TetraScience (YC S15) Sends Data From Scientific Instruments Directly To The Web

Much of the data from scientific experiments is captured the old fashioned way: Scientists personally check their equipment, and write the pertinent information down by hand -- sometimes on a computer, but often in a notebook. 

TetraScience is a company in our current Summer 2015 class that's shifting that entire process to the cloud, by connecting scientific instruments directly to the web. TetraScience has developed a system that uses both hardware and software that allows researchers to remotely monitor and control their instruments, and automatically logs their data in the cloud.

TechCrunch's Mike Butcher wrote about TetraScience in an article published this past week:
"Here’s how it works. TetraScience Link, the hardware module, is like an Apple TV. A researcher can buy a Link, plug their scientific instrument in to it, and connect to the web via Wifi or Ethernet. Once online, a researcher can log in to their TetraScience account, enter their credentials, and activate their newly purchased Link. This process takes less than 5 minutes. On this dashboard, the researcher can monitor that instrument in real-time and control its behavior. Furthermore, the researcher can also set thresholds for alarms/alerts (e.g. hazardous overheating) and notifications (e.g. e-mail, SMS). Since the instrument is connected to the web, the data produced by the device is automatically stored in the cloud. Like with Facebook, they provide researchers with a timeline of experiments/events that occur with the experiments (e.g. the user and timestamp for starting/stopping an experiment).

They assured me they have several layers of security, so the results can’t be hacked into."

Read the full story on TechCrunch here.

The Ticket Fairy (YC S15) Helps Event Organizers Fill More Seats

Organizers for events such as music festivals operate on a high risk business model, paying upfront costs of potentially millions of dollars that must be recovered from ticket sales. When too many tickets go unsold, these costs aren't recouped, resulting in a painful net loss for the event organizer.

The Ticket Fairy is a startup in our current Summer 2015 class that runs a complete event marketing platform that helps event organizers quickly and efficiently reach more attendees to fill up empty seats. Event organizers on average see an average 25 percent lift in ticket sales when using The Ticket Fairy.

TechCrunch's Josh Constine wrote about the Ticket Fairy in a story published today:

"If you convince all your friends to go to a concert, shouldn’t the promoter give you a discount? Now they can with The Ticket Fairy, a full-stack events marketing and analytics suite coming out of stealth from Y Combinator today.

The Ticket Fairy’s goal is to make sure all its clients’ events sell out. Promoters let The Ticket Fairy sell their tickets, run their analytics, and handle ad buying in exchange for a fee on each ticket sold.

The startup sells 100% of an event’s inventory when it can, but sometimes exclusivity contracts with ticketers like TicketMaster mean it can only sell the 20% that a promoter has the right to distribute on its own. Eventually, though, co-founders Ritesh and Jigar Patel say The Ticket Fairy hopes to earn promoters so much money that they ditch their contracts and sell everything through its platform."

Read the full story in TechCrunch here.

Xendit (YC S15) Is Bringing Peer-To-Peer Mobile Money Transfers To Indonesia

In Indonesia, 25 percent of the population currently has a smartphone, and smartphone penetration is growing by 20 percent year-over-year. But 80 percent of the population remains unbanked. 

Xendit is a startup launching out of our current class that's bringing trusted mobile financial services to a country where banks have yet to prove their relevance to the majority of the population. Built for both Android and iOS, Xendit's app allows users to send or request money with just four taps of the phone.

TechCrunch's Matthew Lynley wrote about Xendit in a story published today:

"The company is billing itself as a more private money-transfer service that’ll beat companies like Venmo to the market in Southeast Asia. Users can transfer money within private groups, as well as chat, but it’s not about making those transactions public, co-founder Moses Lo said. Since starting the beta a few months ago, the company has 13,000 people using the service.

Users load money onto Xendit and they can send and request money from friends in the service or through phone numbers. The company not only has to work with Indonesian banks, but also ATM networks, Lo said.

'In Southeast Asia, it’s the perfect storm,' Lo said. 'One is a huge population with technology, two is nascent financial services, and third is it’s one of the most viral regions. In Indonesia, there’s [greater than 100 percent] penetration for phones. These people don’t have a bank account, penetration credit card is 3 percent, but there’s a huge population with technology.'"

Read the full story on TechCrunch here.

Instawork (YC S15) Is The LinkedIn For Recruiting And Hiring At Small Businesses

Sites such as LinkedIn have captured a big part of the hiring and recruiting market for higher-end white collar jobs. But these platforms have largely missed the majority of Americans who work hourly or part-time positions. Often, small businesses find new candidates through word of mouth, or by hanging a help wanted sign in the window.

Instawork is a company launching out of our current class with an online platform that connects small businesses with qualified job candidates within 24 hours.

Business Insider's Celena Chong wrote about Instawork in a story published today:

"Why can [Instawork co-founders Sumir] Meghani and [Saureen] Shah tout such a rapid turnaround? Ultra-responsive tech is their answer. Everything is automated: matching up schedules, automatically verifying references, and parsing only the most important parts of a resume to send out to recruiters. 

If a family coffee shop owner wished to have more baristas on deck, all they would have to do is go online, fill in the bare basics of the job in a few lines and click 'find me candidates.' The process takes around one minute."

Read the full story on Business Insider here.

Drip Capital (YC S15) Lends Small Businesses The Money They Need To Grow

Historically, small business lending has been dominated by local community banks, who often have a long and tedious process for approving loans with less than favorable terms to the business owner.

Launching this week out of our Summer 2015 class, Drip Capital is building an online solution to offer timely and founder-friendly small business loans nationwide. 

Drip Capital evaluates its loans by looking at the orders that small businesses have yet to fulfill, and providing the money needed to fulfill them. As an example: When one upstart potato chip manufacturer got a big break by landing placement in Whole Foods, Drip provided the capital to help the manufacturer deliver on the order. 

TechCrunch's Kim-Mai Cutler wrote about Drip Capital in a story published this week:
"Drip Capital’s two founders Pushkar Mukewar and Neil Kothari, have experience in both the tech and financial worlds after managing debt portfolios at Capital One, Goldman Sachs and BlackRock. They met at Wharton.

Drip evaluates small businesses based on their live working orders from customers. They’re focused on the 5 million business-to-business focused companies in the United States, and are giving loans that they expect to be repaid in 1 to 4 months.

'Banks have an almost one-size-fits-all product,' said co-founder Neil Kothari. 'But there’s a pretty substantial difference in how banks cater to larger clients versus smaller clients.'"

Read the full story on TechCrunch here.

Auro Robotics (YC S15) Makes Autonomous Shuttles For Getting Around On Campus

Current shuttle prototype from Auro Robotics founded by Nalin Gupta Jit Ray Chowdhury and Srinivas Reddy

Self-driving cars have a lot of potential, but due to regulatory hurdles and public safety concerns, it's likely to be at least another decade or more before they become truly mainstream.

Auro Robotics is a company in our current batch that is looking to launch fully functioning autonomous vehicles much sooner, by building them specifically for contained areas and campus environments. By targeting private areas such as colleges and amusement parks, Auro Robotics avoids many of the issues that are currently keeping self-driving cars from being more widely adopted.

Auro Robotics is currently operating pilots at five college universities, and plans to launch into other verticals in the coming months.

TechCrunch's Lucas Matney wrote about Auro Robotics in an article published this week:

"'The unique advantage this strategy gives us is that we are able to mobilize the shuttles now instead of waiting for the next five or ten years for laws to get through,' Auro Robotics CEO Nalin Gupta said.

Gupta told me that the main challenge in designing an autonomous vehicle for this sort of area is building one that can smartly and safely navigate heavy pedestrian traffic, something he said their team has been finessing for some time.

The team actually creates a three-dimensional map of the environments that they’re deploying the shuttles in, so that the vehicles can be as responsive and aware of their surroundings as possible."

Read the full story on TechCrunch here, and participate in the Hacker News discussion here.

appCanary (YC S15) Makes Sure Your Company Is Safe From Security Vulnerabilities

With each day come multiple new zero-days, or potential software security exploits, putting companies running even slightly out-of-date software perpetually at the risk of being hacked. But keeping on top of the latest security vulnerabilities is a full-time job that can take up valuable engineering resources. And many companies, especially startups, don't have those kinds of resources or headcount to spare.

appCanary is a company launching out of our current Summer 2015 class that can help with all that. Founded by former security consultants Phillip Mendonça-Vieira and Max Veytsman, appCanary has built a service to allow operations teams of all sizes to make intelligent decisions about how to secure their infrastructure and the threats that affect them, without having to constantly monitor the ever-expanding infosec landscape themselves.

To start using appCanary, a company simply has to install appCanary's agent on their servers, a process which takes just a few minutes. appCanary then assesses all of the company's software inventories, and keeps running tabs on all of the latest security vulnerabilities that could impact the company's software infrastructure. appCanary provides real-time notifications to let the company know whenever its infrastructure might be vulnerable.

appCanary's pricing starts at $29 per month for companies with up to five servers, and increases on a sliding scale based on the number of servers a company has to monitor. More than 40 companies are currently using appCanary in its pilot program, many of them growing tech companies and startups. "appCanary is for anyone who is writing lots of custom software available on the Internet," Veytsman says. 

Read more about appCanary here.

L. (YC S15) Is A Condom Subscription Service To Make Safe Sex A Global Human Right

Most of the major condom brands are marketed with a sense of aggressive masculinity: Take the Trojan Man, for example.

L. is a startup launching out of our Summer 2015 class that's making condoms with both men and women in mind. L. makes discreet, stylishly designed all-natural and vegan-friendly condoms that prioritize women's comfort. L. has a quickly growing e-commerce subscription service, and its products are also on sale in more than 1,000 brick and mortar stores including CVS, Target, and Whole Foods.

Also, L.'s business model comes with an important perk: For every condom purchased here in the United States, L. sends one to a developing country in need. L.'s larger aim is to make safe, healthy, female-friendly sex a global human right.

TechCrunch's Sarah Buhr wrote about L. this past week:

"L. founder Talia Frenkel was a busy photojournalist, documenting the latest floods, fires and other natural disasters for the United Nations and the Red Cross when she was sent to photograph women and girls dying of HIV/AIDS in Africa in 2008. This sexually transmitted disease is the No. 1 killer of women of reproductive age on a global scale, according to the World Health Organization.

That sobering statistic stirred something inside of Frenkel. 'I didn’t realize the No. 1 killer of women was completely preventable and I think that really inspired me to action,' she told TechCrunch.

Frenkel bootstrapped L. more than a year and a half ago with the goal to save these women from a disease they didn’t have to get with the proper use of contraceptives. She does this with a one-to-one purchase model. One L. condom is donated to a woman in Uganda for every condom ordered through the L. platform.

L. deploys the condoms through a network of more than 2,000 female entrepreneurs working on the ground in Uganda. The women sell the condoms at a low cost, thus creating a long-term and sustainable business that can empower these women and help educate others on the proper use of the condoms."

Read the full story on TechCrunch here.

PlateJoy (YC S15) Delivers Fresh Food To Help You Meet Your Weight Loss And Health Goals

Launching this week as part of our Summer 2015 class, PlateJoy is a delivery service focused on providing customized, local, healthy ingredients for meals tailored to each individual's weight loss and lifestyle goals. 

PlateJoy has been providing a meal planning and fresh food delivery service since 2013. While in YC over the past several months, the company has renewed its focus more specifically on providing foods and meal plans that fit each customer's lifestyle and fitness plans.

VentureBeat's Ken Yeung wrote about PlateJoy and its new features in a story this past week:

"Starting today, it’s all about a directional focus towards weight loss and health. Users can log in and fill out an online questionnaire to receive personalized deliveries. It’s going to ask what your goals are, if you have any specific diet you’re undertaking, is there a specific weight you’re targeting, and more. Then, you decide when you want the ingredients delivered.

Are you looking for food that’s low in carbohydrates? Perhaps gluten free? Vegan? Kid friendly? All of these options and more are catered to by PlateJoy.

The packages delivered by the company will have fresh ingredients, delivered locally from Whole Foods, and with just enough packaging to ensure that there’s no waste.

PlateJoy also uses a waste-reduction algorithm that will analyze ingredients across all the order’s recipes in order to prevent ordering more than needed for all your meals. There’s also a digital pantry that will let you know what you have in the kitchen, how much, and whether or not it’s still good."

Read the full story on VentureBeat here, and read PlateJoy co-founder Christina Bognet's Medium post about her 50 pound weight loss that inspired her to start the company here.

Branch8 (YC S15) Helps Merchants Sell Across Asia's Many E-Commerce Platforms

In the United States, the e-commerce market is largely dominated by a few key players. But in Asia, there are multiple online marketplaces and no clear dominant leader. Merchants looking to optimize their sales in Asia need to list their products across multiple sites, which is a lot of work and maintenance.

Branch8 is a company that takes care of all that work. Launching this week out of our Summer 2015 class, Branch8 has built a platform that helps sellers easily list and manage products on the wide variety of e-commerce marketplaces in Asia.

TechCrunch's Jon Russell wrote about Branch8 in an article published this week:
"Branch8, which is based in Hong Kong, is part of Y Combinator's current Summer 2015 class. It opened the doors to its service on an invite-only basis back in May, but today it is now publicly available to all merchants. Chan told TechCrunch that, right now, Branch8 has nearly 1,000 sellers (and over 600,000 products) who are processing over $1 million in sales per month on its platform.

Beyond consolidating the basic processes beyond selling via multiple services — Amazon, Lazada, Rakuten, eBay and Jumia are among the initial platforms supported — Branch8 also provides analytics to track traffic, it automates price checking and product migration, and connects to third-party logistics services. Those value-adds, [Branch8 CEO Elton] Chan said, are where it believes it can really stand out for merchants.

'Our differentiator is analytics,' he told TechCrunch in an interview. 'Few tools track traffic via SKU. While our price tracking tool and the convenience of migrating to new platforms, this process is very manual, are specifically designed to meet merchants’ pain-points.'"

Read the full story on TechCrunch here, and additional coverage on Tech In Asia here.