Welcome Kevin, Michael, Steve, Dalton, and Andrew

YC has a bunch of announcements about people coming and going so I thought I'd do them all at once.

Wufoo (YC W06) cofounder Kevin Hale is joining us as a partner.  He was the force behind Wufoo's much-admired design, and speaks widely about UX.  Between Kevin and Garry Tan, we'll now have two partners who are designers, which partly reflects the increasing importance of design in startups, but frankly mostly reflects the fact that they're really good.

We also have five new part-time partners: Michael Seibel, Steve Huffman, Dalton Caldwell, and Andrew Mason.  As the name suggests, part-time partners advise startups like regular partners, but part-time.  Michael was cofounder of Socialcam (YC W12) and now works at Autodesk, which acquired it last year.  Steve is cofounder of Hipmunk (YC S10) and before that was cofounder of Reddit (YC S05). Dalton is cofounder of App.net and before that was cofounder of Imeem.  Andrew was cofounder of Groupon and till recently its CEO.   We've known all these guys for years and we can already tell it will be great to work with them.

Finally, Harj Taggar, who was the first partner we hired after the original four, is leaving to start a new startup (in the long term) and travel the world (in the short).  We're all sad he's leaving and tried to talk him out of it, but only half-heartedly, because we can't blame him for wanting to start a new company.  He has agreed to remain a part-time partner though, so he'll still be around.

For anyone keeping track, YC now has 10 partners (Trevor Blackwell, Paul Buchheit, Paul Graham, Kevin Hale, Carolynn Levy, Jessica Livingston, Robert Morris, Kirsty Nathoo, Geoff Ralston, and Garry Tan) and 8 part-time partners (Sam Altman, Dalton Caldwell, Steve Huffman, Justin Kan, Andew Mason, Michael Seibel, Emmett Shear, and Harj Taggar).

— Paul Graham

HireArt (YC W12) in the Harvard Business Review on hiring: To Attract New Grads, Hire Like a Startup

...Despite lacking resources, brand name, and job security of larger firms, start-ups are incredibly alluring — in fact, they get away with paying average salaries that are often 30 percent below market.

How do start-ups accomplish this? We've noticed two main trends. First, start-ups have mastered the art of marketing themselves effectively toward millennials (many are run by them). Job descriptions and career pages at start-ups tend to emphasize meaning and impact. For example, a recent job ad by the dating start-up Grouper (which you can see online here) promises that work there will let you make a "dent in the universe." The implication is twofold: that the world will benefit from your work, and that there's personal glory in it for you.

At Amicus, a different start-up that uses technology to help non-profits raise money more effectively, the first thing candidates see when they reach the careers page is that a cow will be donated in their name if they're selected for the job. This appeals to recent graduates' sense of humor and humanitarianism.

Read the full article at Harvard Business Review, written by the founders of HireArt

Matterport (YC W12) featured in Xconomy: Makes highly accurate 3D scans of rooms push-button simple

When Tel Aviv, Israel-based PrimeSense came out with its first depth-sensitive, near-infrared camera-on-a-chip in 2010, nobody could have predicted how many uses hardware makers would dream up for the technology within a few short years.

The first and most famous was Microsoft’s Kinect sensor, which lets gamers move their bodies to interact with video games. But now PrimeSense chips are also starting to turn up in robots, PC peripherals, and interactive displays.

And here are two more applications that might surprise you: vacation rental marketing and interior design.

Those are two of the use cases being targeted by Matterport, a Mountain View, CA-based startup that uses PrimeSense chips in a new 3D camera being prepped for release this summer. Place the motorized, tripod-mounted Matterport camera in the center of a room and it spins in place, capturing depth and image data that can be uploaded to Matterport’s cloud servers and assembled into a high-resolution 3D model of the space.

Viewers can then move through the model as if it were a scene in a video game. In fact, the viewing software runs on the same Unity engine used to power hundreds of popular video games.

Read the full article at xconomy

Pebble (YC W11) raises $15M from Charles River Ventures for the future of smart watches, has shipped 70K devices

Rumor has it that everyone from Apple to Microsoft is working on smartwatches to compete with the handful that are already arriving on the market.

But before those started making waves, there was the Pebble, a Kickstarter project begun last April in order to build a durable sports watch that could also receive text messages and calls and play music. Before anyone had seen a finished product, it dazzled tens of thousands of people online, who then contributed $10 million to see the device manufactured.

And on Thursday, Pebble announced it had raised $15 million from Charles River Ventures to propel the company out of its idea phase and into full-on start-up mode.

Eric Migicovsky, the Canadian engineer who started the Pebble project, said that it had already shipped 70,000 watches to its Kickstarter backers; it owes them another 15,000, which it is rushing out. 

Read the full article at NYTimes

Coinbase (YC S12) launches subscriptions and recurring payments using Bitcoin

Recurring payments are necessary for a ton of services - anything where you periodically receive a bill.

Some examples include:

  • Publication subscriptions
  • Collecting rent
  • Maid services
  • Ride sharing
  • Gym memberships
  • Recurring donations
  • And many more

Outside of a customer/merchant context, we also added the ability to:

  • Buy and sell bitcoin at regular intervals - great if you’d like to scale in to owning Bitcoin gradually
  • Send or request bitcoin from other people
  • This is helpful if you’d like to pay rent, bills, friends, etc on a regular basis, or regulating invoice clients.

Recurring payments can be set up per day, week, month, year, etc.

Airware (YC W13) raises $10.7M from Andreessen Horowitz and Google Ventures for commercial drone autopilots

The drones are coming. But rather than hovering over our homes in some big-brother scenario, they’ll be checking farmers’ crops, inspecting power lines, fighting forest fires and delivering medicines and vaccines in rural Africa.

Those are just some of the customers and markets in which Newport Beach, California-based startup Airware plays with its commercial drone software and hardware. On Tuesday, Airware announced almost $11 million in funding from Andreessen Horowitz and Google Ventures.

Airware isn’t going after the hobbyist market—those RC helicopters, planes and quadcopters that can be bought for as little as $100. Airware is all about commercial aircraft—all manner of fixed-wings and choppers that range from a few thousand to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on what they do, says Airware CEO Jonathan Downey. Think somewhere between military-grade and consumer: “It’s definitely a nascent market, but there is a huge unmet need,” says Downey, a commercial-rated pilot himself.

Read the full article at Wired with more coverage at Techcrunch, AllThingsD, Wall Street Journal, and Forbes

Cloudant (YC S08) raises $12M for highly scalable database-as-a-service

Hot database-as-a-service startup Cloudant has raised $12 million in its second round of funding, the company announced today.

Boston-based Cloudant was initially founded in Cambridge, Mas. in 2008 by three MIT physicists. The team struggled to move around multi-petabyte data sets and analyze those data sets wherever they went. So they ended up creating what would become Cloudant.

Cloudant offers a highly scalable database-as-a-service that makes it possible to store, access, and analyze your operational data in the cloud. In the layers of the cloud, Cloudant becomes a “data layer” that can be run on top of most infrastructure-as-a-service providers, including Amazon Web Services, Rackspace, SoftLayer, Microsoft Azure, and Joyent.

Cloudant CEO Derek Schoettle told VentureBeat that this “agnostic” approach to infrastructure deployment separates it from its biggest competitor — Amazon database services. “We believe in not having vendor lock in,” Schoettle said.

Cloudant has attracted some big-name customers with its approach, including Samsung, Microsoft, Adobe, Nokia, Salesforce, Expedia, Zynga, and Flurry.

The new funding was led by Devonshire Investors, Rackspace Hosting, and Toba Capital, with participation by current investors Avalon Ventures, In-Q-Tel, and Samsung Venture Investment Corporation. Including the new round, Cloudant has raised $16 million to date.

Read the full article at VentureBeat