Welcome Luke and Rick

We are happy to announce two new additions to the YC team.

Rick Morrison is joining us as a part-time partner.  Rick is the founder and CEO of Comprehend Systems.  Comprehend makes multi-datasource analytics and collaboration tools for the life sciences industry.  Rick will focus on advising our enterprise companies.

Luke Iseman is joining us to help our hardware companies.  He was the cofounder of Edyn from W2014, and he cofounded the boxhouse open-source shipping container home project.  Luke will be responsible for all of our hardware partnerships as well as advising hardware companies on how to get their prototypes and products built.

Welcome, Luke and Rick!

New Hacker News Guideline

The HN team members are some of the most thoughtful people about online communities I’ve ever met. So I’m always excited when they have a new idea to try.

This idea is simple. We’re updating the guidelines to add: "Avoid gratuitous negativity."

Critical thinking is good; shallow cynicism, on the other hand, adds nothing of value to the community. It is unpleasant to read and detracts from actual work. If you have something important but negative to say, that's fine, but say it in a respectful way. 

Negativity isn't the problem--gratuitous negativity is. By that we mean negativity that adds nothing of substance to a comment. This includes all forms of meanness.

Sharp readers may point out that the HN guidelines have always excluded those things. That's true. But it's still enough of a problem in HN threads that this is a clarification worth making. We tried it out last year when we released special guidelines for Show HNs. It worked well there, so we're extending it to the whole site.

New work and new ideas are fragile. Too much gratuitous negativity might be the difference between someone giving up on a crazy idea and building the next Airbnb. Obviously, we want Hacker News to help startups and people doing new work, not hurt them. Building stuff is hard, and you'll always need a thick skin. But we see no need for Hacker News to make the problem worse.
 
The human trait of being unhappy with other people's success is something we’ve all felt and should all try to avoid. Similarly for piling on to others' mistakes. These things feel good in the moment, but they're harmful and lazy. HN is a community of smart people. Let's all apply our smartness to *not* being like that, and see what new and interesting things emerge.
 
How are we going to enforce this? By asking the community to do so. Gentle reminders by peers are the best way we know to make the culture better.
 
HN can never be all things to all people. If you want to be relentlessly negative on the internet, there are other places you can go to do that.
 
I’m excited about this change; the increase in gratuitous negativity as Hacker News has gotten bigger is the thing I’ve liked the least.
 
To support this, Daniel and the HN team are working on another new idea I'm very excited about--code-named "Modnesty"--to turn more moderation power over to the community. We'll be sharing more on that in the coming months.

YC Digest - 3/27-4/2

YC W15 at their last dinner (Photo credit: Pretty Instant)

Top Stories from the YC World - March 27-April 2, 2015
What Happens After Y Combinator: The Marathon After the Sprint (Fast Company)

Launches

Essays
The Magic Thread by Geoff Ralston

Neverfrost (YC S14) Wants To Kill Windshield Frost And Keep Rocks From Ruining Your Day

Neverfrost, a company that's been operating in stealth since the Summer 2014 batch, announced their product today in TechCrunch: 

"Neverfrost, a YC-backed company that has been working away quietly up in Waterloo for the past few years, wants to beef up your windshield’s ability to handle the stray rocks that may come its way — and while they’re at it, they want to end windshield frosting and help drivers save fuel by keeping their car’s interior cooler."

Read the full story in TechCrunch

YC Digest - March 20-26, 2015

Hello from the YC Team at Demo Day (photo credit: April Buchheit)

Top Stories from the YC World - March 20-26, 2015
The deadline to apply to YC S15 is tonight at 8pm PT!

Here Are The Companies That Presented At Y Combinator Demo Day 1 - TechCrunch

47 Startups That Launched At Y Combinator Winter 2015 Demo Day 2 - TechCrunch

Ebola Drugs, Prison Inmates, Real, Live Rockets: Y Combinator's New Launchpad - Fast Company

I Am Sam Altman, President of Y Combinator. AMA - Hacker News

Sam Altman: Why Hardware Could Yield the Next $10 Billion Startups - WSJ 

How Platzi (YC W15) bootstrapped its way into Y Combinator to build the future of education - TNW

A Look Inside Transcriptic’s (YC W15) New Biotech Testing Facility - TechCrunch

Launches
YC S14: Nightingale Launches Its Support Platform For Autism Therapy

YC W15: Pigeon.ly, A Startup Focused On Serving The U.S. Prison Population, Joins Y Combinator






YC W15: SmartHires Helps Startups Find Tech Talent Within The Same Investment Portfolio

YC W15: GiveMeTap Offers Free Water And Footfall Data For Stores, And It Helps Africa

YC W15: Introducing Priime - a new way to edit photos on your iPhone

YC W15: Kickpay Is A Marketplace For Invoices That Helps SMEs Get Paid Quickly

YC S14: uBiome Is Now Doing An Indiegogo Campaign To Check Out Dental Bacteria

YC W15: SlideMail Is An Intelligent Email App For The Rest Of Us 

Pigeon.ly (YC W15), A Startup Focused On Serving The U.S. Prison Population, Joins Y Combinator

YC welcomes Pigeon.ly to the Winter 2015 batch. Pigeon.ly is building a profitable new category of services for the 20M ppl with family in prison. Read more about Pigeon.ly on TechCrunch:

"Hutson says that 1 percent of the U.S. population has a loved one who is in prison, given the scale of the U.S. mass incarceration system. He estimates it’s a $2 billion market. If you look at competitors, Securus sold to a private equity firm in 2013 for about a half-billion dollars while JPay told CNBC it had $50 million in revenues last year.

While Pigeon.ly is definitely farther along in terms of product and growth than some of its peers in the YC program, Hutson said it was valuable to join the program anyway. YC partner Michael Seibel, who co-founded SocialCam and Justin.tv, heavily recruited Hutson and has been a big advocate for diversifying each batch of companies.

'Being a minority founder building a company, Y Combinator can help. You need to have the right affiliations. You need to be in the right circles. We looked at this as an opportunity to get access to investors and talent.'"


Listen to Planet Money's episode on Pigeon.ly: Episode 610 The Prisoner's Solution

    SmartSpot's Tale (YC W15): From A Farm In Egypt To Building A YC Computer Vision Startup For Fitness

    SmartSpot is launching out of the Winter 2015 batch of YC. SmartSpot makes a smart mirror for gyms that tracks your form as you work out and provides live correction. They help people improve their exercise form and prevent injury.

    The vast majority of gym-goers don’t know how to exercise properly and safely. Many quit after only a month because they don’t see improvement. Although personal training is one solution, at $80 an hour or more, personal trainers are out of reach for most people. SmartSpot's founders believe that personal training should be something anyone can afford.

    They have launched in 3 gyms in San Francisco where they've worked closely with early users to make a product that can become part of a routine for people with a variety of fitness goals.

    SmartSpot is founded by Moawia Eldeeb and Josh Augustin. 

    Read more about SmartSpot's story on TechCrunch:

    "Moawia Eldeeb grew up with his family on a village farm bordering the Nile, growing rice in the summers and vegetables in the winters. It was the way things had been for years, decades even.

    But when Eldeeb’s brother was born with a rare genetic condition called ectodermal dysplasia, everything changed immediately. Because of the condition, Eldeeb’s infant brother couldn’t sweat. And given Egypt’s humid climate, this meant a certain and swift death.

    His father, who had been applying every year for a green card for the past 15 years, fortunately had won one in the lottery. Roughly two weeks after Eldeeb’s brother was born, they left everything they had ever known behind.

    Cribspot (YC W15) Helps University Students Find Rentals In Time For School To Start

    Cribspot launches out of the Winter 2015 batch of YC:  

    "Finding a decent apartment can be tough, which is why we’ve seen a recent increase in the number of startups that are aiming to serve a woefully underserved market. But finding an apartment when you’re a college student can be even tougher. Aimed squarely at the university market, a Y Combinator-backed startup called Cribspot hopes to alleviate at least some of the pain associated with finding rentals and sublets.

    Compared to the broader housing market, college rentals are unique in that many units are booked a semester or more in advance. Furthermore, even when listings are available, they can typically only be found on campus bulletin boards or by walking around a college town and looking for “for rent” signs. All of that can make it difficult for students to find housing, especially on short notice.

    Cribspot hopes to change that, by creating the most comprehensive search engine for apartments on or near university campuses. It’s doing that by collecting rental information from thousands of different sources and working directly with landlords who don’t have websites or other ways to find out about their apartments." 

    Read the full story on TechCrunch

    Razorpay (YC W15) Offers Stripe-Style Payments Focused Squarely On Indian E-Commerce Plays

    Razorpay launches out of the Winter 2015 batch of YC:

    "The rise of companies like FlipkartSnapdeal and Ola have put a spotlight on the e-commerce opportunity in India, where the growth of catchy businesses is being fuelled by consumer demand, improving Internet connectivity and generous VC funding. Now, a new startup called Razorpay — part of the current Y Combinator class — is hoping to ride that trend, by giving more startups and larger tech companies in the country the ability to make it easier to integrate payments into their services.

    Razorpay is not unlike Stripe — a YC alum itself — in that it provides a very simple interface and gateway for businesses that want to take payments for goods or services online. Using Razorpay’s APIs, a company can add payments with a few lines of code, and consumers can then pay using a credit card, a debit card or net-banking (online bank transfers, one popular payment option in India). What makes Razorpay special, however, is that it’s made by an Indian team and specifically for businesses that operate in India."

    Read the full story on TechCrunch