I've seen the abandoned airport runway in front of me a dozen times, but this is my first time actually being here. I'm in Alameda, a city right across the bay from San Francisco, at the same disused Navy runway where the popular TV show MythBusters often does incredibly dangerous things with cars. Semi trucks have collided here head-on, and passenger vehicles have smashed into concrete barriers or gone careening through the nearby chain link fence. Hopefully none of those things are about to happen to me as I step into the backseat of a car controlled by a computer in the trunk. Did I mention the software isn't finished yet?
This is the first public demo of Cruise, a new technology and business from a Y Combinator startup aptly named Cruise Automation. It's designed as a computer-controlled driving system that can take over when you're behind the wheel. Turn it on like typical cruise control and it will keep the car going, but the added smarts will steer, brake, and avoid objects.
If you missed Startup School NY, you can now watch the talks on YouTube.
Partner, Y Combinator; Founder, FriendFeed; Creator of Gmail
Let’s say you’ve got a used car that you’d like to get rid of. You’ve basically got two options: Sell it to a used car dealer, or sell it yourself. The potential perils of getting ripped off by taking the first route have been well-documented with decades of “used car salesman” jokes. But selling a car by owner is no walk in the park either.
First you’ve got to figure out how much to list the car for. Then you’ve got to craft an attention-grabbing “for sale” post on forums such as Craigslist and Cars.com. Then the real fun (aka torture) begins: dealing with the wide world of used car buyers. You’re likely to get contacted by a lot of used car dealers trying to convince you to work with them anyway. And when it comes to dealing with the general public, “I don’t have $5,000, but I do have a rusty speedboat/collection of 1980s comic books/old riding lawnmower” are not unusual bartering offers to receive. It can be a weeks- or months-long process, and a major headache.A new startup called Carlypso is offering another option. Essentially a concierge service for selling cars by owner, Carlypso is a service that takes care of all the above issues that come with selling a personal used car, and much more.
Meet Front, a service to collaborate, comment, assign and reply to those pesky emails that you receive on your support@, jobs@ or contact@ email addresses. Launching today, Front is part of Y Combinator‘s current batch.
“With Front, we want you to receive all your company’s incoming feeds in our app and collaborate in real time on these requests,” co-founder and CEO Mathilde Collin told me in a phone interview. “It’s a bit like an online receptionist.”
Congratulations to the Immunity Project team!
Over the weekend we learned that Vaccine published our article on eliciting cytotoxic T-lymphocyte responses from synthetic vectors containing one or two epitopes in a C57BL/6 mouse model using peptide-containing biodegradable microspheres and adjuvants. In layperson terms, this article covers the work we did in partnership with Microsoft Research to show that our biodegradable microsphere based vaccine can elicit an immune response in mice. Download a PDF of our article or view it online at Science Direct.
This is a big step forward for us. Our mission at Immunity Project is to develop a free HIV vaccine. In order to do this we need to prove that our experimental data supports our approach every step of the way. A great way for us to do this is to publish our work in a respected peer reviewed journal such as Vaccine.
Guesty (formerly SuperHost) wants to take the hassle out of vacation rentals, and now it has $1.5 million in seed funding to help it with that goal. The Y Combinator-backed startup is a software-based property management service that helps individuals renting out rooms, apartments, or other listings on Airbnb (and soon, elsewhere), by screening guests, handling key drops, cleaning, guest transportation, maintenance and more.
The company was started in December 2013 by twin brothers Amiad and Koby Soto, both of whom had listed their own properties on Airbnb before, and knew of the challenges that involved first-hand.
Read the full story on TechCrunch
HackerRank, the technical recruitment platform and code-challenge community, today announced that it has raised a $9.2 million Series B funding round led by Khosla Ventures and Battery Ventures. Other participants in this round include Motorola Mobility VP Peeyush Ranjan, former Facebook senior director of engineering Greg Badros and Facebook director of product management Dan Rubinstein.
It looks like this is going to be the year of the “Uber for things that aren’t rides” in Silicon Valley. While the market for similar services — like shipping packages or grocery shopping — is already starting to develop, the concept is starting to move onto totally unrelated markets. Bannerman, for instance, is a startup in the Y Combinator Summer 2014 class that sounds a lot like “Uber for security.”
With Bannerman, you can visit their site, give a date, address, and the number of security guards you need, and within 30 minutes they’ll have everything set up. Not quite Uber-level speed, but way less of a hassle than trying to find and arrange similar services through a private security company.
The future of grocery delivery is arriving ahead of schedule.
Instacart, the San Francisco startup that uses a distributed network of smartphone-equipped shoppers to provide home delivery from supermarkets in as little as an hour, has raised $44 million in new funding, bringing the total amount of capital it’s raised to $55 million.