Twice a year, Y Combinator invests in a cohort of startups from across the country and invites them to move to Silicon Valley to work on their businesses, master an investor pitch, and prepare for Demo Day and beyond. 

The selection process is rigorous, and the acceptance rate is small: fewer than 10% of companies that apply are selected for the program.

But this summer, YC is running its fourth experiment meant to serve more companies without requiring they travel to Silicon Valley to begin or grow their startups. It’s called the YC Fellowship, and three local startups are among the 60 chosen to take part. 

Y Combinator came to the Triangle earlier in the year with a joint mission to forge relationships in the region and to promote the program on university campuses. They visited Duke, NC State and UNC-Chapel Hill and met with dozens of founders and startups.

Two of the three Triangle companies in the program this summer were part of that meet and greet: FarmShots, a drone startup founded by a recent Duke grad, and Trakex, a logistics technology startup born at NC State. The third, AutoMicroFarm, is a DIY aquaponics garden founded by a full-time developer and aquaponics hobbyist in Fuquay-Varina.

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