Since 2005, Y Combinator—a technology startup accelerator—has been used to launch more than 3,500 companies, including Airbnb, DoorDash, Dropbox, Instacart, Quora and Reddit.
Twice a year, Y Combinator invests $500,000 per company in many startups—accepting only 1.5-2% of more than 15,000 companies that apply each cycle—working intensively with the companies for three months to get them into the best possible shape and refine their pitch to investors. Each cycle culminates in Demo Day, when the startups present their companies to a carefully selected, invitation-only audience.
The current cycle, known as YC Summer 2022 batch, has a University of Tennessee at Chattanooga connection.
Dillon Martin, a 2017 UTC graduate with a bachelor’s degree in finance, and Justin Clark, who received a master’s in computer science from UTC in 2019, are two of the four founders of a mobile financial app called Levo Financial—one of approximately 250 startups accepted into the summer cohort.
Martin and Clark are believed to be the first UTC alums to participate in Y Combinator.
On Sept. 7, Martin, Clark and Levo Financial will present the company to more than 1,000 venture capital firms and angel investors invited by Y Combinator. From there, the Levo team expects aggressive growth.
“We want to perfect the product, grow as fast as we can and build our company,” Martin said. “We expect to be bursting at the seams along the way. There are phases of this that—of course—you can’t know how it will look beforehand. We can prepare all we can before, but it’s going to be wild.”
As Clark said, “This product has the opportunity to change things and change how people think about money, especially younger people just starting their careers.”