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Top Private YC Companies by Valuation and Their Domain Name Choices
By Tsani Gramatikova access_time 8 min read


Since its inception in 2005, Y Combinator (YC) has been a crucible for over 4,000 startups, many of which have grown into prominent names in various industries. Y Combinator’s role in shaping the startup ecosystem has been profound, providing a fertile ground for innovation and entrepreneurial spirit. 

In our article “A Look at Ycombinator’s Winter 2023 Batch” “we’ve explored the domain name choices of the Y Combinator’s Winter 2023 Batch participants. Now, we shift our focus to an elite subgroup: the top private YC companies, as distinguished by their market valuation.

What Are Private YC Companies?

Private YC companies are a unique breed of startups that have undergone the rigorous incubation or acceleration process of Y Combinator, a prestigious American seed money startup accelerator. Remaining privately owned, these companies have their shares tightly held and unavailable for public trading. Y Combinator’s role in these startups’ journey is multifaceted, extending beyond seed funding. It offers strategic guidance, invaluable networking opportunities, and mentorship, propelling these startups through their nascent stages toward substantial growth and development.

These private YC companies are distinguished by their participation in YC’s renowned program, innovative approaches, and potential for significant impact. Y Combinator’s selective process and history of nurturing phenomenally successful startups like Dropbox, Airbnb, and Reddit underscore the calibre of these companies. Representing a diverse spectrum of industries and ideas, these private YC companies are at different stages of their lifecycle, yet they share the prestigious experience of having been part of the Y Combinator ecosystem. This shared experience serves as a testament to their potential and positions them as noteworthy players in the global startup landscape.


Scale AI

Industry: Artificial Intelligence (AI), Data Collection and Labeling, Generative AI, Image Recognition, Machine Learning, SaaS

Valuation: Scale AI 2024 valuation is $7.3 billion.

Scale AI accelerates the adoption and development of AI within organisations of all sizes, delivering crucial business insights and operational efficiencies. Its data-centric infrastructure platform employs Reinforced Learning with Human Feedback (RLHF) to assist organisations in building robust AI models that significantly enhance their business operations. The company boasts a diverse clientele, including industry leaders like Meta, Microsoft, the U.S. Army, the Department of Defense’s Defense Innovation Unit, OpenAI, General Motors, Toyota Research Institute, Brex, Instacart, and Flexport. Notably, Scale AI has partnered with OpenAI to enable businesses to fine-tune GPT-3.5.

Initially, the company launched on the domain name, reflecting a trend among tech startups to adopt the .ai domain extension due to its relevance to the field and greater availability than the .com extension. Country domain extensions can limit a company’s scope for expansion into new services and markets and carry inherent risks. Scale AI benefited significantly from switching to the globally recognised exact brand match domain (EBM), which aligns better with their broader growth trajectory.


Industry: Freight Service, Logistics, Shipping, Software, Supply Chain Management

Valuation: Flexport’s valuation is $8 billion. Investors include Andreessen Horowitz, Founders Fund and SoftBank Group’s Vision Fund.

Flexport is a modern, full-service global freight forwarder and logistics platform, revolutionising the user experience in international trade with its advanced software solutions. The company was founded in 2013 by Ryan Petersen and headquartered in San Francisco, California. Over its 10-year history, Flexport has attracted significant investments, amounting to $2.3 billion, and currently holds an impressive valuation of $8 billion.

Flexport is a freight forwarder, first and foremost, and that means we help businesses ship cargo around the world. We’re also a technology company, so we use technology to give companies more visibility and control over their freight and at a lower price.

Ryan Peterson for Y Combinator 

The company’s use of the exact brand match domain enhances brand recognition, accessibility, and professionalism, aligning with Flexport’s commitment to reliability and efficiency. 

Flexport has been included in our January 2024 Monthly Funding Report.


Industry: Financial services, Payment processor

Valuation: The company is valued at $65 billion.

Originating from Y Combinator’s 2009 Summer batch, Stripe has emerged as a global technology company, creating economic infrastructure for the internet. Today, millions of companies of various sizes utilise Stripe’s software and APIs for accepting payments, sending payouts, and managing their online businesses. As of January 2024, Stripe has made investments in 55 startups.

We have covered the exciting story of Stripe’s name, a journey that began in 2010 with founders John, Patrick Collison, and Greg Brockman. Their first naming attempt, /dev/payments, proved legally unviable, leading to a temporary and unwieldy “SLASHDEVSLASHFINANCE.” Seeking a more compelling brand name, they brainstormed various options, eventually focusing on acquiring a domain with positive associations. 

Despite being so common, the word ‘Stripe’ was interestingly free of any existing brand associations. And everything it evoked was at least vaguely positive — racing stripes, striping across a RAID array, the magnetic stripe on a card.

Greg Brockman, former CTO of Stripe

The undisclosed investment in paid off, marking the birth of Stripe as we know it today, a name symbolising simplicity, effectiveness, and a positive connotation in the tech and financial world.


Industry: Business Process Automation (BPA), Cloud Computing, Data Integration, SaaS, Software

Valuation: $5 billion.

Founded in 2011, Zapier has helped over 1.8 million individuals and businesses with their automation needs. The company connects over 2,000 apps to help people be more productive at work, saving customers up to 20 hours weekly. By helping to discover and weave together web applications that increase productivity and success, Zapier is changing the way people work. The company’s name is derived from the term data zapping, meaning data transferring from one app to another.

Our brand came together piece by piece over time. Philosophically, as a marketer, I believe brand is the most important thing you can do, but it’s not necessarily the first thing you do.

Moody Glasgow, CMO of Zapier

Zapier has invested in the exact brand match, thus making the most out of their marketing across channels and avoiding security risks.


Industry: Cryptocurrency and digital collectibles

Valuation: $3 billion.

OpenSea, an American non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace, is establishing itself as a trusted leader in the digital collectibles space. Founded in 2017 by Devin Finzer and Alex Atallah, the company is headquartered in New York City and provides a user-friendly online platform where non-fungible tokens can be bought and sold. The platform allows transactions either at a fixed price or through an auction, catering to a wide range of preferences.  The name alludes to the free, unrestricted nature of blockchain.

OpenSea invested a lot in building the best possible NFT marketplace, but there were also curation platforms, wallets, a lot of work that went in over the last four years, to make the ecosystem more accessible to people. People understand that this idea of a unique digital object that you can own in your wallet, and trade around freely is cool and exciting.

Alex Atallah, CEO of OpenSea for Yahoo Finance

In 2023, OpenSea saw its valuation drop from $13 billion to $3 billion, according to one of its biggest investors, Tiger Global. This is due to a decrease in NFT sales on its platform.

OpenSea upgraded to the exact brand match domain, moving from to reinforce its brand identity.


The analysis of domain usage among top-valued companies in Y Combinator reveals a significant preference for exact brand match (EBM) domains and the .com extension.

Top Private YC Companies by Valuation and Their Domain Name Choices

Out of the total number of companies surveyed, 284, a notable 198 operate on EBM domains. It highlights a trend where companies are aligning their online presence directly with their brand names for clearer recognition and branding consistency. 

251 of these companies have chosen the .com extension for their domains. This overwhelming preference for .com underscores its perceived value in terms of universal recognition and credibility in the digital space. 

Top Private YC Companies by Valuation and Their Domain Name Choices

The data suggests that top-performing companies in Y Combinator understand the importance of a solid online identity, and most of them are choosing .com domains as a reliable way to establish and maintain their global digital presence. 

1 brand uses a dash in its domain name, which can make the domain name harder to remember and create confusion.

Top Private YC Companies by Valuation and Their Domain Name Choices
domain company batch ebm Stripe S09 yes OpenSea W18 yes Faire W17 yes Brex W17 yes Deel W19 yes Rippling W17 yes Gusto W12 yes Flexport W14 yes Razorpay W15 yes Scale AI S16 yes Benchling S12 yes Fivetran W13 yes Rappi W16 yes Checkr S14 yes Zapier S12 yes Meesho S16 yes Monzo Bank yes Relativity W16 no Webflow S13 yes Bird S16 yes Whatnot W20 yes Flock Safety S17 yes Convoy yes EquipmentShare W15 yes GOAT Group W11 yes Retool W17 yes GrubMarket W15 yes Ironclad S15 no Flutterwave S16 yes Podium W16 yes Xendit S15 yes Groww W18 no Outschool W16 yes Lattice W16 yes Helion Energy S14 yes GoCardless S11 yes Algolia W14 yes Docker S10 yes Newfront W18 yes Solugen W17 yes Go1 S15 yes Jeeves S20 no Modern Treasury S18 yes Vetcove S16 yes ShipBob S14 yes Opentrons W16 yes Sift S11 yes Wave W12 yes Front S14 yes Vanta W18 yes
domain company batch ebm

While we make every effort to ensure the data on our site is accurate, complete, and up-to-date, we cannot guarantee its reliability. Our data is provided for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal, financial, or other advice. We strongly recommend that you independently verify any information before relying on it.

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