Lightning-fast VPNs, data-organization tools, auto-generated videos to spice up your company’s Instagram stories… Y Combinator’s winter 2022 open-source founders have some cool ideas up their sleeve. And since they are open source, some of these companies will also allow you to join in the fun of collaboration. Here are all the open source-related companies featured at Demo Day in the Winter 2022 cohort.
Location: Salt Lake City, UT
What he says does: Tuva cleans up messy healthcare data to help the healthcare industry build scalable data products.
The promises include: Tuva wants to become the open standard for healthcare data transformation and build the data network for multi-site benchmarking and research.
How it says it differs from rivals: Tuva uses machine learning to further develop its technology.
Founders: Co-founders Coco (Jorge) Zuloaga and Aaron Neiderhiser have worked in the field of health data science for a decade. They use this experience to help digital health companies prepare their data for analytics and machine learning.
Our thoughts: Have you ever gone to the doctor and waited for minutes while the nurse’s computer – running Windows 2000 – struggled to open your file, only to find that it had no information to update on the medications you were taking? We can only imagine how cumbersome it would be for health tech companies to organize all of this, so it looks like Tuva Health is doing a good service by making its software open source. Now, to get that Windows 2000 nurse out…
Location: Mountain View, California
What he says does: Firezone is building an open source alternative to OpenVPN and Cisco AnyConnect using a new VPN protocol called WireGuard. The company targets businesses to help remote workers access private networks.
The promises include: Apparently, using WireGuard makes Firezone faster than its competitors.
How it says it differs from rivals: Speed! Cryptography! It should also be noted that the other members of the Netmaker cohort also develop open source software based on WireGuard.
Founders: Co-founder Jamil Bou Kheir spent eight years at Cisco, a direct competitor! Spice! Kheir also lived in a “little hacker house” for two years, which… although we don’t want to know what the little hacker house looks like, we appreciate the out-of-the-box idea.
Our thoughts: Faster VPN options? Sounds good to us. We’re a bit more obsessed with the Hacker’s Little House, though. What is happening here?
Location: Palo Alto, California
What he says does: GrowthBook is an open-source platform to help businesses make data-driven product decisions with feature metrics and A/B testing.
The promises include: GrowthBook focuses on feature reporting and experimentation and operates on the philosophy that it’s the best way to build products at scale.
How it says it differs from rivals: GrowthBook says an existing SaaS solution, LaunchDarkly, requires a company to send all of its data to it, which poses high costs and security concerns. GrowthBook says it solves this problem by using a company’s existing data infrastructure and business metrics.
Founders: Co-founders Jeremy Dorn and Graham McNicoll both worked at Education.com as chief architect and CTO respectively. After Education.com was released in 2019, the two started working on GrowthBook.
Our thoughts: Startups will likely be more comfortable using open-source software to help them make product decisions rather than sending all their data to a third-party vendor.
Location: San Francisco, California
What he says does: Eventual is a data warehouse for images and video, which makes it easier for enterprise machine learning teams to design continuous pipelines that ingest, organize and process imagery data.
The promises include: Eventual wants to help companies save time and money by optimizing workflow.
How it says it differs from rivals: Eventual says it’s the first turnkey data warehouse for images and video. Instead of using SQL, Eventual’s query interface is a Lambda function that can be written in the programming language of your choice.
Founders: Both Jay Chia and Sammy Sidhu have a background in deep learning – they worked together on Lyft Level 5 to create self-driving technology acquired by Toyota.
Our thoughts: If these founders can run cars autonomously, organizing data through machine learning should be a snap, right? (At least it’s a less accident-prone business venture.)
Location: Asheville, North Carolina
What he says does: Netmaker is an open source tool based on the WireGuard VPN protocol.
The promises include: Netmaker claims to work 15 times faster than OpenVPN.
How it says it differs from rivals: Netmaker and its cohort companion Firezone are both open source and faster alternatives to existing VPN software.
Founders: CTO Dillon Carns and CEO Alex Feiszli left their software engineering gigs to develop Netmaker. Feiszli was previously a senior engineer at IBM, a consultant at Deloitte, and an entrepreneur at Red Hat.
Our thoughts: Without testing the products, we can’t really say if Netmaker or its cohort mate Firezone is faster, but we do know that Netmaker’s CTO has a dog named Pepper. The ball is in your court, Firezone.
Location: Mountain View, California
What he says does: According to the Toolchest website, “We have felt the pain of implementing and scaling computational biology tools. We are here to build better basic tools for bioinformatics.
The promises include: Toolchest claims this will allow drug discovery companies to get analytical results up to 100 times faster.
How it says it differs from rivals: Users don’t need to migrate their data or learn how to use a new platform. Toolchest makes it possible to implement and scale computational biology tools in just three lines of code.
Founders: CTO Bryce Cai has an academic background, researching computational chemistry and mathematics at Stanford. CEO Noah Lebovic previously led software engineering at a now-acquired microbiome startup.
Our thoughts: Toolchest is so open source that its signature three lines of code are literally on the homepage of their website.
Location: San Francisco, California
What he says does: Unai is developing a VR headset and virtual world that aims to help people feel connected to each other in the virtual world.
The promises include: Unai wants VR interactions to look, feel and sound like they do in real life.
How it says it differs from rivals: Unai thinks “virtual presence” is the “first killer use case” for VR, not gaming.
Founders: Maxim Perumal built Relativity, an open-source VR headset, when he was 15 years old. Now, as CEO of Unai, Perumal has recruited a team of former senior engineers from companies like Apple, Nvidia, Intel, Activision, Meta, and Sony.
Our thoughts: Since Unai is still stealth, it’s hard to say what differentiates its technology from consumer headsets like the Meta Quest 2. But we can’t underestimate Unai’s biggest advantage, which is that Mark Zuckerberg isn’t not its CEO.
Location: Victoria, Canada
What he says does: Instant Domains claims that in less time than it takes to create a social media profile, businesses can buy a domain, launch a site, and start earning revenue.
The promises include: Instant Domains is encrypted and promises never to collect data about its users.
How it says it differs from rivals: Technically, you can also set up a Squarespace site or a Wix site pretty quickly – but Instant Domains says it’s even faster and easier. It might not be as flexible as other no-code website builders, but it’s cheaper ($10 per year for a domain, plus an optional $5 per month for additional features). Some business owners may not need all the bells and whistles on other platforms.
Founders: Instant Domains is an outgrowth of Instant Domain Search, a side project that CEO Beau Hartshorne built in 2005, which now generates around $1 million in annual revenue. Hartshorne is joined by CTO Dirkjan Ochtman, a 20-year veteran of software engineering and an accomplished open source maintainer.
Our thoughts: Hot Plug: Squarespace is expensive. Normally I urge people to just create a free WordPress site and attach their own domain to it, but if Instant Domains can accomplish what it sets out to do, maybe we won’t have to mess with cPanel to get an affordable and functioning website. Instant Domains is a bit like Linktree but with custom domain management built in.
Location: Seattle, Washington
What he says does: Uberduck calls itself “Canva for Programmable Video”, creating video that can be automatically generated through the API.
The promises include: Within minutes, Uberduck will generate customizable dynamic videos with customer data. Uberduck can also be used to develop advertisements and social media posts. You can also… clone your voice? Deepfake yourself? Use wisely.
How it says it differs from rivals: Uberduck has a Discord community of nearly 3,000 members who collaborate to turn AI research into design tools for the app.
Founders: Samson Koelle holds a doctorate. in statistics and worked for places like Amazon and the National Institutes of Health. Koelle is joined by co-founders William Luer and Zach Wener, who was once a staff member at The Atlantic (the tech reporter at the tech founders pipeline is a thing?).
Our thoughts: Finally, a startup calling itself “Canva for [use case]” which makes sense compared to Canva.