SendHub (YC W12) public launches today -- Offers simple SMS for businesses, grew 3x in January and 45% this month alone

Y Combinator and Start Fund-backed startup SendHub, which offers a simple SMS solution for businesses, is killing it…and it never “officially” launched. Instead, the company soft-launched a couple of months ago with zero fanfare, and already has several hundred customers, 40% of which are active monthly users, sending some 30,000 SMS text messages per month.

Although generating revenue through its premium services for businesses, SendHub is also making teachers’ lives easier, by providing them with free tools to communicate with students and parents via SMS.

The big draw for SendHub has nothing to do with buzzwords (aren’t you sick of local, social, photo-sharing apps, anyway?), and everything to do with building something people actually need: an affordable, easy-to-use alternative to today’s business-focused messaging platforms. In January, the startup grew its user base by 3x, and so far this month, it’s grown another 45%.


Accel, SV Angel Put $1.5M In Online Bank Payments Platform GoCardless (YC S11)

If you’ve ever set up an automatic ‘Bill Pay’ feature on your bank account to pay off your utility and cable bills, then you’ve taken advantage of a nifty feature called an ‘interbank transfer’, also known as an ‘Automated Clearing House’ payment. Once they’re set up, they tend to be very convenient — the amount of the bill is automatically deducted from your account, saving you the hassle of having to write yet another check (or fill out another online form) each month. Merchants benefit from this system as well, because their fees are significantly lower than those that are charged by the credit card companies.

Thing is, this feature is typically only available for paying bills from big companies — it’s rare to see a smaller online merchant that’s offering these automatic transfers, because the process for them to set it up is complicated and costly. Until now. Y Combinator-backed startup GoCardless is launching today as a UK-based service that allows smaller merchants to easily set up interbank transfers for customers.

Part of Y Combinator’s Summer 2011 class, GoCardless was founded in 2010 by Oxford graduates Hiroki Takeuchi, Tom Blomfield and Matt Robinson. GoCardless is also announcing a $1.5 million round led by Accel Partners, Passion Capital, SV Angel, Start Fund, and Y Combinator. Proceeds will go towards building out the team and product, and expanding the merchant base.

Social Ridesharing Startup Ridejoy (YC S11) Raises $1.3M From Freestyle Capital, Lerer Ventures

Ridejoy, a YC-backed startup that brings people together via ridesharing on long-distance trips, has raised $1.3 million in seed funding led by Freestyle Capital
with Lerer Ventures, Start Fund, SV Angel, Founder Collective, Y Combinator, Ben Ling, Owen Van Natta and Joshua Schachter participating.

The service allows drivers who are already planning to take a roadtrip to ‘sell’ their extra seats to other users. Drivers earn money on trips they were planning on taking anyway, and Ridejoy passengers get a door-to-door lift, in some cases for less than they’d pay for a bus ticket.

Embark NYC is the #1 MTA award-winning best app to reduce your subway headaches

The MTA has spoken: Embark NYC is the app that can best help reduce your subway headaches.

Embark was selected by a panel of 9 judges as the grand prize winner of the MTA App Quest competition. The contest, which was announced in July, challenged developers to use MTA data to help New Yorkers navigate the transit system.

Forty-two apps vied for the honor of best app.

Embark features service advisories and schedules, displays the closest station to your location, and allows you to view service changes by tapping your destination on a map. The app is available for iPhone and Android users. The four-man Embark team also makes transit apps for other cities, including Philadelphia, Boston, and Washington, D.C.


Inside Stripe, The PayPal Competitor Backed By PayPal Founders Peter Thiel, Elon Musk (and YC!)

A great in-depth look at Stripe:

Off of Ramona Street in Palo Alto, down a narrow alcove lined with potted plants and flowers, is a small office hidden by hanging leaves that passersby might confuse for a misplaced country cottage. Inside, Patrick and John Collison, brothers in their early 20s from Limerick, Ireland, are punching away at their keyboards. Crumpled bags of chips are on a nearby table; the hum of a maid's vacuum is heard from another room. This is the humble headquarters of Stripe, a startup with a decidedly not-so-humble mission: to become the next PayPal.

Don't let the implausibility of that mission throw you: Stripe is backed by Sequoia Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, and--how's this for irony--PayPal cofounders Peter Thiel and Elon Musk. A source at Google Checkout recently told me Stripe is one startup the company has definitely had its eye on in the Valley. And Paul Graham has boasted to Fast Company that he believes Stripe is the next big thing. (Y Combinator backed Patrick's first startup, Auctomatic, which he sold for $5 million at the age of 19.)

Read the full story at »

Congratulations Crunchies Winners! Dropbox (S07) Is The Best Overall Startup

Dropbox Crunchie

This year’s fifth annual Crunchies Awards has just finished up at the classy Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco, and it was a smashing success. We poked fun #humblebraggers, got cussed at by Siri, honored former TechCrunch CEO Heather Harde, and gave wild monkey trophies to tech’s greatest innovators. If you missed the event or our livestream, check out the full list of nominees and winners below.

The world owes a thank you to Jack Dorsey, the “Founder Of The Year” and leader of Twitter, winner of “Biggest Social Impact”. His poise and dedication helped keep the microblogging service online so it could aid revolutions. And a big congrats to Dropbox on its win for “Best Overall Startup”. The company’s young founders Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi (from right to left below) demonstrated the power of the freemium model, and had the guts to turn down a 9 figure acquisition bid.

Congrats Dropbox!!

SocialCam is the latest alum startup returning to Y Combinator

Having spun out of online broadcaster last year, SocialCam has managed to get a strong footing on iOS and Android. It passed 3 million downloads in December, and it’s now sending 3 million notifications a day, with video uploads and following counts up by 700% and 800% in the last few months, according to cofounder Michael Seibel.

But the three-man team is going back into Y Combinator, the early-stage seed fund that had grown out of, instead of taking the more obvious routes of raising venture funding or simply continuing to build on its own.

Welcome Geoff

We're happy to announce that Y Combinator has recruited Geoff Ralston as our newest partner.

I've known Geoff for 13 years.  The company he founded, Four11, was acquired by Yahoo just before Viaweb was. Their product, RocketMail, became Yahoo Mail.  Geoff was in engineering at Yahoo before running a business unit and eventually becoming Chief Product Officer.

More recently he was CEO of Lala, which was acquired by Apple in 2009.  He's a perfect match for YC because he's smart and energetic, and yet informal and a super nice guy.  He's also a founding partner at Imagine K12, the educational technology incubator,  where he's going to continue being a full partner with our enthusiastic support.

DrChrono (YC W11) Raises $2.8 Million to Digitize Doctor's Visits

DrChrono, a start-up in Silicon Valley, is hoping to simplify that with an application that helps both doctors and patients track electronic health records and documents.

“Doctors are beginning to adopt iPads and use them as clipboards,” said Michael Nusimow, the chief executive and co-founder of the company. “They don’t want to be distracted by typing on a computer when talking to patients.”


On Thursday, the company announced it raised $2.8 million in a seed round of funding to continue building out its service. The venture capital came from Yuri Milner, the Russian tycoon who has invested in a number of high-profile start-ups, including Twitter, Spotify and Facebook, and several other noted figures in the tech world, including Matt Cutts, an engineer who works on search at Google. Previously, the company raised $1.3 million from a number of angel investors, including Y-Combinator, Paul Buchheit and 500 Startups.

Y Combinator now accepting applications for Summer 2012 batch

From the words of a recent alum, Nicholas Bergson-Shilcock of Hackruiter

I've said this before, and so have many others, but it's worth repeating: Choosing to apply to YC was one of the best decisions of my life.

Some reasons I love YC:

- My cofounder and I were in the Summer 2010 batch. We've changed our idea, made mistakes, and failed repeatedly. Yet in all that time, pg and co have had and continue to have our backs 100%.

- One thing I've learned in life is that who you choose to surround yourself with matters immensely. Doing YC means surrounding yourself with great people.

- Every single YC partner is a genuinely lovely person. The other week we got a heartwarming and encouraging email from Kate, YC's architect.

- The YC network is unparalleled. In the past week, I've relied on it half a dozen times.

- I don't know how put this, but YC has taste. Where others are political or indirect or care about appearances or do things without thinking about them, pg and co are the opposite: Direct, thoughtful, and good. YC is good in much the same ways pg's essays are good, if that makes any sense.

I cannot recommend YC highly enough.

Get details about how to apply here.