MemSQL (YC W11) launches to make your database fly

With Facebook engineers, it appears the high-performance database apple doesn’t far fall from the tree. On Monday, former Facebookers Eric Frenkiel and Nikita Shamgunov (who also spent six years as a senior engineer on Microsoft SQL Server) launched a startup called MemSQL that seeks to speed relational databases by taking a page out of the Facebook playbook. The company has raised a $5 million in venture capital thus far from First Round Capital, IA Ventures, NEA, SV Angel, Y Combinator, Paul Buchheit, Ashton Kutcher, Max Levchin and Aaron Levie.

Read the full story on GigaOm

Two New Partners: Kirsty Nathoo and Carolynn Levy

We're delighted to announce that Y Combinator has two new partners: Kirsty Nathoo and Carolynn Levy.

Kirsty has already worked for YC for several years and by making her a partner and CFO we're simply recognizing what had already become de facto the case.  She runs everything to do with money at YC.

Carolynn joins us from Wilson Sonsini, where she had been our lawyer for something like 6 years. We'd been trying to recruit her for a while and we're delighted she finally said yes.

With the addition of Kirsty and Carolynn, YC has now grown to 11 partners total.

Hipmunk (YC S10) raises $15M Series B from IVP and Ignition

We’ve got fantastic news today and are excited to share it with all of you whether you’re a loyal fan, travel enthusiast, part of the tech and investment community or just part of the greater hipmunk family. Two months shy of our two-year anniversary, we are thrilled to announce we’ve raised another round of venture capital—this time led by Institutional Venture Partners (IVP). This round, our Series B, will total $15M and includes a re-up from our Series A lead, Ignition Partners. The Forbes Midas List regular and general partner at IVP, Todd Chaffee, will join our board as the fourth member.

When we launched in August 2010, we were a fledgling Y Combinator startup with just Steve and me as co-founders. We hired a few more engineers, and in February 2011, we announced our first round of institutional funding from Ignition Partners. The amazing Brad Silverberg from Ignition joined our board then, and we also gathered the ex-Expedia “mafia” (Rich Barton, Eric Blachford, and Simon Breakwell) who have acted as advisors and provided a wealth of travel industry knowledge. 

Read the full article at the Hipmunk Blog

Flutter (YC W12) raises $1.4M from Andreessen Horowitz, NEA to bring Kinect-like gestures to all webcams

Flutter, the startup that launched this past spring out of Y Combinator’s Winter 2012 class, has closed on $1.4 million in seed funding from Andreessen Horowitz,NEA, and Spring Ventures, along with Start Fund and a handful of individual angel investors.

The cash will be put toward further scaling out Flutter’s team and its technology, which provides gesture detection and recognition from standard webcam devices. Flutter’s first app, which is currently available for the Mac, lets you control the play function on media apps such as iTunes, Spotify and Quicktime by simply waving your hand at your computer.

Read the full article on Techcrunch

ColourLovers (YC W10) raises $1.3M from SV Angel, Crunchfund, slated to launch Creative Market

Earlier this year, ColourLovers founders Aaron Epstein, Chris Williams and Darius A Monsef IV (a.k.a. Bubs) launched Creative Market in private beta to give its community of color and template-creating designers a place to sell their digital content. And, today, they’re announcing that they’ve closed a second round of funding to support the impending launch of Creative Market. (Which Monsef says is slated for the next few weeks.)

The $1.3 million in new funding comes from new investors, which include SV Angel, CrunchFund, Longworth, Ludlow Ventures, and a number of YC alums, and brings the startup’s total funding to $2.3 million. Existing investors, like Atlas Ventures, Morado Ventures, 500 Startups, Seraph Group, and Zelkova Ventures also contributed to the round.

Read the full article on Techcrunch

WSJ says FutureAdvisor (YC S10) makes saving for your retirement approachable

How often do you tinker with your retirement savings? Many people think about this when starting a job or opening a 401(k), but sometimes not again until they are ready to retire. According to financial advisers, that's too late.

This week, I forced myself to look at accounts I rarely monitor as I tested, a website founded by two former Microsoft engineers who are also a registered investment adviser and chartered financial analyst, respectively. They wanted to create an easy way for people to manage their retirement savings, primarily using index funds, and they based the site's suggestions on what they consider to be the best practices in the industry and in academia.

FutureAdvisor, which has no ads, bills itself as a free alternative to paying a lot for financial advice from professionals, who often charge a 1% annual fee or work on commission. 

Read the full article on the Wall Street Journal

Exec (YC W12) raises $3.3M round led by Sam Altman

Sam Altman, who was CEO of Loopt, which was recently acquired by Green Dot, led the round. “He’s been doing bigger investments lately,” Kan said.

Other investors include Stripe co-founder Patrick Collison, Parse co-founder Tikhon Bernstam, Gmail creator and Y Combinator partner Paul Buchheit, Google board member Ram Shriram, Matt Ocko, Delicious creator Josh Schachter and others. In total, there were about 25 people in the round.

Why did he do it this way? “I don’t typically need that much to test a business concept and we had a lot of people who were interested,” he said.

Humble Bundle (YC W11) Launches New Flagship "Pay What You Want" Sale

In a Humble Bundle promotion, customers can pay whatever they want for a collection of downloadable games, with a customizable portion of the proceeds going to charity. The five games and game soundtracks in "Humble Indie Bundle V" have a retail value of $110, but for two weeks, customers can pay whatever they want to get them.

Humble Indie Bundle V features five incredible games, including: Psychonauts, LIMBO, Amnesia: The Dark Descent, and Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP. If you choose to pay more than the average price, you will also receive Bastion! Each game comes with its soundtrack in both lossless (FLAC) and MP3 formats.

Each of these DRM-free games works on Mac, Windows, and Linux, and can optionally be redeemed on Steam. Bundle buyers can also benefit the Child's Play Charity and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, non-profits doing excellent work in the name of gamers worldwide.

Find out more about the deal

GoCardless (YC S11) launches PayLinks, a for payments

GoCardless, the Y Combinator-backed startup founded in 2010 by Oxford graduates Hiroki Takeuchi, Tom Blomfield and Matt Robinson, is today launching a new product called PayLinks which aims to be something like a for payments. With its dead simple interface, anyone can create a shortened, tweet-friendly link in around 60 seconds, the company claims, allowing you to start collecting money online immediately.

These payments can either be one-off requests (throw in on the keg!), regular/subscription-based (subscribe to my blog!), or pre-authorized. The latter, which makes sense for B2B scenarios, lets a company collect a pre-authorized amount over a pre-determined period of time.

Read the full article at Techcrunch