Previously mobile-first Instacart (YC S12) launches web store to deliver groceries

[Instacart], as you may have read in the tech press, works as such: you pick out which groceries you want out of a selection of 25,000 on the app, and within an hour, someone delivers them for $14.99 plus whatever they cost. For $3.99 you can get the groceries within 3 hours. A delivery person texts you with the exact time you can expect the groceries. Pretty slick.

Mehta says he decided to go to the web after he noticed orders increasing in size. Most users order 17-20 items, rather than the three or four he expected. For someone to use Instacart for an entire week’s worth of groceries, they probably want to do it on a larger screen. The web and mobile apps sync, of course, and a running list of items can be added throughout the week and the order placed when you’re ready for it.

Read the full article on PandoDaily

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GetGoing (YC S12) is now in private beta, saves vacationers 40% on flights with the flip of a coin

Press coverage on NBC News today:

Eenie, meenie, minie, mo: Would you let a website pick where you’ll go?

That’s the premise, more or less, of, a new website now in beta and set for a consumer launch on Nov. 1. The site promises airfare discounts of up to 40 percent to users who are willing to let the website pick their final destination.

Here’s how it works: Users conduct a flight search, either by regional destination (Europe, Asia, U.S./Canada, etc.) or by interest (family fun, beaches and sun, history and culture, etc.) and are shown, on average, 10 possible destinations, along with a full selection of flight options for each one.

The site then asks you to narrow the options to two final choices and provide your booking and credit-card information. The good news is that only one of the two itineraries will be booked; the potentially nerve-wracking news is that you don’t find out which one until after you've clicked the "Complete this Purchase" button.

It sounds crazy, but co-founder and CEO Alek Vernitsky insists otherwise: “Giving somebody the option of selecting two destinations instead of one fits with how people think about vacations,” he said. “People naturally think in terms of options — do I want to go here or there?”

Read the full article at NBC News

Clever (YC S12) raises $3M, has now unlocked K12 data in over 2,000 schools

Clever, a graduate of Y Combinator’s most recent batch of startups, launched in late June to bring a bit of Twilio’s vision to education. That is to say, the startup has been developing a standardized API that makes it easy for K-12 schools to unlock their data and for developers to access and build applications on top of that data.

During their time at Y Combinator, the accelerator’s co-founder Paul Graham challenged the team to integrate with 40 schools by the end of the program. But, as GigaOM reported after YC’s Demo Day, Clever far surpassed that goal, reaching 1,000 schools by the time the co-founders took the stage at Demo Day in late August. Today, that rapid growth continues, as the startup announced this morning that over 2,000 K-12 schools have now adopted its technology since June.

This dramatic growth has not gone unnoticed by investors. The startup is also announcing this morning that it has raised $3 million in seed funding from an impressive list of venture capital firms and angels, including SV Angel, Mike Maples of Floodgate, SoftTech VC’s Jeff Clavier, Google Ventures (Kevin Rose), Bessemer Venture Partners, Mitch Kapor, Ben Parr and Ashton Kutcher.

Read the full article on Techcrunch

FundersClub (YC S12) raises $6M seed round to change startup funding

If you need more proof that FundersClub wants to radically change startup funding by letting non-VCs invest, it just closed a $6 million seed round... There are still questions about its legality, but investors include A-listers YC, First Round, Chris Dixon, and Aaron Levie. Their support shows Silicon Valley is ready to disrupt itself by inviting the crowd to the cap table.

For those unfamiliar, FundersClub is a website that picks promising startups and lets people invest in them over the web in return for real equity. Anyone who’s an “accredited investor” (earns over $200,000 a year or has a net worth over $1 million) can browse startups with open rounds ranging from a few hundred thousand to a few million dollars. They learn about the businesses, pick ones they believe in, and plop down as little a $1,000. The average investment so far is $2500. All the legal paperwork and money transfer happens right there online.

Read the full article on Techcrunch

MongoHQ (YC S11) raises $6M from Trinity Ventures for their database as a service engine

MongoHQ has raised $6 million from Trinity Ventures and a host of investors for its database service for developers. The  company will use the funds to expand its public cloud offering and improve its management tools for MongoDB, the popular NoSQL database.

A Y Combinator startup, MongoHoQ launched in June 2011. Previous investors have included SV Angel, The Webb Investment Network, Data Collective, Scott McNealy and actor turned angel — Ashton Kutcher.

Read the full article at Techcrunch

Priceonomics (YC W12) launches Racklove, a safe place to buy/sell bikes, and a Stolen Bike Finder

With the success of Priceonomics' in-depth report of the economics of stolen bikes, the team has decided to not just study the problem of stolen bikes, but do something about it. 

They're launching Racklove today -- a nice place to buy and sell bikes -- ones that are definitely not stolen. It works in San Francisco right now, and soon many other places. 

In addition, Racklove has a stolen bike finder app that will automatically search for stolen bikes of your kind, and email you when it might have found it. 

Read the full article about their new product launches at the Priceonomics Blog

SendHub (YC W12) launches Shared Groups for text and voice, the ideal way for teams and businesses to contact each other

...the team at SendHub is more excited about the new feature they’re debuting today called Shared Groups. For those unfamiliar with this company,SendHub is something of an alternative to Google Voice, but one that was designed with the needs of businesses in mind. The scalable voice and SMS platform, built on top of Twilio technology, allows organizations, including schools, mom-and-pops, and enterprise customers the ability to call and text with their customers.

The company first got its start as a platform for teachers, who needed a secure way to communicate with students and parents, and, to date, it remains a “freemium” service so schools will always be able to afford the system. But for customers who have the specific need of sharing contact information across an organization, the Shared Groups feature will help significantly. Explains SendHub’s co-founder Ash Rust of the addition, “it’s just like a Shared Folder in Dropbox – you make one edit to a contact, and it’s pushed out to everyone else who has access to it.” The recipients can either read or edit the contact group, given the permissions set by the sender.

SendHub has been continuing its rapid growth, and has now sent 5 million messages on its platform, up from 1 million in July. And it’s now sending 2 million messages per month – significantly higher than the 300,000+ the company reported in late June. It has also grown its user base from 5,000 to 25,000 during that same time, including both free and paid users. “Our monthly active number is about 75% of our total – that’s people who have taken an action in the last 30 days,” explains Rust, breaking down the numbers. “And we try to look at conversion over a six-month period. For active users who have been with us for six months or more, that’s where we see conversion at 11%,” he says.

Read the full article at Techcrunch

Pathjoy (YC S10) makes a maid service for the masses with easy web booking, now launched in the SF Bay Area

Adora Cheung, co-founder and CEO of Pathjoy, said her goal is to make maid service “ubiquitous” — a basic service for a broad audience, rather than a luxury for the rich.

To make that happen, Cheung and her brother/co-founder Albert are offering four main twists on the traditional cleaning service model. First, she said Pathjoy is more affordable, charging only $20 an hour, compared to the $40 charged by most other cleaning services. (The default apartment cleaning on Pathjoy takes 2.5 hours, so it would cost $50.) Second, it’s more convenient, because you can book, cancel, and reschedule cleanings from the Pathjoy website, rather than having to call. Third, Pathjoy performs a background check on every cleaner, then bonds, insures, and trains them, so you’ve got some assurances of high-quality service.

Those are probably the important points for the customers, but Cheung said there’s a fourth goal — making sure the cleaners are well-treated too.


Even though it’s officially launching in the press today, the Pathjoy site started offering cleaning in the Bay Area back in July. Cheung said the site had “hundreds” of customers last month, and that it’s doubling or tripling every month.

Read the full article on Techcrunch

Snapjoy (YC S11) launches its iOS app, making it easy to browse all the photos in your life

I’ve been using Y Combinator service Snapjoy for some time now to host all of my photos and I absolutely love it. What I dig about it so much is that it lets me go back and see all of my photos that I’ve uploaded in a lovely timeline view, something that came out before Facebook’s own Timeline.

The last time you heard from me about Snapjoy, I was playing around with its iOS app, which was in private beta. I snuck out some screenshots because I’m a photo geek and luckily they weren’t too mad. Having said that, the app is now available to the world, and it’s even better than when I shared it with you last time.

First, head on over to Snapjoy and sign up if you haven’t already. Then, import all of your photos from services like Flickr and Instagram, or upload them from your hard drive. Or all of the above.

Now download the app for iOS.

Read the full article on Techcrunch

Perfect Audience (YC S11) launches self-service Facebook ad retargeting

Perfect Audience, a five-person startup based in Mountain View, Calif. and Chicago, recently received $1.1 million in seed round funding from a variety of venture capital firms and angel investors; not only in the U.S., but from others around the world.

Brad Flora, Perfect Audience president and co-founder, refers to the platform as an AdWords-like tool for Facebook, because the do-it-yourself platform allows anyone to sign up and use the platform within 6 minutes or less.

A summer project to help marketers place banner ads across the Web from a DYI platform turned into the Facebook retargeting platform after Flora gained access to Facebook Exchange. Tests revealed that the cost per click on Facebook was sometimes about 40 times better than the CPC across the Web.

Flora points to a brand getting a $1.65 cost per client from Google remarketing vs. 75 cent cost per click from Perfect Audience. "Now they do Facebook retargeting through us at about a 29-cent CPC," he said.

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