Sign up for Summer YC Open Office Hours

Starting today you can sign up for June, July and August YC Open Office Hours. 

What are Open Office Hours? Learn more here

June 23: Gen­eral Open Of­fice Hours
All founders are wel­come to apply.

July 14: Black, Latino and Na­tive Amer­i­can Founders
Apply here by June 17

Au­gust 11: Fe­male Founders
Apply here by July 15

What to Ex­pect
Each com­pany who par­tic­i­pates will get 25-minute of­fice hours with a YC part­ner. You can do them in per­son at our of­fice in Moun­tain View, CA or re­motely on Skype.

Star­tups should use these of­fice hours to fig­ure out con­crete steps they can take to build their MVP (min­i­mum vi­able prod­uct), re­cruit a co-found­ing team, raise seed cap­i­tal, launch, mar­ket their prod­uct, and ac­quire their first cus­tomers. Ad­di­tion­ally, Ama­zon is gen­er­ously of­fer­ing $5k in AWS credit for all par­tic­i­pat­ing teams.

Questions? Send them to openofficehours@ycombinator.com.

Want to help us spread the word? Email kat@ycombinator.com and michael@ycombinator.com.

Meet Sam Altman in Krakow, Paris and London

YC's Sam Altman will be in Krakow, Paris and London from June 3-7.

Join him at any of the events below for a conversation about startups, technology, hard tech, YC and more.

June 3, 6PM 
Krakow Startup Community Talk at Estimote HQ
Krakusa 11 Street, Stare Podgórze, Kraków
Learn More 

June 6, 12PM
Sam Altman at TheFamily
25 rue du Petit Musc, Paris

June 7, 3PM
Fireside Chat with Sam Altman + Mosaic Ventures
Royal Institution of Great Britain, 21 Albemarle St., London
Learn More

Pluot (W16) Makes Affordable Video Conferencing Hardware That Just Works


With companies increasingly doing business across multiple cities and countries from day one, video conferencing is key. But video conferencing hardware is notoriously bulky, expensive, and designed for companies with full-time IT teams that can handle set up and management. Startups and smaller businesses are left behind, crowding around a single laptop during team meetings, investor pitches, and sales demos.

Pluot is a company that launched out of our Winter 2016 class that makes small, easy-to-set-up video conferencing hardware that just works, and that any company can afford. The company's mission is to democratize video conferencing -- to put useful, beautiful, simple video conferencing into every workplace in the world.

Setting up a Pluot takes just five minutes, and starting or joining a Pluot meeting takes ten seconds. Pluot hardware is free. Customers just pay $50/month per Pluot box, with no limit on users, minutes, or meetings.

In addition, Pluot's features leapfrog those of much more expensive options. Pluot can drive two TVs, so teams have more screen real estate to work with during meetings, and Pluot supports two simultaneous screen shares. Every Pluot connection is peer-to-peer, secure, and encrypted end-to-end. If you have a conference room, you need a Pluot

You can buy a Pluot for your conference room today at https://pluot.co/. There's no commitment, no hidden fees, and -- as a launch special -- shipping is currently free. You can also try out the web browser version of the Pluot experience any time. Visit https://pluot.co/new using Chrome. Your browser will be redirected to a new, unique, Pluot meeting URL. Copy that URL and send it to someone else. When they click on the link, they'll be able to join you in the meeting. (There's no software to download, and no sign-in to worry about or remember.)

Pluot's founders, Doug and Kwin, have known each other for 20 years, worked together for 15, and been obsessed with video conferencing and collaboration for a decade. Doug and Kwin bootstrapped Pluot by designing high-quality hardware that can be manufactured in small quantities. The company assembles Pluots in a garage in San Francisco.

HARC

We’re excited to announce YC Research’s newest project: the Human Advancement Research Community (HARC).

This came out of a conversation that started between Alan Kay and me more than a year ago about how to invent future computing technologies; I’m delighted to finally be officially working with him and his group.  He is one of the smartest people I’ve ever met.

HARC’s mission is to ensure human wisdom exceeds human power, by inventing and freely sharing ideas and technology that allow all humans to see further and understand more deeply.

The PIs at HARC wrote the following:

In our increasingly interconnected world, every individual’s actions can affect billions of others in complex and invisible ways. We believe every individual must have access to technologies that allow them to build their own understanding of the world and its systems in order to act conscientiously, responsibly, and effectively, both as individuals and in collaboration with others.

HARC researches technology in its broadest context, which includes: technology for communication (from the invention of spoken language to modern data graphics), intellectual tools (such as the scientific method and computer simulation), media (from cave painting to video games), and social systems (including democracy and public education). We are focusing on areas where we believe the structures created today will have the most impact on the future, and that can most benefit from having dedicated resources outside the for-profit world. At the moment, these areas include programming languages, interfaces, education, and virtual reality.

Our shared vision of technology combines an expansive long-term view with a strong moral sense. We look to the distant past as well as the far future. We reject the artificial boundaries created between the humanities, arts, and sciences. We don’t always agree on what is good or evil, right or wrong, but we use these words seriously and are driven by them. We seek to guide human technologies in thoughtful and ethical directions, with a deep sensitivity to the relationship between technology and the human condition, and the difference between what a piece of technology is intended to be and how it impacts humanity in reality.

In partnership with Infosys and SAP, HARC is starting with 20 of the top researchers in fields related to human learning and understanding, many of whom previously worked in SAP’s Communications Design Group. They include Principal Investigators (in alphabetical order): Vi Hart, Dan Ingalls, John Maloney, Yoshiki Ohshima, Bret Victor, and Alex Warth.  

We will share more detail about each PI’s current projects once we settle into our new roles and establish a web presence.

HARC will be chaired by Patrick Scaglia, who has spent his career leading similar long-term research initiatives. Alan Kay and Patrick will jointly contribute to the group’s strategic vision. Chris Clark will run the group operationally (along with YCR’s other groups).

The Advisory Board includes Patrick Collison, Adele Goldberg, Alan Kay, Vishal Sikka, and Tanja Rueckert.

Special thanks to Infosys, SAP, Sam, Alan, and Patrick for their generous support and hard work creating HARC, and we look forward to sharing more about our research in a few weeks.

Restocks (YC W16) Helps You Track and Buy the Most Coveted, Hard-To-Find Products

As more and more brands release products with extremely limited availability, consumers have resorted to camping out, spending hours in digital queues, or paying upwards of 400% over retail for coveted items like limited edition sneakers and apparel.

Restocks is a company that launched out of our Winter 2016 class that does all the hard work of finding he most in-demand items, with a subscription service which alerts users of the availability of popular but hard-to-find products. Restocks has created the first central place where stock information is stored and pushed out to the people who care most about it, with software that tracks 45,000 products in real time.

TechCrunch's Matthew Panzarino wrote an in-depth review of Restocks this week:

"Over the past couple of months, I’ve purchased more items through Restocks than any other mobile commerce app aside from Amazon. And I’d wager that aside from a couple of statistical outliers each of those purchases were for more money on average.

Restocks is the answer to a simple question: What if you could target the world’s most ravenous purchasers at the exact moment they’re most likely to buy some of the world’s most sought after products?

Restocks is app that drives purchasing via push notifications when highly anticipated shoes and streetwear brands (for now) release or re-stock items. It’s also cost me hundreds of dollars over the few weeks I’ve been testing it. From limited release Nike shoes to boutique brands like Supreme, Reigning Champ, Concepts and Kith — each purchase is a push notification and a couple of taps away.

Restocks is on my home screen. Amazon isn’t even home screen worthy."

Read the full article here, and check out Restocks here.

Y Sequoia Combination

Today, Y Combinator announced its intent to acquire Sequoia Capital. This deal is still pending regulatory review and a successful pitch by Sequoia managing partner Doug Leone on YC Summer 2016 Demo Day. We’re not disclosing the financial terms, but Sequoia's ownership of YC-backed companies will pass to us, so I’ll just say we're once again the largest outside shareholders in Airbnb, Dropbox, and Stripe.

Sequoia Capital has had an Incredible Journey being the leader in venture capital investing in Silicon Valley for most of the last 40 years.  They have partnered with iconic companies like Apple, Google, Yahoo, PayPal, YouTube, LinkedIn, and WhatsApp.

The acquisition will enable our firms to realize a number of operational synergies. We have a blog and Sequoia doesn’t. Sequoia’s day-long Monday partner meetings will be replaced with Tuesday night dinners. And now YC companies will automatically receive a Sequoia term sheet to negotiate better terms from other firms. Sequoia will become the new YCVC group*, where they will take a hands-on role of turning YC’s best companies into enduring franchises, which they have been doing anyway.

The combined entity will officially be called “Sequoia Combinator”, but will do business as “YC”, as brevity is very important to both organizations. The new YC logo will be changed from orange to green as it is the color of sequoia leaves and money. Sir Michael Moritz will become chairman and also return to his journalistic roots as editor of Hacker News. Sequoia will help launch YC China, YC India, and YC Israel, and YC Forestry, which will be focused on preservation of sequoia trees worldwide.

Alfred Lin from Sequoia adds “YC is a perfect match for Sequoia because YC has been such a great source of deal flow for us. We don’t have to beg to invest in them anymore.”

Justin Kan from YC adds “Sequoia has so many partners on the Midas List and we’re really looking forward to learning from real investors.”

We are so excited for the future!

 

*Sequoia LPs will have 30 days to export their data.

First Fellowship Virtual Demo Day

Congratulations to the Fellowship teams who presented at the first Fellowship Virtual Demo Day! 

Find out more about the F2 Fellowship companies here: 

Awesound - AdWords for podcasts

BillionToOne - Fetal genetic testing in India

Bulletin - Airbnb for Retail

Cerplus - B2B marketplace for surplus produce

ConnectHealth - Telemedicine and prescription delivery in Africa

Ctzen - 311 for the developing world

GTRACK Technologies - Nanoparticle tracers for fracking

HDP Health - Helping clinical trials find patients using AI

Ilium VR - Rifle controller for virtual reality

Instrumentl - Concierge service for research

Mentat - Concierge service for jobseekers

Müvr Labs - Fitbit for your knees

OMG Digital- Buzzfeed for Africa

Palaround - Tinder for private networks

Pramp - P2P practice for livecoding interviews

Queen B Robotics - Drones for virtual reality content

Rent Scene - Apartment hunters for busy people

Sage - Uber for eldercare workers

SmartSite - Automated health monitoring for construction sites

Spotbot - Track website changes in Slack

Squire - OpenTable for barbershops

Suto - Personalized product recommendations on demand

Sway - Chatbot for company finances

The Flex Company - Menstrual product for mess-free period sex

Zube - Project management for Github issues

If you're an accredited investor who would like access to the Fellowship's Virtual Demo Day contact fellowship@ycombinator.com.


Goodybag (YC W16) Simplifies Catering for Enterprises


Anyone who has used a catering service for meetings or corporate gatherings can explain how frustrating the entire process is. What seems like a simple task actually involves searching through various vendors, determining dietary restrictions, planning logistics, and invoicing the order.

Goodybag is a company launching out of our Winter 2016 class that streamlines the corporate meal-ordering process. Anyone can log onto the site and browse through local caterers before ordering online. In addition to ease of use, Goodybag also offers live customer support. Unlike other on-demand food delivery services, Goodybag does not actually deliver anything. Rather, it is a self-serve marketplace that allows companies to compare and book meals for specific events. Because of this, Goodybag can scale rapidly without being lost in unit economics.

The three behind Goodybag are Jay Panchal, Om Panchal, and Jag Santha. Jay Panchal and Jag Santha met in college at Georgia Institute of Technology while studying Systems Engineering. Om Panchal, Jay's brother, studied Biology at Southwestern University. 

Goodybag has done over $5.5M in orders from just the Austin, Houston, Seattle, and Nashville area.  

Learn more about Goodybag here.

OctaveWealth (YC S12) is a Full Service 401(k) for SMBs

Administering 401(k) plans can be quite confusing for small and medium sized enterprises, which still use paper-based solutions. Online 401(k) providers integrate with digital payroll but fail to provide investment expertise. Companies then have to rely on additional third-party providers for investment management and record keeping. These providers often tack on additional fees that range from 0.30% to 1% of assets. High fees and increasing legislation and litigation over plan costs are some of the top reasons companies switch 401(k) providers.

OctaveWealth is a company that launched out of our Spring 2012 class that provides a transparent, full service 401(k) with no asset-based fees. Its technology provides third-party administration, record keeping, and investment management. Every 401(k) plan includes a series of investment portfolios that employees can invest in with a single click. Each portfolio is diversified across 50 global equities and fixed income markets, individually designed for an employee’s risk tolerance, and built using the same quantitative investment process as the world’s largest asset managers.

By giving employees a set of managed portfolios to invest in, OctaveWealth makes it easier for them to invest immediately upon enrollment. By complimenting this with a variety of risk profiles, this solution increases the likelihood of employee investment. Furthermore, advanced users can access custom portfolios and choose any funds or individual stocks. On average, each employee saves 75% of the total cost in the first 5 years alone, which can grow to more than 95% over time.

Dharmesh Malam and Rikin Shah, co-founders of OctaveWealth, met 13 years ago at Imperial College in London. The two previously founded BigCalc, a big data startup that helped algorithmic trading firms reduce risk by running trading simulations 100x faster. Before that, Malam worked on software at Blackrock and Fidelity while Shah worked on quantitative trading at UBS.  

The company launched in private beta late last year and the number of employees on their platform has been growing 20% week over week.

Learn more about OctaveWealth here.

Justin Time

Justin Kan is going to be the new spokesman for YC and handle the PR requests we get.

You should probably follow him on Snapchat (username: justinkan).

On a more serious note, I'm always impressed with how well-spoken Justin is, and how well he is able to connect with both reporters and founders.