Research: How Y Combinator Graduates Hack the Website Traffic Growth

An analysis of how Y Combinator Graduates hack the website traffic growth. It will be interesting to see what effect, if any, these strategies have on their conversion rates and revenue.

Y Combinator Graduates Hack the Website Traffic Growth is a research paper written by John Green and Paul Graham. The paper discusses how Y Combinator graduates hack the website traffic growth with their product.

There’s only one thing worse than investing in a bad startup: not investing in a firm that goes on to be a huge success. The amount of requests received by venture capital and private equity funds considerably surpasses what any investment company can process, thus reviewing each and every application is not a possibility. Furthermore, in order to succeed in this field, an investor must move swiftly, reaching out to the business before pursuing money.

The evaluation of a prospective investee’s website traffic is a standard approach of grading them. To learn more about the possibilities of this kind of study, we looked at 133 firms that graduated from Y Combinator in March 2018, followed their progress over the course of a year, and assessed the important aspects of their marketing and funding success.

Who We Investigated

Y Combinator is a seed-stage startup incubator that is one of the most competitive in the world. Y Combinator graduates two batches of entrepreneurs per year and invests $150,000 in each for a 7% ownership stake.

The winter cohort of Y Combinator-funded participants presented their startups to a room full of carefully chosen investors and reporters on the 18th and 19th of March 2018. A total of 133 businesses got funding.

In the months that followed, several graduates were able to acquire additional funds from various sources. Some businesses have been able to expand their internet presence to the point where they are now visited hundreds of thousands of times every month.

The list included both B2B and B2C businesses. We didn’t limit them by industry or product type on purpose, since we wanted to emphasize that specialized firms, like general businesses, may apply innovative approaches and create big volumes of web traffic, which was the major factor for our ranking.

We identified the 20 firms with the greatest growth potential among the 133 graduates.

We entered all 133 companies’ site URLs into the SEMrush Traffic Analytics API and gathered statistics on their monthly traffic for the last 15 months. The product’s features may be found here. Then, in January, February, and March 2019, we looked at the quantity of traffic that the same domains got to create a list of the top 20 organizations that garnered the most visitors.

Find out how much traffic a startup’s website receives.

with the help of SEMrush’s Traffic Analytics

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Investors may look at the growth characteristics of a website’s visitor volume as well as the absolute statistics. The goal is to find a firm that can create a lot of buzz and then turn that into a tangible advantage. Significant website traffic may reveal the following:

1. Product-Market Alignment

The organization was able to understand the demands of its clients and provide a product that they like.

2. Marketing Expertise

The organization understands its consumers and employs the right channels to attract and keep them.

3. Achieving Sales Excellence

The business established a partner network to promote traffic and revenue.

4. Cohesion of the team

It is not just the project that is valued, but also the team. The prior experience of a startup’s founders is almost always known, allowing for early predictions about the likelihood of success of their new venture. A closer look at the company’s online performance, on the other hand, might disclose the potential for — or lack of — team cohesiveness.

This information will be useful during the market overview as well as due diligence. Once the big picture is clear, an investor may focus on traffic sources, correlating direct traffic with the target demographic and calculating the prospects of monetizing search traffic.

The website traffic data available with the help of SEMrush’s Traffic Analytics API can be used throughout the investment cycle.

During the sourcing phase

To identify firms that are experiencing exponential growth before they start knocking on investors’ doors to close the next round.

At the Stage of Scoring

To concurrently review and score hundreds of businesses, saving time and money for investors while also prioritizing investment applications.

During the tracking phase

To keep a watch on the investment portfolio, track the ups and downs of the firms, and know when to act.

During the Stage of Negotiation

SEMrush Traffic Analytics historical data can be used in negotiations during rounds, M&A, and buyouts in order to maximize the profit from the deal.

With this study, we want to attract attention to the most promising Y Combinator grads so that venture capitalists would consider them in the next funding round.

(Based on the quantity of visitors to desktop and mobile websites)

Please keep in mind that the statistics in the study are rounded. As previously said, it is the growth dynamics (percent) that are most important.

The numbers given in the research are estimations originally collected with the help of SEMrush’s Traffic Analytics API. The figures may differ from those available with Google Analytics as only the website owner has access to it.

Apart from the Y Combinator seed round, we’ve highlighted the firms that haven’t received any funding. As you can see, three out of four situations show a link between investment success and website performance.


Evaluate your options more quickly.

Discover any startup’s potential with the help of SEMrush’s Traffic Analytics

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Find out how much traffic a company’s website receives.

with the help of SEMrush’s Traffic Analytics

ADS illustration was the most recent Y Combinator graduate, graduating in March 2018. Their website garnered 4.1 million views in March 2019, representing a 47 percent increase a year after the investments. Growth was 4.8 percent on a month-over-month basis.

The company’s site traffic increased by 2.4 times between September 2018 and September 2019, owing mostly to organic search. Non-branded web traffic accounted for 86 percent of total traffic, indicating that individuals find using search keywords that aren’t directly linked to the firm; this is a positive indicator that the company engages in learning about its consumers and improving its website for their requirements. It will help the firm save money on advertising in the long run. For example, it is anticipated that the firm would need to spend over $200,000 on Google Ads to generate the same level of visitors as it did in March. earned $120,000 from Y Combinator in January 2018 and $4.5 million from a private investor in October 2018, according to Crunchbase.

In March 2019, Substack had 1.3 million visitors. On average, growth was 782.84 percent a year following the Y Combinator funding, or 25.92 percent each month. has been slowly increasing since January 2018, gaining 25-50K users each month, but in January 2019, the startup’s online traffic surged. Due to a surge in social and referral traffic, the firm quadrupled its website visits in three months, reaching 1.3 million in March 2019.

Since the company’s inception, social media has accounted for at least 30% of total website traffic every month; this is the largest social media contribution among all Y Combinator 2018 grads.

Substack earned $120,000 from Y Combinator in January 2018 and $2 million from several investors in April 2019, according to Crunchbase.

In March 2019, the Players’ Lounge received 922K visitors. After the Y Combinator funding, visitation increased by +84 percent in a year, or +8% on average per month.

In March 2018, the firm passed the half-million-visit mark, with a 3X increase in site traffic. It more than increased since then, reaching a million visitors in March 2019. In January 2019, the firm started investing in Google Ads, however sponsored traffic never topped 3% of overall site traffic.

Surprisingly, between July and December 2018, the volume of direct traffic declined by nearly three times, but then rebounded to the same level over the following three months.


The seasonality of the selected company might have produced such a drop. If this is the case, other businesses in the same or adjacent fields should see a similar drop in visitor volume. We looked at three of Players’ Lounge’s rivals in the US market, but none of them had the same drop.

1636653576_500_Research-How-Y-Combinator-Graduates-Hack-the-Website-Traffic-GrowthWorldGaming’s website traffic dynamics

During the same time period, WorldGaming had no noticeable decreases in traffic – in fact, the firm managed to increase the number of website views.

1636653577_551_Research-How-Y-Combinator-Graduates-Hack-the-Website-Traffic-GrowthXY Gaming’s website traffic dynamics

XY Gaming saw a traffic volume drop during the regular August 2018 vacation season, rebounded quickly, but then experienced their own difficult phase.

1636653579_523_Research-How-Y-Combinator-Graduates-Hack-the-Website-Traffic-GrowthMajor League Gaming’s website traffic dynamics

Major League Gaming, like WorldGaming, had a drop in visitor flow throughout the summer months. As a result, we can’t assume that the field’s seasonal traffic decline is usual. Further investigation into the real causes behind it is required.

Players’ Lounge earned $120,000 from Y Combinator in January 2018 and $3 million from numerous investors, including Aubrey Graham (Drake), in March 2019, according to Crunchbase.

Find out which startups are the most promising.

with the help of SEMrush’s Traffic Analytics

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Even though they didn’t make the top 10, the following firms made the top 20 Y Combinator March 2018 grads. We choose to showcase these businesses as a fantastic example of how to utilize PR and SEO to build your shareware business.

A year following the investment, Look After My Bills had a 408% increase in website traffic, with a 61 percent increase month over month.

After the co-founders of Look After My Bills made their maiden appearance on Dragons’ Den, the Shark Tank counterpart of UK television, the company’s website traffic grew by a record high of 663 percent in August 2018. One of the causes for the substantial increase in traffic was due to this TV appearance.


The BBC, Mirror, The Standard, The Express, The Times, The Telegraph, The Sun, The Daily Mail, and The Bristol Post were among the outlets that covered the performance. Look After My Bills attracted 90,000 individuals to sign up for their service after all of these PR efforts, and they also boosted the number of unique visitors by 5 times and maintained the unique site traffic within a 10% fluctuation three months later.

Look Following My Bills earned £120,000 for 3% of the firm after Dragons’ Den, in addition to the $120,000 investment from Y Combinator in January 2018.

Runa HR is another example of rapid expansion. After the Y Combinator investment, they increased visitors by +984 percent in a year.

The business first invested in SEO and has had excellent returns since then. In March 2019, Runa HR had just over 300,000 hits, with 87 percent of them coming from search engines.

Runa HR’s organic traffic has been increasing since April 2018, when they received their first 15 keywords to rank in the top three of Google Search. It peaked in November 2018, with 88 keywords ranking in the top three of Google Search, resulting in over 227,000 visits and a cost of $78,000 if ads were used. As a result, Runa HR is among the most successful Y Combinator 2018 graduates in terms of organic traffic generated through SEO.’s Organic Keywords Trend

They also increased the number of backlinks in October and November 2018, which resulted in an increase in website traffic.

1636653585_619_Research-How-Y-Combinator-Graduates-Hack-the-Website-Traffic-GrowthAnalytics for’s backlinks traffic statistics

The initial investment, it seems, is no guarantee of a startup’s success. However, how a corporation spends this money may set the tone for their whole business path. For online-based companies, website traffic growth will naturally result from the coordinated effort of marketing and sales teams, competent management, and the capacity to meet market demands; hence, it may serve as a reliable sign of a company’s skill and potential to provide more value.

Follow These Startups and Evaluate Your Potential Investees, Investors

All of the statistics we looked at in the study are included in the SEMrush Traffic Analytics subscription. Similarly, you may examine any other company’s online performance and use this information to make a well-informed investment choice.

Another alternative is to utilize this pre-made list of successful businesses as a starting point for your next round of funding.

Apply Growth Hacking Techniques to Your Startup

The fastest-growing businesses are a great model to follow. Consider some of the boosting strategies employed by Y Combinator alumni if you have an ambitious business. Although PR, SEO, and social media do not cost any money, they efficiently attract visitors to your website.

Alternatively, use the SEMrush Traffic Analytics tool to evaluate the same metrics we used in our analysis on your nearest rivals. The dynamics of website traffic growth, the performance of traffic sources, geo-distribution, and the desktop / mobile ratio may all aid you in determining the best promotional scenarios for your industry.

Due diligence on a company’s web presence was formerly difficult. It’s now just a question of purchasing a SEMrush Traffic Analytics membership. Try out all of the features via the UI or using the API.

Find out how much traffic a startup’s website receives.

Research your opportunities with the help of SEMrush’s Traffic Analytics

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The “semrush case study” is a research that shows how Y Combinator graduates hacked the website traffic growth. The article also includes a list of websites and their top 3 keywords.

Related Tags

  • ycombinator growth team
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  • ycombinator product market fit
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  • growth team metrics

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