YC’s AI Love 🤖

PLUS: Another IPO In The Making 🛡️

Hi Everyone. This is Take Off. We're like a hidden Easter egg in your favorite video game - surprising, delightful, and adding an extra layer of fun to your tech news consumption.

Here's what we're serving up today:

  • YC’s AI Love 🤖

  • Another IPO In The Making 🛡️

  • Trending Tools ⚒️ 

  • Wednesday Wires 💰

YC’s AI Love 🤖

Y Combinator has made it pretty clear who their favorite student is. Care to guess their initials? 

Hint: It starts with A and ends with I.

In their latest graduation party, over half of the 260 startups were either building or using AI tech, from supply chain compliance to private equity due diligence. 

The AI scene is booming, and YC’s Jared Friedman says it’s thanks to better tools and more accessible GPUs. 

Now, even startups can train their own models without needing a Ph.D. in machine learning and hundreds of millions of dollars. 

The major difference between this class of 2024 and the other batches is that companies are now building end-to-end workflows rather than selling a software tool that complements a human-driven workflow. 

YC’s Demo Day is a bit of a barometer for the whole startup ecosystem — and as the AI frenzy continues to attract investor cash, some will fizzle out, some will be absorbed by the big players, and some will actually gain traction with customers.

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Another IPO In The Making 🛡️

Silicon Valley is getting that special feeling again as another company filed their S-1 prospectus recently. 

It has that look of IPO love.

The Palo-Alto based company, Rubrik, is planning to IPO on the NYSE under the ticker RBRK and is planning to raise $700M+


After seeing Nutanix build a massive multi-billion dollar business selling a hardware and software bundle for running virtual machines, Bipul Sinha started Rubrik in 2014 to apply the same pattern of product-market fit to data backups. 

They started doing this kinda hardware, kinda software solution for data backups, which was game changing at that time considering the legacy players. 


The rapid rise of Ransomware-as-a-service ($2B was stolen in 2017, up from $24M in 2016) was a big tailwind, helping the company land big customers like Fox, Facebook, Dropbox, AIG and Sephora to grow to an ARR of $100M by 2016. 

Rubrik monetized by selling their integrated hardware and software appliance with a perpetual use license, paid upfront with contracts for maintenance and professional services.

They focus primarily on data security solutions, focusing on something I believe in heavily - Zero Trust Data Security, a cybersecurity strategy that assumes no one is trusted by default. 

Can’t really trust anyone in this day and age.


A quick glance at Rubrik’s books paints the picture of a cloud-based SaaS company with $537M of revenue being generated from subscriptions.

Source: Sacra

However, Rubrik wasn’t born in the cloud. As mentioned earlier, the company made their living earlier by selling perpetual licenses and layering on maintenance and services on top of that.

But with the backup market becoming increasingly commoditized, they switched focus 100% to the cloud, going after recurring subscription revenue and layering on value-add services around cybersecurity, particularly ransomware prevention and compliance. 

The shift to cloud is now nearly complete. The company still has roughly $100M in maintenance contracts and “Other” revenue on its P&L but Subscription ARR makes the meat of the revenue. 

The GenAI Play

We’re living in 2024 folks. No IPO can go forward without a genAI hook.

Rubrik said that generative AI breakthroughs will require more guardrails for security, privacy and compliance. 

And of course, they have an AI product - Ruby AI for defense and recovery. 

Ruby is Rubrik’s generative AI product that helps augment human efforts and Azure’s OpenAI model. Rubrik also offers a variety of customer support packages that accompany their platform. 

Rubrik’s master plan hinges on using the stickiness of data backups as a wedge into colonizing the $23B market for data security—2x as big as the data backups market and growing 3x as fast. 

☄️ Asteroids ☄️

NASA's shift from a pricey, delayed Mars sample mission to engaging space startups could spark a budget-friendly, faster solution💫💰

Elon Musk plans to charge new X users a fee to post, aiming to curb the bot issue. This move builds on efforts like a recent spam account purge and using public posts for AI training. 🤖💸

Logitech is stepping up its game with the Logi AI Prompt Builder, a tool that integrates ChatGPT into its devices, allowing users to perform various text manipulations with a button press on their mouse or keyboard. 🖱️🤖

🧑‍⚖️ Speedlegal - Your personal AI contract negotiator

🔍️ Insight7 - The easiest way to analyze interviews at scale

👍️ Validated - Learn what your your customers want with AI

💰 Wednesday Wires 💰

Evolution Equity Partners just launched a whopping $1.1 billion fund focused on cybersecurity and AI. Amidst industry downturns, they're betting big on early to late growth-stage companies. 🌐🔒

Two Chairs just secured $72 million in Series C funding. The in-person therapy company pivoted to a virtual model during COVID-19 and now aims to expand its unique approach of employing therapists directly. 🧠💻

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