source Y / N
Zapier:
Connect apps and automate workflows
1000 est. (20x 2018 ARR) source Python source N / N
Faire:
B2B wholesale marketplace
1,000 source Java source N / N
PlanGrid:
Construction software
875 source Python source N / N
Mixpanel:
User analytics
865 source Python, Go source Y / N
Benchling:
Biotech research
850 source Python source Y / N
Meesho:
Social commerce platform
700 source Java source N / N
Optimizely:
Digital experience optimization / testing
600 source, source Python source Y / N
Algolia:
Search service
578 source C++, Ruby source, source N / Y
Goat:
Sneaker marketplace
550 source Ruby source N / N
StandardCognition:
Autonomous checkout
535 source Python source Y / N
People.ai:
Intelligent CRM
500 source, source Python source, source Y / N
Razorpay:
Digital payments
450 source, source PHP source N / N
EquipmentShare:
Equipment rentals
400 est. source Python source N / N
Weebly:
Website builder
365 source PHP source, source N / N
Webflow:
Website builder
350 source JS source, source N / N
Matterport:
3D technology platform
325 source, source C++ source, source N / Y
InfluxData:
InfluxDB creator
300 est. source Go source N / Y
Embark:
Self-driving trucks
300 est. source Python, C++ source Y / Y
SendBird:
Chat / calls as a service
300 est. source Python source N / N
Rescale:
Cloud simulation platform
300 est. source Java, Python source Y / N
GoCardless:
Direct debit payments
300 est. source Ruby source, source, source, source N / N
Rigetti Computing:
Quantum computing
300 est. source Python, Lisp, C source Y / Y
MessageBird:
Omnichannel customer communication
300 source , PHP, Python, Java source N / N
Ironclad:
Digital contracting platform
300 est. source JS, Java source N / N
Sift:
Digital safety and fraud detection
300 est. source Java, Ruby source Y / N
Mattermost:
Open source Slack alternative
250 est. source Go source N / N
Xendit:
Digital payments
150 est. source JS source, source N / N
EasyPost:
Logistics software
150 est. source Ruby source, source, source N / N
Newfront:
Insurance platform
150 est. source JS, Go source, source N / N

Note: Ginkgo Bioworks, Boom Supersonic, Grin, Memebox, Helion Energy, North, RelativitySpace, and The Athletic were excluded from the below list; I didn’t feel they were primarily software businesses. Feel free to disagree with my judgement.

Note: values current as of August 15, 2020.

Note: if one language was the primary language used to build the initial product, one language is listed above. If it was not clear which language was primary, multiple languages are listed above.

Note: if I couldn’t find which language was used to build the startup initially, I referenced the oldest job posting I could find.

Note: valuations are approximate and predominantly sourced from recent articles online. Where I couldn’t find an indication of value, ~$150M is assumed; startups listed above were all worth +$150M as of October 2019, as per the YC Top Companies page.

Note: “Y” and “N” values in the “DataSci / LowLv” column describe a startup’s primary product (i.e. ML startups would have a “Y” for DataSci). It was included to provide additional colour on why initial back-end language(s) may have been used / selected. The values in this column are based entirely on my own judgement. Feel free to disagree with them or ignore them.

Note: Ruby and ruby on rails was a popular choice for YC startups around 2010 – 2012. Anecdotally, ~40% of YC startups used ruby during its peak popularity.

2. Aggregated Stats:

Startups with one (initial) primary back-end language:

Language Count Total Valuation ($BN)
All 35 (70%) 132.1 (75%)
Ruby 13 (26%) 92.4 (52%)
Python 10 (20%) 29.1 (16%)
Lisp 1 (2%) 3.0 (2%)
Elixir 1 (2%) 2.8 (2%)
Java 2 (4%) 1.7 (1%)
Go 3 (6%) 1.6 (1%)
PHP 2 (4%) 0.8 (0%)
JS 2 (8%) 0.5 (0%)
C++ 1 (2%) 0.3 (0%)

Startups with multiple (initial) primary back-end languages:

Language Count Total Valuation ($BN)
All 15 (30%) 44.4 (25%)
C++ is one 4 (8%) 34.9 (20%)
Python is one 9 (18%) 26.6 (15%)
Go is one 6 (12%) 21.3 (12%)
Ruby is one 3 (6%) 15.9 (9%)
JS is one 5 (10%) 6.5 (4%)
Java is one 6 (12%) 5.7 (3%)
Lisp is one 1 (2%) 0.3 (0%)
C is one 1 (2%) 0.3 (0%)
PHP is one 1 (2%) 0.3 (0%)

Note: “Startups with multiple (initial) primary back-end languages” table doesn’t add to 100% because multiple languages were used for startups.

All startups:

Language Count Total Valuation ($BN)
All 50 (100%) 176.5 (100%)
Ruby is one 16 (32%) 108.3 (61%)
Python is one 19 (38%) 55.6 (32%)
C++ is one 5 (10%) 35.2 (20%)
Go is one 9 (18%) 22.9 (13%)
Java is one 8 (16%) 7.4 (4%)
JS is one 7 (14%) 7.0 (4%)
Lisp is one 2 (4%) 3.3 (2%)
Elixir is one 1 (2%) 2.8 (2%)
PHP is one 3 (6%) 1.1 (1%)
C is one 1 (2%) 0.3 (0%)

Note: “All startups” table doesn’t add to 100% because multiple languages were used for some startups.