The top 7 startups from Y Combinator Winter ’16 Demo Day 1

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The top 7 startups from Y Combinator Winter ’16 Demo Day 1

We asked investors what their favorite startups were from the 60 that launched at Y Combinator’s Winter 2016 Demo Day 1. After huddling with our writers and adding our input, here are TechCrunch’s picks for the 7 most promising companies from the batch, plus an honorable mention. Here’s our write-up of all 59 startups that launched at YC W’16 on day two, plus our 8 favoritesAdditional reporting by Greg Kumparak and Megan Rose Dickey.


Gecko Robotics – Safety inspection robots

U.S. power plants spend $15 billion a year doing safety inspections of their industrial infrastructure. But these inspections can take seven days, with plants losing $1 million a day in business, and they’re dangerous. Gecko Robotics has designed its own safety inspection robot that can climb walls and do dangerous jobs fast and cheap. For $50,000 to $100,000, it can do a 7-day inspection in just a single day, while collecting more data and not putting lives at risk.


Nurx – Instant access to birth control

Getting birth control can be quite difficult — you have to get to a doctor and be comfortable speaking about. With Nurx, you pick a birth control and one of their physicians immediately writes the prescription. The startup ships it directly without you having to visit a doctor in person. It’s free with insurance or just $15 without, and they ship you 3 months-worth a time for your convenience


Cover – Get insurance by taking a photo

Signing up for insurance can be a hassle, but with Cover, you just take a photo of your car, home, pet, jewelry, speedboat or race horses. Right now, Cover farms out these leads to other insurance companies and is collecting $190,000 per month in referrals fees. But next it’s getting licensed to sell insurance directly so it can keep all the commissions, which amount to a $22 billion per year market in the U.S.

4/8 – Behavior-based security

Passwords are easily stolen, but it’s hard for hackers and bots to replicate a real user’s behavior pattern. Castle tracks the behavior of users on its clients’ websites and apps, and can revoke access from those who are acting suspicious. For example, on an e-commerce site, real users might browse several items before adding something to their cart and checking out. But a hacker would add a ton of items and instantly try to check out, but Castle could block them. Castle now has 150 deployments, protects 400,000 users and is growing 35 percent each week.


CareSkore – CRM for hospital follow-ups

The Affordable Care Act forces hospitals to pay when their lack of follow-up care leads to preventable readmission of patients. CareSkore’s system helps hospitals make follow-up calls to the right patients at the right time and asks them the right questions to catch complications before they spiral into expensive health problems. CareSkore found the hospitals it demoed with saw a 42% reduction in readmissions and it sells its CRM product for $500,000 per year per hospital.


WorldCover – Crop insurance

500 million farmers around the world are at the whimsy of the weather; if it doesn’t rain, their crops don’t grow and they don’t make money. WorldCover insures farmers in developing countries. They use satellites to measure rain fall, and pay out automatically based on the rain data.


Skymind — Open source deep learning software

Skymind builds an open source deep learning engine for enterprise Hadoop users, providing AI-driven solutions for things like fraud detection, product recommendations, and facial recognition. They’ve built Deeplearning4J, a set of deep-learning algorithms for Java developers. It’s already wildly popula, and could help every company access the benefits of artificial intelligence


Honorable Mention: Chatfuel – Chatbot platform

Chatfuel lets businesses engage with audiences directly by helping them build automated chatbots for WhatsApp, Slack, Telegram, Kik, Facebook Messenger and more platforms. Over 130,000 bots have been created on the Chatfuel platform, including ones for TechCrunch and Forbes. They can help companies distribute content, collect information, or sell products.
Read more about Chatfuel on TechCrunch.