Y Combinator now wants startups that really want to change the world. Here’s why that matters


Y Combinator turned some heads last year when it began accepting nonprofit startups into its San Francisco incubator program. Amid the Dropboxes and Hipmunks, YC startups are suddenly developing an HIV/AIDS vaccine and crowdfunding healthcare.

The incubator is going one step beyond that with its next class. A request for startups went out today that outlines 22 new areas YC is interested in, although the majority of the startups it accepts will continue to be internet- and mobile-centric. They cover everything from artificial intelligence to robotics to healthcare, categories YC describes as “breakthrough technologies.”

They are things you would not expect to find a startup doing. That’s because a decade ago they probably would have been impossible for a startup. A company from YC’s most recent class is building a fusion reactor, something once contained to well-funded government labs. Now even clever high school students can fuse nuclei in their garage.

There is…

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