Bumped From Your Hotel? WalkSource (YC S14) Aims To Find You A Free Room Fast

You’re probably familiar with getting bumped from a flight. But have you ever been “walked” from a hotel?

Like airlines, hotels book more reservations than they can accommodate to ensure they are always operating at maximum capacity. But sometimes they overbook and have to “walk” their customers — transfer them to another hotel.

When Brett Leonard was working at a hotel in San Francisco, he often spent hours trying to find other hotels to walk customers to. He said they would become disgruntled and angry when it would take him hours to find them alternative hotels, sometimes as far away as Napa and Walnut Creek.

“This happens all the time,” Leonard’s partner Vladimir Blumen said. “When you run a really large hotel, it’s part of running this business.”

That’s why Leonard and Blumen joined Max Izmaylov and Jakub Vysoky to create WalkSource.

Onename.io (YC S14) Aims To Streamline Bitcoin Transactions

If you wanted to send me bitcoin right now you could either type in ‘1JPrpxRagtzuzY4KWCNV2hBhybqyaTrVwA’ or just look for “johnbiggs” on Onename. That’s what two Princeton grads are hoping you’ll do, anyway.

Onename.io was founded by Muneeb Ali and Ryan Shea, two engineers who thought they could fix bitcoin transactions. The goal is simple: to offer a single page that allows you to send and receive money from other bitcoin users. Instead of QR codes and long wallet addresses, the pair want to offer a verified “name” page where users can click a single button and a name that you can type into a wallet application instead of a string of gibberish.


Backpack (YC S14) Connects You With Travelers So You Can Purchase Items In Other Countries

Imagine if a certain type of medication you needed wasn’t available in your country and was expensive to ship or acquire. Many people rely on friends or relatives traveling to these countries to bring back items that cannot be purchased in their country, whether it’s jamon or an iPhone. Backpack connects users with travelers who can bring desired products back at discounted prices.

Backpack, a Y Combinator-backed startup, is a peer-to-peer marketplace that connects shoppers and travelers to empower consumers to buy overseas products at a discount. Shoppers get access to foreign products by paying travelers coming to their country a fee to purchase and deliver the items.

ShipBob (YC S14) Helps Small Business Owners Avoid Post Office Purgatory

Unless you are a philatelist or have a strong tolerance for boredom, standing in post office lines is a pain. This is especially true if you have to do it over and over and over again for your job. ShipBob, a startup backed by Y Combinator, wants to help small business owners and online sellers with a service that not only takes items to the post office, but also handles packaging and tracking.

Before starting ShipBob, which is currently available in Chicago and plans to launch in San Francisco next, founders Dhruv Saxena and Divey Gulati ran a small e-commerce company called SnailMailPics, which meant they spent a lot of time preparing packages and waiting in the post office.

Y Combinator And Mithril Invest In Helion (YC S14), A Nuclear Fusion Startup

Building a nuclear fusion reactor that can generate more energy than is put in to make it work is one of the biggest challenges facing engineers today. Like quantum computing, decades of research have mostly resulted in proofs of concept, not hardware that can be rolled out commercially.

So it came as a surprise to hear that Y Combinator and Mithril Capital Management are investing $1.5 million in Helion Energy, a Redmond, Washingon-based startup that says it has a plan to build a fusion reactor that breaks even on energy input and output, a challenge whose solution has been considered decades away for, well, decades. Helion CEO David Kirtley says that his company can do it in three.

VizeraLabs (YC S14) Projects New Materials Onto Any Surface

Let’s say you’re at a furniture store and see a couch you like. It has the number of seats you need for your living room and the cushions are comfortable. But the model in the store is cotton, and that just won’t do — you wanted leather. How are you supposed to know if you like how it looks in person?

At stores with Y Combinator-backed VizeraLabs’s projector installed, you can see what every fabric looks like on a display model instantly. The company wants to replace the books full of different fabrics you can look through at furniture retailers with a projector paired with Microsoft’s Kinect hardware and pretty much any device that can connect to its growing database of materials and patterns in the cloud.

Read the full story on TechCrunch

Shout (YC S14) Is A Real-Time Classifieds App That Lets You Exchange Anything

Craigslist has come to be known as a modern take on the classifieds section of a newspaper, but Zachariah Reitano and Henri Stern want to go further and provide a real-time exchange service. That’s where Shout comes in.

Shout is a real-time classifieds that lets individuals exchange anything with others on the service. The iOS app lets users offer up something for sale, such as a ticket or a reservation, or make a request, such as a delivery. “Shouts” are linked to a location, a price and a short description and can either be free or cost a specific amount.

Local Lift (YC S14) Is A Kickstarter For Local Businesses

Kickstarter, Indiegogo and other crowdfunding platforms have been a big hit with product makers and creative types, but a new company called Local Lift wants to now bring the power of crowdfunding to those in the local, small business community, too.

With the Local Lift platform, business owners are able to raise funds directly from their customer base and the community at large by running 30-day campaigns for small amounts of funding, usually averaging around $7,000-$8,000, based on early trials.

The idea for the startup comes from a team with financial and business backgrounds, including former Harvard Business School grads, Broderick McClinton, who previously worked at BlackRock and spent time in New Orleans working on economic development issues; and Eric Sonnier, previously of Deloitte and mobile ad startup MdotM. Meanwhile, CTO Matt Christen’s background involves development work on high-frequency trading platforms.

Startup School 2014 applications are open

Applications for Startup School 2014 are now open. Apply here

The deadline to apply is September 12.

Startup School Silicon Valley
October 11, 2014
Cupertino, CA

Startup School is Y Combinator's free to attend, one day conference where you'll hear stories and practical advice from founders and investors. They'll tell you how they got started, what went wrong, what surprised them, and what happened as their companies grew. 

We hope to see you there! 

BitAccess (YC S14) Launches To Make Bitcoin ATMs Ubiquitous

Trying to make access to the world’s largest cryptocurrency automatic for the people, BitAccess is looking to build a network of automated Bitcoin banking machines available worldwide.

The concept of a Bitcoin ATM isn’t new, with companies like Robocoin Technologies,GenesisCoinLamassu Bitcoin Ventures, and BitXatm all launching variations on bitcoin transaction hardware, but BitAccess touts an incredibly easy interface, a broader vision of how new hardware can be used, and the fact that it is the only player manufacturing its own transaction hardware.

“All you need is a phone number and a dollar,” to get a unit of Bitcoin says Haseeb Awan, one of the four co-founders behind BitAccess.

Read the full story on TechCrunch