Hickory (YC S15) Helps Employees Retain What They Learn During Training

Launching this week out of our current Summer 2015 class, Hickory is a startup that's created an app to help employees remember what they've learned during their initial training.

According to Hickory, some 70% of employee training is forgotten within five days. Hickory has developed an algorithm that can predict when each employee will forget what they've learned, and sends them targeted quizzes and exercises to ensure that their on-the-job knowledge stays fresh and up to date. At the moment, Hickory is targeted primarily at companies with sales and customer service teams.

Business Insider's Nathan McAlone wrote about Hickory in a story published today:

"Hickory breaks the knowledge you have to retain into 'cards' and continually arranges them in the optimal manner, refreshing your brain with small quizzes every day. These quizzes take about 3 minutes per day, or 15-20 minutes over the course of the week, and have proven effective for remember job training details, according to [Hickory founder Brian] Tobal.

So how does Hickory know when you will forget something? Tobal says the program tracks various data points, like how long you spend reading the information, your track record on answering questions related to it, and what you rate your 'confidence level' at."

Read more about Hickory and how it works in Business Insider here.

ScopeAR (YC S15) Helps Fix Complex Mechanical Problems Remotely Using Augmented Reality

When a piece of complicated mechanical equipment breaks, the expert needed to fix it isn't always located locally.

ScopeAR is a startup in our Summer 2015 batch that uses augmented reality (AR) to dispatch remote experts to consult with field technicians on how best to solve a mechanical issue. Using AR features such as telestration, annotation and 3D models that can overlay and lock directly on to a piece of equipment, RemoteAR provides field technicians with an expert that's essentially looking over their shoulder, giving them guidance each step of the way.

TechCrunch's Greg Kumparak wrote about ScopeAR in an article published today:

"Maybe you’re working on an oil rig, and one of the panels is throwing out errors. 'REPLACE VALVE 6B', reads the screen. You know how to replace a valve! You… just don’t know where said valve is. Your company has experts for this, but they’ve all been called off to other rigs.

...ScopeAR, a company from YC’s Summer 2015 class, wants to help experts be anywhere they need to be via the magic of augmented reality.

The idea behind ScopeAR, over simplified: take a video call, and add the ability to draw on and annotate anything the person on the other end is looking at. As they move their camera, anything you’ve added — arrows, text, custom-made 3D models, etc. — stays locked onto the right place.

Need to know which valve is 'Valve 6B'? Point your camera at that array of valves, and the expert can point right to it."

Read the complete article on TechCrunch here, and participate in the Hacker News discussion here.

Ironclad (YC S15) Is An App That Manages Legal Paperwork For Companies

When companies have to create basic documents such as NDAs and sales contracts, they often task their highly-paid hired lawyers with the job -- even though this is essentially administrative work.

Ironclad is a startup in our current batch that acts as an automated legal assistant, creating standard documents that all companies need. This means that paid lawyers can focus on what they are good at, which is providing legal advice on more complicated matters.

TechCrunch's Fitz Tepper wrote about Ironclad today:

"Jason Boehmig, co-founder of Ironclad, explained that current methods to draft and execute legal documents are extremely fragmented. For example, a startup trying to complete a sales agreement would have to separately move documents between their lawyers, document storage solutions, and e-signature companies.

With Ironclad, this entire process is automated, which lets companies save a bunch of time and money.

Notably, Ironclad isn’t out to replace lawyers. In fact, Boehmig explained that the company’s goal is to become an operational layer for lawyers, essentially consolidating their workflow and giving them superpowers."

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

Captain401 (YC S15) Makes It Easy For Any Company To Have A 401k Program

The process of setting up a company 401k plan can be daunting for a small business -- so much so that often, it's only larger corporations that offer retirement plans for their workers.

Captain401 is a startup in our current class that makes it easy for a company of any size to set up a 401k program for its employees.

TechCrunch's Matthew Lynley wrote about Captain401 in a story published today:

"The goal of Captain401 is basically to make managing 401ks as simple as other services have done for other functions within companies — and in a more digitally focused manner like Zenefits or Zenpayroll. Captain401 seeks to create a process that avoids funds that have higher fees and fail to beat the market, CEO Roger Lee said. The investing service is automated, helping employees make better decisions about their investments and become more educated about the best choices, he said.

'Incumbents like ADP, John Hanckock, they require tons of paperwork, snail mailing, filling out and signing,' he said. 'Some companies like Fidelity don’t work with small businesses. We think we can do a lot better there, our solution is online and paperless.'"
Read more in-depth about how Captain401 and how it works in TechCrunch here, and see the related Hacker News discussion here.

Chaldal (YC S15) Powers Grocery Delivery For One Of The Densest Countries In The World

Chaldal is a startup launching out of our current class that's built an on-demand grocery delivery platform that serves Bangladesh, one of the densest countries in the world.

Chaldal's service, which is currently active in the capital city of Dhaka and plans to expand to other cities in the future, offers the product variety of a big box store, compared to the limited selection often offered at Bangladeshi markets, which are typically short on space.

TechCrunch's Catherine Shu wrote about Chaldal in a story published today:

"Chaldal was founded by Waseem Alim, Tejas Viswanath, and Zia Ashraf in 2013. After working in product development for Wikinvest and SigFig, Alim began exploring the possibility of launching a startup in his home country. He was galvanized by the collapse of a garment factory near Dhaka that killed more than 1,100 workers.

'That jarred me and made me think, if capital is being invested in a way where people have to work inside a mousetrap, then I want to see what it takes to really make a living in Bangladesh,' he says.

Consumers in Dhaka often purchase small amounts of groceries, regardless of their income level, because shops don’t have a lot of stock. Chaldal’s current business model centers around warehouses that are relatively small (about 5,000 to 7,000 square feet each), but still enable it to carry much more items than brick-and-mortar retailers. It uses a cloud-based inventory system that allows users to see what items are available in real-time."

Read the full story on TechCrunch here.

Foxpass (YC S15) Allows Any Company To Have Advanced Server And Network Security

Large enterprises can often afford to have tightly-managed network and server security across their workforces. But for many small- and medium-sized companies, network and server security practices are either implemented lightly or not at all. 

Foxpass is a startup in our current batch that's created an easy-to-use platform for any company to ensure that each employee has individual, company-managed credentials which must be used for access.

VentureBeat's Ken Yeung wrote about Foxpass and how it works in a story published today:

"So why Foxpass? In some companies, it’s possible that employees share the same login credentials when it comes to accessing internal systems such as servers and Wi-Fi. Obviously this isn’t a secure setup, but Foxpass thinks it can bring things up to best practices without resorting to drastic changes in the layout and design of the tools.

Sandersen told VentureBeat that Foxpass functions as an authentication server integrated with Google Apps that companies can use to grant employees access to specific systems. Because he’s dealing with early-stage companies and smaller entities, syncing with Google Apps makes sense. Using this as the identity layer, someone in the company, whether in human resources or IT, can grant that employee specific access. Should the employee leave for whatever reason, access can quickly be disabled without having to change passwords en masse."

Read more in-depth about Foxpass in VentureBeat here, and participate in the related Hacker News discussion here. You can also check out Foxpass' demo in its first-ever "Show HN" back in February 2015 here.

Announcing The YC Startup School Radio Podcast

We're excited to announce Startup School Radio, a podcast that features stories and practical advice about starting, funding, and scaling companies. In each show, host and Y Combinator partner Aaron Harris talks to two key founders or investors to learn how they got started, what went wrong, what surprised them, and what happened as their companies grew.

In episode 1 of Startup School Radio, Harris sits down with Alexis Ohanian, the co-founder of Reddit, and Kaz Netajian, the co-founder of payments startup Kash. You can listen to the entire hour-long show in the SoundCloud widget embedded above, or find all the episodes on iTunes.

One interesting part of Ohanian's segment was the discussion about how Reddit set out to be the "front page of the internet":

Alexis: The really stand out thing is the commenting system, and the voting system that Steve [Huffman] engineered, which we drew heavily from Slashdot influence on. Just this idea of having community self-regulated voting on content, and comments.

And [Paul Graham] just said, 'All right, well, solve that problem. Find the best way to just inform yourself every morning.' And we're going back and forth with ideas. And then he's just like, 'Listen, just build the front page of the internet.' Steve and I looked at each other and we are like, 'Uh, this guy wants to give us money to build the front page of the internet? All right, sucker.'

Aaron: So, that's actually really interesting, because Paul sold his company at Yahoo. He worked at Yahoo for a while, and a lot of ways, in the late 90's and early 2000's, Yahoo was the front page of the internet. There was no such thing as a search engine, really, when Yahoo started. It was an aggregation of useful links.  

Alexis: Yes.

Aaron: Do you think that's part of where that came from?

Alexis: We should have pitched Reddit as Yahoo 2.0. Probably... I still remember the [meeting], because we kept dilly-dallying around this idea of, what it means to have this front page here, and [Paul Graham] was like, 'Look, the news of record, the most important news of the day for the 20th century was essentially the stuff that made it arguably to the front page of like the New York Times.' Some other newspapers might differ, but for the 21st century, the front page of the New York Times meant this is the news.

Online, you have to be content agnostic. Even in 2005, it was clear that the most important relevant news of the day couldn't possibly come from just one source. The best way to get to that would be having a bunch of random people all over the world submitting suggestions for what that might be.

You can read the full transcript from Startup School Radio Episode 1 on Genius here.

Powered By IBM Watson, ROSS Intelligence (YC S15) Is Like Siri For Legal Knowledge

With each new law that passes or court ruling, the vat of legal knowledge in the world just keeps growing. Even the best legal scholar would have a hard time keeping abreast of it all -- and the current search engines on products like LexisNexis leave a lot to be desired.

ROSS Intelligence is a startup in our current class that is leveraging artificial intelligence to help people power through legal research efficiently and accurately.

TechCrunch's Kim-Mai Cutler wrote about ROSS Intelligence in a story published this week:

"Today, ROSS says that the market size for legal research software is about $8.4 billion per year, given the roughly 1.3 million lawyers in the U.S. and Canada.

'There are thousands of laws are being published each day,' said [ROSS co-founder Andrew] Arruda, who spent several years in legal research. 'But until recently, have our computers have had a very superficial understanding of natural language. ROSS pretty much mimics the human process of reading, identifies patterns in text, and provides contextualized answers with snippets from the document in question.'"

Read more in-depth about ROSS Intelligence and how it works in TechCrunch here.

Tenant Turner (YC S15) Helps Property Owners Quickly Fill Vacancies With Qualified Renters

Tenant Turner is a startup launching out of our current class with a software platform that helps property owners and property managers quickly and easily find quality tenants to rent out their available units.

According to Tenant Turner, around half of all tenant inquiries don’t meet a rental's minimum requirements. That means that property managers are often distracted with phone calls, emails, and showings that end up going nowhere. Tenant Turner helps cut through the noise, by scheduling showings only with tenant prospects that meet the owner's qualifications -- while still adhering to Fair Housing regulations and other laws.

TechCrunch's Kim-Mai Cutler wrote about how Tenant Turner works in a story today:

"Tenant Turner automatically lists properties on the top 20 listings sits. They also pre-qualify renters by verifying their incomes, pulling their credit reports and background checks and checking their rental history. 

They also ask renters basic questions to filter out candidates who don’t fit, like ones that have pets for no-pet properties. Then they coordinate property viewings, with text and e-mail reminders. Their prices start at $119 per rental listing, gradually go lower based on the number of listing credits purchased."

Read more about Tenant Turner, how it started, and how it fits into larger trends in the real estate market in TechCrunch here.

Mimir (YC S15) Wants To Help Colleges Create Better Software Engineers

Mimir is a startup launching out of our Summer 2015 class that's addressing some of the most common challenges seen by university and college Computer Science programs. Mimir has created a platform that brings the Computer Science classroom online and automates key tasks such as grading and student feedback.

VentureBeat's Ken Yeung wrote about Mimir in a story published today:

"Founded by Prahasith Veluvolu, Jacobi Petrucciani, and Colton Voege, Mimir enables professors to upload assignments each semester that students need to complete. Mimir will handle grading and then log the findings into a separate grade book system like Blackboard. The platform also tracks which students may need more tutoring and those who may be cheating or plagiarizing. Professors can set parameters for students as well as configure projects so the system will know how to grade appropriately.

...For Veluvolu, the founding of the company is specifically something that addressed his pain point: As a computer science student at Purdue University, the speed at which instructors provided feedback was frustrating. In all of his other courses, he said that it was automated and fast, but not in the computer science department — ironically, that one lagged behind."

Read more in-depth about Mimir in VentureBeat here.