Ruby on Rails most popular among top Y Combinator companies

Y Combinator, an accomplished investment fund and startup incubator, has published a list of its top 100 graduate companies ranked by valuation as of October 2019. 8 out of 10 most valued companies in the ranking were built using Ruby on Rails.

Among the top 10 companies on the list such as Stripe, Airbnb, Dropbox, 8 use Ruby on Rails as their backend framework. In the top 10 only 2 non-software companies opted for another framework. Only one is based outside San Francisco. React is the most popular Javascript framework among those top companies by far. Hacker News commenters agree that Ruby on Rails is great for MVP development, quick iterations and scaling.

#NameURLBackendJS FrameworkSectorJobs createdYC batchHQ
1Stripestripe.comRuby on RailsFinancial Technology and Services2000S09San Francisco, CA
2Airbnbairbnb.comRuby on RailsReactConsumer Goods and Services6000W09San Francisco, CA
3Cruisegetcruise.comGo, node.js, Python, Scala, Java, C++Gatsby 2.3.5, React, TweenMax 2.1.2Automotive1500W14San Francisco, CA
4DoorDashdoordash.comRuby on RailsConsumer Goods and Services1800S13San Francisco, CA
5Coinbasecoinbase.comRuby on RailsReact 5Financial Technology and Services1000S12San Francisco, CA
6Instacartinstacart.comRuby on RailsReactConsumer Goods and Services1100S12San Francisco, CA
7Dropboxdropbox.comRuby on RailsReact 16.11.0B2B Software and Services2300S07San Francisco, CA
8Ginkgo Bioworksginkgobioworks.comPHPBiotech270S14Boston, MA
9Gustogusto.comRuby on RailsReact 16.12.0B2B Software and Services1000W12San Francisco, CA and Denver, CO
10Flexportflexport.comRuby on RailsReact 16.12.0B2B Software and Services1700W14San Francisco, CA

Some of the comments on Hacker News, the social media arm of Y Combinator, were:

  • “Rails seem like a superior environment for quickly prototyping and launching web applications, and it’s entirely possible nothing has supplanted it. My comment about future unicorns is mainly that Python might be dominant in AI or biotech focused startups, C# might be dominant in AR/VR startups, and more web applications are SPAs built mostly or entirely in JavaScript, so Ruby might have had its day [in web development] as people are building early tech in new fields.”
    • “That’s rubbish. Why should python excel here in biotech-related aspects but Ruby not? Note: I am a molecular biologist by trade who went into using Ruby primarily. I also use Python a lot.”
  • “Having worked at a few of the top ones, many of them are now investing huge $$$ to rearchitect their tech platform to Java and services. I understand that Ruby allowed them to grow fast, but I am wondering if starting with Java to begin with would have allowed them to avoid massive investment to address tech debt at the expense of growth and profitability at a late stage.”
    • “Most likely, starting with Java would have led to delivering an MVP and iterating too slowly to result in a viable business.”
    • “More technical debt comes from growing quickly (engineers, turnover, employees) and changing business assumptions, not the programming language.”
    • “You only get to have the problem of rearchitecting for scale if you’re successful. You can’t worry about that too much when you’re still trying to find product/market fit.”
    • “Now that Shopify, Github is (or going to be) taking a more hands-on approach in Rails development rather than Basecamp… which other web frameworks have this luxury of billion-dollar companies doing development and live testing for it?”
  • “People went with Ruby and Rails probably because it’s a lot of fun to finish your work. I know that I really enjoy finishing my work.”