Microryza (YC W13) is teaming up with Science Exchange (YC S11) to directly fund breast cancer research

There's a new model for how scientific research can happen. Microryza is bringing the power of direct crowdfunding to science. 

Elizabeth Iorns, CEO and cofounder of Science Exchange is doing original research into preventing breast cancer. In her words:

Most research focuses on how to treat cancer once it has developed in BRCA carriers. This approach aims to provide a non-invasive way to prevent transmission of the BRCA mutation to offspring, removing the high cancer development risk. 


The total cost for this experiment is $15,000. The animal experiments will be conducted by Dale Cowley, Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina Animal Models Core via Science Exchange

Donate directly to this research effort at Microryza and get updates on the specific progress and results as they happen. 

WeFunder (YC W13) launches to bring crowdfunding startups to the masses

Crowdfunding is catching on in a big way in the consumer space, as platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo have provided new ways for people to back promising projects. But in the startup world, funding is still largely done the same way it has been for decades. A company called WeFunder is aiming to change that, by providing a platform that could make investing even small sums of money into a startup a reality.


The ultimate goal is to enable anyone to invest in startups that they find promising. To that end, founders Mike Norman, Nick Tomarrello, and Greg Belote lobbied hard last year to get the JOBS Act passed. That act should help overturn a few rules which, to date, have held back greater adoption of crowdfunding for startups. And with a new SEC Chairwoman in place, the whole thing could finally move forward.

Read the full article on Techcrunch

Posmetrics (YC W13) launches iPad-based customer feedback solution for brick-and-mortar businesses

Y Combinator-backed Posmetrics, a new tool to help brick-and-mortar businesses collect customer feedback via the iPad, is today making its public debut. The company has designed its online surveys to run on the tablet form factor, and be simple and fast enough that a customer could complete a survey while at a business’s point-of-sale or checkout. Initially, the startup is targeting hotels, but says its platform would also work in retail, at restaurants, airlines, or any where else where there’s interaction between the business and the consumer.

Posmetrics began as a computer science project from two Harvard underclassman, Merrill Lutsky (CEO) and Erik Schluntz (CFO), who felt that the current methods businesses use to collect customer feedback were broken.

Read the full article at Techcrunch

Perfect Audience (YC S11) now serves over 4 billion ad impressions per month for 2,500 advertisers

When Y Combinator-incubated Perfect Audience launched last year, its stated goal was to make it easy for small advertisers (startups, small agencies, and others) to run retargeted ads on Facebook. Turns out, however, that there’s been much broader interest in the startup’s tools, with customers including enterprise companies and larger agencies. According to CEO and co-founder Brad Flora, it’s part of the broader “consumerization of enterprise” trend, where companies want simple tools that they can “operate themselves” without technical assistance.


Overall, Perfect Audience has now signed up 2,500 advertisers and is serving 4 billion ad impressions per month. Flora said the company is cash-flow positive; with its current run rate, it would bring in several millions of dollars in revenue per year. And it’s also expanding into other types of ad retargeting, including web banners and email.

Read the full article on Techcrunch

Firebase (YC S11) launches its iOS SDK, brings realtime capabilities to mobile

Today, Firebase hopes to change this with the launch of a mobile SDK bringing its scalable realtime backend platform to iOS. In other words, the company can offload the major engineering challenges to allow resource-constrained developers to build rich Web-like experiences for mobile, keeping users engaged and delivering updates as they occur. Firebase can also simplify the development process and in many cases can be used as a complete backend, meaning developers can skip the hassle and expense of running their own servers.

Based on the traction of its Javascript-based Web product, including with companies like Atlassian, BitTorrent, Pivotal Labs, and eToro, it’s fair to assume the new mobile product will be popular in the gaming, social, and communications categories. The iOS SDK is already in use by collaborative reading app Kindoma, alternative PC input platform GemPad, and silent disco synchronization platform DiscoSync.

In an effort to demonstrate its technology, Firebase did something so obvious, I’m surprised I haven’t seen it used before: It created a standalone sample app and open sourced the code. SF Live Bus is a Firebase-powered iOS app that displays a realtime view of the location of every bus in San Francisco. The team created the entire app with 30 lines of unique code, 12 lines of Firebase code, plus standard iOS boilerplate. The team also created a simple sample chat example.

Read the full article on PandoDaily

Terascore (YC W13) launches to help teachers bring testing online

Teachers and students have suffered through the same model of educational testing for years. Sure, the SAT has changed — it’s now out of a possible 2,400 points, not 1,600 — but both standardized testing and good old in-class quizzing are still in the dominion of paper and pencil. Terascore, a Y Combinator-backed startup that launches today, is on a mission to help bring testing online.

To do that, the startup aims to provide teachers with tools that can help them create, administer and manage tests online, while making scores and results available immediately after testing. The platform also offers instant analytics for teachers to help them dig down into question quality and difficulty, along with providing a question bank for easy storage and re-use — all collectively as a way to better evaluate student performance and make testing easier on teachers.

Read the full article on Techcrunch

Try Terascore for running your tests online

Fivetran (YC W13) launches to bring spreadsheets into the modern age: SQL and Matlab, meet easy point-and-click.

Fivetran, a new Y Combinator-backed startup that is launching today, wants to bring spreadsheets into the modern age and make it easier for users to work with messy data and analyze large amounts of information. Most people, for better or worse, use their spreadsheets as databases, and Fivetran acknowledges this by combining SQL-like queries with standard spreadsheet functions and statistical tools that will look familiar to users of more advanced tools like Matlab.

As the co-founders George Fraser (CEO) and Taylor Brown (head of product) told me earlier this week, the idea behind the project is that “spreadsheets have 50 percent of the power of programming and we want to bring the other 50 percent to spreadsheets.”


The service, which the team started working on last December, allows users to upload Excel documents, as well as CSV and JSON files and start working with them immediately (in the long run, the team plans to add direct connections to databases, too). To give people a better idea of the power of Fivetran, the founders also created a March Madness bracket simulator, as well as a set of tutorials.

Once they have added their initial data, users can manipulate it using Fivetran’s “step” system, which allows them to create additional sheets based on their calculations. This is a bit of a departure from how most spreadsheets work, but you can also still use your familiar Excel formulas (think SUM(a,b) etc.) to work with your data as well.

Read the full article on Techcrunch

Try Fivetran now or simulate your March Madness bracket yourself

Sift Science (YC S11) launches to fight fraud on your website, raises $5.5M Series A from Union Square Ventures, Max Levchin, others

In Wired today, Ex-Googlers Train Machine Army to Sift Out Crooks:  

Here’s a tidbit for the online retailers out there: If a shopper on your website is using Firefox with Windows XP, the odds of him being a fraudster go up sixfold.

That’s a trend mined by the machine learning geeks at Sift Science, a San Francisco startup that’s taking some of the same techniques that Google uses to cut down on abuse on its ad network and making them available to smaller websites, such as Airbnb, Uber, and Listia. All three of these are early customers.

“The point of this is really to make online commerce safer and more efficient,” says Brandon Ballinger, Sift’s founder and chief technical officer. “Machine learning lets you adapt to the different fraud patterns you see on different websites.”

Sift Science, a Y Combinator-backed startup founded by former Google engineers, is today launching its fraud-fighting service based on machine learning – a system designed to adapt to the ever-changing techniques used by criminals online. The company is also announcing $4 million in Series A funding, led by Union Square Ventures. As a part of the funding, Union Square’s Albert Wenger is joining the company’s board.

Sift Science had previously raised $1.5 million in seed funding, bringing its total raise to $5.5 million.

Other investors in Sift Science include Max Levchin (PayPal, Slide, Affirm), Chris Dixon (SiteAdvisor, Hunch), Marc Benioff (Salesforce CEO), First Round CapitalY CombinatorFounder CollectiveSV AngelStart FundAlex Rampell (SiteAdvisor, TrialPay), Kevin Scott (AdMob, Google, LinkedIn), Lee Lindon (Karma Science, Facebook), Harj Taggar (Y Combinator), Garry Tan (Posterous, Y Combinator), Alexis Ohanian (Reddit, Y Combinator), and Rich Barton (Zillow, Expedia).

The service is primarily targeting online marketplaces, payment networks, and e-commerce sites, where fraud is most prevalent. Businesses can integrate Sift Science’s technology by copying and pasting a small snippet of JavaScript code to their sites, the company says.


Ballinger co-founded Sift Science back in June 2011 with former college roommate Jason Tan, previously of Zillow, Optify and BuzzLabs. 

Read the full article on Techcrunch, and additional coverage in Wired, The Next WebVentureBeat, GigaOm, AllThingsD, and Silicon Valley Business Journal

Use Sift Science now to catch fraudsters using machine learning on your website »

StyleUp (YC W13) recommends daily personalized outfits tailored to your style and location

One of the problems with fashion magazines is that they lack the element of personalization and curation that is entering the online fashion industry and retail world. Kendall Herbst, a former fashion editor at InStyle and Lucky magazines is hoping to change that with a new fashion startup launching today. YC-backed StyleUp is a daily personal fashion recommendation service for women that takes into account your location (i.e. weather) and personal style to give you stylized outfit suggestions each day.

On StyleUp, you sign up for the daily email by taking a 30-second survey to determine your style. You are shown various pictures of styled outfits, and you choose which outfit identify. You also include your location because each outfit recommendation is tied to the weather where you are, and you pick when you want to receive each email (i.e. in the morning before work, or the night before so you can plan ahead).

Read the full article on Techcrunch

Sign up for your personalized fashion recommendation at StyleUp

CircuitLab (YC W13) has 70K monthly users for its browser-based electronics design and simulation tool

CircuitLab is coming up on its one year anniversary, and the startup (now part of Y Combinator’s winter 2013 cohort) now boasts 70,000 monthly active users, who run an average of one circuit simulation every six seconds. The phenomenal traction for the electrical-engineering-focused startup has a lot to do with the team offering up a tool that’s both free and particularly well-suited to educational use, and it bodes well for CircuitLab’s chances of helping early stage hardware startups get off the ground.

Read the full article on Techcrunch