Zapier (YC S12) launches 3rd party developer platform - Now any app can zap data to 60+ services

Zapier, the Y Combinator-backed service that allows you to automate common tasks on the web and sync data between web apps, just announced the launch of its third-party developer platform. With Zapier, even non-technical users can easily create connections between the more than 60 apps the service currently supports. This means, for example, that you can push a notice to your Basecamp account whenever you sell a ticket on Eventbrite or get an SMS alert every time somebody signs up for your Campaign Monitor or AWeber email marketing campaigns.

With its new development platform, the Mountain View-based company says, developers will be able to easily add their own apps to the service instead of having to wait for the Zapier team itself to support them. Zapier currently supports over 60 services, including popular tools like Asana, Dropbox, Campfire, MailChimp, Salesforce, Stripe, Shopify and Zendesk. Developers will be able to hook into all of these apps, as well as any new ones Zapier itself adds in the future. This, says Zapier co-founder Wade Foster, will save “app developers weeks to months in developer time building integrations and lets an app developer spend more time focusing on their own apps.”

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WePay (YC S09) has a secret weapon: Better fraud detection = merchants get money faster

Wade Roush reports:

[WePay] has realized that its secret weapon—the thing it can do better than PayPal or any other online payment provider—is its ability to sign up new merchants quickly, without lots of paperwork or time-consuming background checks.

In fact, its onboarding process is so fast that other Web businesses that need to help their users process money—such as Fundable, a Kickstarter-like crowdfunding site for startups—are signing up by the dozens to use WePay as their payment infrastructure.

According to Clerico and Aberman, the startup is able to offer these quick sign-ups because it has figured out a fast and reliable way to evaluate whether new customers pose a fraud risk. Rather than running slow and expensive credit checks and other inquiries, it simply looks at applicants’ social networking profiles on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other sites. Says Aberman: “The benefit of digging into Facebook and Twitter is that when a new user signs up, they don’t have any transaction history on WePay. But they do have a history on other networks. We can see goodness or guilt by association.”

That means WePay can make a quick decision about whether a new applicant might be a fraudster. Assuming they’re not, it can enable them to receive money as soon as the day after they sign up.

Read the full article on Xconomy

HelloFax (YC W11) launches HelloSign, the easiest way to do e-signatures

The founders at HelloFax needed a simpler way to help customers get their documents signed. And so they developed a digital signature tool. In short time, they realized they had stumbled into a new space. The young YCombinator startup found that digital signing of documents was not just a feature but a market.

Today HelloFax is breaking into the digital signature category with a free service called HelloSign.

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Hiptype (YC S12) launches a Google Analytics-style service for e-books

A new startup called Hiptype wants to bring the bring all the analytics data that have become standard on the Web to the world of e-books.

Hiptype’s co-founders, James Levy (CEO) and Sohail Prasad (CTO), describe the product as “Google Analytics for e-books.” They say they were collaborating on an e-book of their own about big data, and they were surprised to find that the information available via the big e-book stores is limited to download numbers/sales, user ratings, and reviews. There are other products trying to provide more detailed analytics, but they require publishers to go through a specific store.

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Amicus (YC S12) helps nonprofits reach volunteers through software, boosts participation by 50%

The process of recruiting volunteers is a pain felt by the entire American electorate: citizens are quick to hang up on complete strangers begging for their time and campaign organizations, as a result, are perpetually short staffed. Amicus, a Y-Combinator nonprofit volunteer-recruitment platform, may have found a clever way to ensure that citizens are only contacted by trusted friends. Amicus scours public and private databases and matches names up with their volunteers’ facebook friends, assigning volunteer outreach only to those who have a personal bond between the caller. “Amicus’ friend-to-friend connections enhance our traditional outreach program and make it easier to mobilize our supporters online,” said Jared Schwartz, Director of Digital strategies, AFL-CIO, the largest federation of unions in the US.

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NewsBlur (YC S12) takes feed reading back to the basics

Every few months or so, somebody will declare the death of RSS, and with it the death of old-school feed readers like Google Reader. Don’t tell that to Samuel Clay, though, the founder of NewsBlur, a web-based feed reader that’s in Y Combinator’s current batch of startups. NewsBlur has many interesting features besides the pure feed reading experience, but at first glance, the web app feels like a throwback to the heady early days of feed readers a few years ago. In addition to the basic feed-reading experience, however, the service also lets you curate your favorite stories on Tumblr-like “Blur Blogs,” which bring a strong social aspect to the service.

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PayDragon (YC S11) raises $1.35M so hungry people can skip lines

Y Combinator alumni and line-hating mobile purchasing startup PayDragon is announcing a $1.35 million seed financing today. The round included Rustic Canyon Ventures, Ron Conway’s SV Angel, Yuri Milner, Mark Schwartz, and a follow-on investment by Y Combinator.

PayDragon is based on the premise that waiting in line to purchase items is neither good for the customer or the merchant. Rather, the startup allows merchants to offer one-click mobile ordering (including payment) and send push notifications when the item is ready for pickup. Users skip to the front of the line, receive their item, and get on with their lives. The premise is being applied solely within the restaurant space, but future options are limitless.

Zencoder (YC W10) acquired by Brightcove for $30M

[Brightcove] announced that it has agreed to acquire cloud encoding vendor Zencoder, creator of the popular Video.js HTML5 video player. Zencoder has more than 1,000 paying customers for its encoding services, including PBS, Scripps Networks Interactive, IGN, SmugMug, Yammer, TwitVid, College Humor, Funny or Die, and others. The open source Video.js player is used on more than 24,000 websites.

Brightcove is paying $30 million for Y Combinator alum Zencoder, and plans to continue to operate the company separate from its core business. Founded in 2010, Zencoder raised just $2 million, mostly through a Series A round raised in April 2011.

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Also read the announcement on the Zencoder blog

Vayable (YC S12) lists 3,000 travel experiences in 600 cities worldwide, launches concierge service

We first covered Vayable when it launched to the public just over a year ago as a way to find interesting new travel experiences around the world. It’s been growing fast since then, adding new guides at a frantic pace. And it’s also been adding new features to make finding and booking unique experiences even easier, and paying for them a lot less painless.


Vayable has just three full-time employees today, but it has managed to get about 3,000 experiences available in more than 600 cities worldwide in its marketplace. (Compare that to last April, when it had just 70 experiences listed.) In San Francisco, it just added the ability to rent out Alcatraz for the night (COOL!) and it will also play host to a Startup Crawl on September 15, which will hit up the offices of popular local startups such as Airbnb, Dropbox, Eventbrite, Weebly, and Scribd. Vayable recently joined Y Combinator, and is part of the incubator program’s summer 2012 class.

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FundersClub (YC S12) launches a new way for startups to get funded

FundersClub is going to change how companies get funded. Today it launches a website designed to let anyone with as little as $1000 make equity investments in startups and earn money if they succeed.

For now you have to be an accredited investor with a net worth over $1 million or yearly earnings over $200,000 to use FundersClub. But an industry source familiar with the Y Combinator startup gave me an exclusive rundown of its whole roadmap, including that if the JOBS Act goes into effect or FundersClub pays to set up a mutual fund, literally anyone will be allowed to use it to invest and profit if a startup successfully exits.

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