Columbia startup Zapier launches publicly, moves to California

Jun 20, 2012

The Columbia based tech company Zapier is less than one year old but it’s already caught the attention of Silicon Valley.

Co-founder Wade Foster says Zapier is a web app that ties together services from other web apps:

 “And what that really means is you can basically take data from those web apps that you’re already using, and push them to something else.  If you want to get notifications on your phone when someone buys something from you on paypal, you can probably do that.  It’s super easy for anyone, I think my mom could probably set it up.”

In late April, Zapier was accepted into the Y Combinator (though that information was just made public today).  It’s been called Silicon Valley’s most prestigious startup incubator.  It brings the founders to Northern California and provides them with seed capital, mentorship, connections and eventually, a chance at real venture capital funding.  

Many well-known and profitable companies have gone through the 3 month program.  Dropbox, AirBnb and are all alumni.  According to a report in Forbes this April, the average value of a company that has passed through Y Combinator is over $45 million dollars.

Foster says while Columbia was a great place to get his start, he had concerns about the future of his company here.

“The talent pool, while the people that are there are really good, it’s just small, you know.  When it comes to scaling, if we had to hire like 10 web developers who are at least familiar with our stack, it would be a challenge for us.” 

Some may remember that Zapier was the winner of 2011's Startup Weekend, Columbia's annual contest for entrepreneurial pitches. 

Foster isn’t sure if they’ll stay in California or bring the operation back home once the Summer program ends.  He says he’ll be making his decision based on what’s best for the company.