Tracks.by (YC S12) Team Morphs Its Music Discovery Site, Hipset, Into A YouTube Network For Celebrities

Last summer, the guys from Tracks.by launched Hipset as a discovery site for music aficionados. The idea was to provide a place for music fans to keep track of all the latest jams from their favorite artists. And, in turn, to provide a new marketing channel for celebrities to promote their music and to get fans to sign up and like their Facebook pages and posts and whatnot.

The team is still working on Hipset, but over the last several months they’ve morphed it into something totally new. That is, they’ve made it into a YouTube network for musicians and celebrities, providing them a way to reach new audiences, as well as promote and monetize their videos.

The new YouTube network follows the lead of those which have come before it, aggregating various channels of video creators and finding new ways to manage those channels at scale. In that way, it’s not all that different from what the folks at Machinima or Maker Studios are doing. Except, of course, that Hipset is designed for, and is made up of, a whole bunch of celebrities, whom the team has been working with over the last several years.

Today, Hipset has about a dozen different celebrities signed up for the network, including folks like Tyga, Souljaboy, Lil Twist, Daughtry, 3 Doors Down, Rob Zombie, Kraddy, Kris Allen, DJ Skee, Tory Lanez, and Ryan Leslie. Together, they have more than a billion video views, more than a million subscribers, and more than 35 million fans across other social networks, like Facebook and Twitter.

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TapIn.TV (YC S12) evolves into Framebase, making building products that use video much easier

Sometimes, the business you should be building is hidden beneath the one you already are.

Back in early 2012, four friends set out to build TapIn.TV. As one of many competitors in the crowded live mobile video broadcasting space, TapIn.TV focused almost entirely on video. After months of development, they noticed something rather troubling: building video stuff — the uploading, the recording, the playback — is too damned hard. So they’re setting out to fix it.

Over the past few months, the company (part of Y-Combinator’s Summer 2012 class) has quietly been changing directions. What was once TapIn.TV is now Framebase, an infrastructure service meant to make adding video functionality to a project a matter of dropping in a few lines of code.

Read the full article on Techcrunch

Draft (YC S11) launches a clean, modern word processor with built in editing services

The to-do list has gotten Asana, the calendar has gotten Fantastical, and the inbox has gotten Mailbox, but nobody has made a word processor for this decade.

Until Draft, which is launching today to solve major problems with Google Docs … in ways that make me nostalgic for my own startup, WriteWith.

Draft offers clean saves of drafts instead of the usual autosave jumble, clear version control between multiple users, easy importing from popular file services like Dropbox and Evernote, and something pretty unique — an editing service.

Built by one-man Y Combinator team Nathan Kontny (previously the cofounder of Inkling and Cityposh), the web app puts solo writing first. Its interface makes a point of looking nice, with the words you write appearing in large, plain-text font on a light-gray background.

Read the full article on Techcrunch and Lifehacker

Watsi (YC W13) profiled in The Next Web: YC's first startup non-profit

This is the story of Watsi a non-profit that found itself in the care of a startup accelerator called Y Combinator (YC). YC normally works with for-profit companies focused on technology innovation, and has generated successful businesses worth billions of dollars. A startup accelerator backing a non-profit can be compared to the unlikely scenario of a tiger raising a bunny.

Read the full article on TNW

Arram Sabeti, founder of ZeroCater (YC W11), on getting his start in the Valley

Five years ago I moved to the Bay Area because I wanted to start a company. I came here armed with that single goal and the education of a dozen Paul Graham essays. To me, determination has an almost magical quality. I’d always felt that with enough of it I could do absolutely anything.

People say startups are risky, but for me, working at a job my entire life seemed like the worst possible outcome, so starting a company was the least risky thing I could do. I think that’s what people mean when they talk about founders being a little crazy. I realize this is an unusual personality trait.

To fund my adventure, I sold my car and bummed a ride to the Bay Area. I spent two days on the Berkeley public library computers looking for a place to live. I convinced a retired dentist to give me the keys to a cheap studio in El Cerrito before he’d seen any money or even gotten my signature on a lease. Looking for my apprenticeship, I started applying to startup jobs.

It turned out that 21-year-olds with no degree or marketable skills weren’t in great demand. As luck would have it, a paper I picked up told me it was the worst summer for jobs in a decade. Eventually my cash ran so low that I walked to downtown Berkeley and went into every business with an open door asking for job applications. Even there the response was abysmal. A week later I had exactly one offer. It was from Ben & Jerry’s, which I accepted.

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StoryWorth (YC W11) launches to record and elicit family stories

“Mobile-first” startups geared for savvy smartphone users are all the rage these days. But here is an “email-first” startup aimed at older people who don’t necessarily care about technology.

And if it works, it might have the most emotional resonance of anything out there.

StoryWorth aims to create archives of personal stories told between generations. The premise starts with the question, “How well do you know your parents?”

And the answer, for nearly everyone, is: I could know them better. For people with elderly parents, that’s all the more acute.

Read more on AllThingsD.com

AeroFS (YC S10) now launches to the public: Build your own Dropbox and sync files to infrastructure you own yourself

If you want access to the best features of Dropbox or one of its many competitors—automated file syncing between computers, a way to automatically keep old versions of your synced files, etc.—but you don't want to keep your stuff in someone else's cloud, AeroFS is a promising service. It can provide file syncing for many clients using your own local server (or, for businesses, Amazon S3 storage that you have more direct control over). When we last wrote about the service, it was still in an invite-only beta, but a message that went out to users last night declared that this beta is over and that the service is now open to anyone.

Read more at Ars Technica

Visit AeroFS to try it now

Close.io (YC W11) Raises Funding From SV Angel, Spark Capital To Improve Communication For Salespeople

Y Combinator Close.io, a startup that aims to improve communication and customer management for sales people, has raised a round of funding from Bebo co-founder Michael Birch, SV Angel, Spark Capital and David Tisch.

Close.io was born from ElasticSales, a sales-as-a-service platform that provides both software and manpower that lets startups outsource their sales functions on demand. ElasticSales pivoted from SwipeGood last year. Elastic actually developed Close.io in-house to increase the performance of their sales people. But as co-founder and CEO Steli Efti explains, the startup saw a potential in marketing and developing their “secret sauce” for clients.

Read the full article on Techcrunch

Payments Startup Balanced (YC W11) Raises More Money From Andreessen Horowitz, CollabFund, And Others

Y Combinator-backed payments startup Balancedhas closed out a total $3.4 million seed round, thanks to the addition of $2 million in new funding from investors such as Andreessen Horowitz, CollabFund, and a bunch of angels.

The funding is somewhat strategic, as the startup is looking to help leverage the expertise of the investors involved to help grow its payments business for peer-to-peer marketplaces. On the Andreessen side, for instance, the funding was led by general partner and former PayPal president Jeff Jordan. And investment via CollabFund could help it to get in front of other companies that are part of that firm’s portfolio.

That’s important, because Balanced was built to help marketplace companies like TheFancy, Kitchit, CrowdTilt, Copious, and Zaarly manage payments between two different sets of users. On the one hand there are buyers, for whom Balanced provides white-label payment processing. And on the other hand there are sellers or service providers that marketplaces need to make payouts to. In between there are various rules and regulations that Balanced needs to keep track of, and the company provides services like fraud prevention and holding funds in escrow while waiting for goods or services to be delivered.

Read the full article on Techcrunch