Twice a year, the crème de la crème of Silicon Valley flocks to the Computer History Museum in Mountain View to listen to 100 or so startups deliver carefully curated pitches at the widely popular Y Combinator (YC) Demo Days.

To select the batches, the accelerator program reviews countless applications from various sectors and countries. According to YC partner Adora Cheung, these were some of the trends that stood out this year: artificial intelligence and machine learning (especially in health care), tools for machine learning engineers, augmented reality, cryptocurrency products, personalized consumer packaged goods (CPGs), “and also lots of biotech,” Cheung wrote, in an email to VentureBeat.

When asked whether the accelerator program is seeing an increasing number of female-led startups, Cheung replied: “Yes, but I can’t tell if the lift is just a random blip for now because it’s small. We have a lot of work to do to get to a statistically significant change.”

The accelerator program already has an annual Female Founders Conference, where female YC alumni take the stage to share their experiences and progress.

Internally, YC is also doing a great job at promoting gender equity, as one-third of its partners are women. This includes founding partner Jessica Livingston, partners Cheung, Carolynn Levy, Kat Manalac, and Kirsty Nathoo, and, more recently, Anu Hariharan, who joined the accelerator as a partner of YC Continuity, a growth fund for later-stage startups.

VentureBeat checked in with Hariharan to learn more about Continuity’s recently launched Growth Stage Program, the difficulties of raising a series A, and what investments she and partner Ali Rowghani are eyeing for 2018.

Click here for the interview at

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