Bluesmart (YC W15) Raises $2 Million For Its Self-Tracking Suitcase

Excited to welcome the BlueSmart team to the YC W15 batch:

“Imagine a world where you never lose your luggage,” says CEO of BlueSmart, Diego Saez-Gil. He motions to a compact carry-on suitcase sitting beside us and tells me he can track this piece of luggage anywhere.

Saez-Gil’s Y Combinator-backed startup makes these hardshell suitcases. It can locate, lock and weigh your belongings from an app on your smartphone.

It operates on a detachable, Bluetooth-enabled motherboard with a built-in GPS. Weight sensors embedded within the handle let you know if your suitcase meets International travel guidelines. There’s even a built-in 37 Watts lithium-ion battery and a USB plug so you can power your smartphone up to 6 times while on the go." 

Read the full story on TechCrunch

Pre-order a BlueSmart here

YC-Backed Pomello (YC W15) Helps Teams Determine Whether Job Applicants Will Fit In

"Y Combinator-backed Pomello wants to push recruiting to be more about getting new employees who will get along with the rest of the team rather than pushing fancy perks and competing on pay.

At least, that line of thinking is what got co-founders Catherine Spence and Oliver Staehelin talking while they were at Stanford Business School. With backgrounds in product management and recruiting, respectively, they each had thoughts on how the process of recruiting could be approached from a different angle.

They started meeting weekly, and had already signed up First Republic Bank as a customer before they finished their minimum viable product in December 2013. With feedback from the bank and other early testers, the team (which by then included Google/Microsoft alum Xian Ke) launched Pomello in its current form last September."

Read the full story on TechCrunch

Pachyderm (YC W15) Launches Out Of YC To Be The Data Processing Tool For The Docker Generation

"If you’ve collected a large amount of data that you want to analyze, the go-to method for years has been to follow a programming paradigm called MapReduce, typically using Apache’s Hadoop framework. It’s a tried and true process, but it isn’t simple: Hadoop, which is mostly written in Java, has a reputation for being difficult.

Companies that want to get serious about data analysis often have to hire elite programmers who specialize in writing Hadoop MapReduce jobs. Or, they could contract a third-party company such as Cloudera to facilitate this kind of analysis. Neither of these options are an easy or inexpensive undertaking. This all means that early stage companies or projects often just don’t have the resources or know-how to take advantage of “big data.”

Pachyderm is a new startup launching out of the Winter 2015 class of Y Combinator that aims to make big data analysis much simpler and accessible. Claiming to provide the power of MapReduce without the complexity of Hadoop, Pachyderm is an open source tool that purports to enable programmers to run analysis of large amounts of data without writing a line of Java or knowing a thing about how MapReduce works."

Read the full story on TechCrunch

YC Digest - 1/16-1/22

Top Stories from the YC World - 1/16/15-1/22/15

YC W15 Prototype Day

Demo Days - Two Demo Days for YC W15  




Launches


Essays

The Ronco Principle by Paul Graham 

Fundraising




Tule (YC S14) Is A Crop-Hydration Sensor For The Tech-Savvy Farmer

"Thanks to several technological improvements over the last century, life for farmers is much easier than it used to be. But managing water consumption and distribution on farms is still a fairly manual process. Farmers have traditionally hired farm hands to drive through acres of fields and manually check the health of their crops and wetness of the soil.

Y Combinator-backed Tule (pronounced too-lee) aims to simplify the process with a device that senses plant moisture from a large area of land. It works by measuring something called evapotranspiration, or the amount of moisture released by plants into the air. The sensors collect data from the evapotranspiration and then send it to the site’s servers...

The sensors could also possibly help prepare farmers for the future of global food production. There will be an estimated 9 billion people in the world in the next 35 years. A Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations forecast predicts farmers will need to increase production by 60 percent to meet demands. Shapland says his sensors could increase yield by 30 percent if farmers get the irrigation just right." 
Read the full story on TechCrunch

Demo Days

There are 114 companies in the current YC batch.  We’ve grown too big for them to all present on one day.

So, for the first time, we are going to have two Demo Days, March 23 and 24.  We’re also going to break the companies into categories—biotech, enterprise, consumer, etc—so that investors can focus on what they’re interested in.

We expect that most attendees will attend both days, but if for some reason you can’t, we’ll have option to register for just one day.  Also, videos of the presentations from both days will be available to approved invitees for one week.

You can request an invitation here: http://ycombinator.com/demoday.

VetPronto (YC W15) Brings Veterinary House Calls To San Francisco

"A new company looking to make it more convenient for pet owners to see their local veterinarian, VetPronto, is now live in San Francisco. A member of the Y Combinator Winter 2015 class, VetPronto is offering on-demand house call veterinary services for dogs and cats, allowing customers to skip a visit to the clinic or just see a vet at a more convenient time – like on evenings and weekends, for example.

The company was founded last spring by Brian Hur, Joe Waltman, and Soren Berg, the latter two who previously sold their email marketing company to Twitter. Meanwhile, Hur is a former Microsoft systems engineer-now-turned-vet.

Hur explains, “once I got into the veterinary industry, I noticed there were a lot of gaps in technology all the way through. And since getting out and practicing medicine, I’ve really focused on bridging those gaps and making sure that veterinary medicine can be upgraded for the dot-com era,” he says."

YC Digest - 1/9-1/15

Top Stories from the YC World - 1/9/15-1/15/15
How One Founder's Wedding Day Call Led To Millions In Funding From A Top VC - Vidyard (YC S11)

Giddiness, Terror, Cornbread: Here's What a Y Combinator Dinner Is Really Like

YC Demographics

This Company Will Let You Try Out a Box of Fitness Trackers At Home, Warby Parker-Style - Lumoid (YC S13)

Launches

Essays
Don't Talk to Corp Dev by Paul Graham


Fundraising


Underground Cellar (YC W15) Is A Wine-Buying Site That Rewards You With “Better” Bottles For Free

"While the Internet is not lacking in places to buy wines online, a new Y Combinator-backed startup called Underground Cellar has come up with an interesting new concept for wine sales, where its customers are able purchase package deals that include random, free upgrades to premium, rare, and private-stash bottles from a number of wineries. These wines can then be shipped immediately to the consumer, or they can stored in Underground Cellar’s own climate and temperature-controlled wine cellar for on-demand shipping...

For consumers, the draw is that you’re able to access expensive, premium wines without having to pay the higher pricing, but for the wineries themselves, being promoted as an “upgrade” allows them to protect their brand image and current pricing structure."

Read the full story on TechCrunch

YC Demographics

We want to be sure we’re not discriminating against founders in our funding decisions at YC, so we decided to look at some data.

Based on analyzing a random sample of 5% of YC winter 2015 applicants, 11.8% of the founders who applied were women and around 3% percent of the founders were either Black or Hispanic.

Of the founders we funded in our most recent batch, 11.1% of the founders are women (about 23% of the startups have one or more female founders), 3.7% of the founders are Hispanic, and 4% of the founders are Black. 

The good news is that there is no disadvantage to applying to YC as a female or minority founder.  The bad news, of course, is that applicant percentages are low relative to the entire population. 

We believe the ecosystem can support a lot more startups from many different backgrounds; this will not be a zero-sum game.  We will continue and strengthen our outreach efforts. As more good people start startups and apply to YC, more startups will get funded.