Shift (YC S14) Is Developing A Debit Card That Lets You Spend Digital Currency, Loyalty Points And Regular Money

In the San Francisco Bay Area and elsewhere in the world, 100 people are testing out a debit card that lets them pay with bitcoin and Ripple, and, in the future, regular money and loyalty points. These users are part of a pilot program run by the Y Combinator-backed startup called Shift Payments, a company working to make it as easy to spend digital currencies, cryptocurrencies and loyalty points as it is to spend regular, fiat money.

Shift was founded by Meg NakamuraEugene Otto, and Greg Kidd – a team with backgrounds in payments, telecom and regulation, making them an ideal group for tackling something as complex as bringing digital currencies and loyalty points into the offline world, where they’re attached to a “normal” debit card.

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A Reminder to Investors

Sam wrote about this in his recent blog post, but I've found that important and seemingly obvious things often bear repeating. So with Demo Day approaching, I'd like to make the following point explicit:

Y Combinator has a zero tolerance policy for inappropriate sexual or romantic behavior from investors toward founders.

Don't even think about doing it. I will find out. Y Combinator will not continue to work with you.

News also travels fast around the YC community. Past and future YC alumni will likely find out about your actions and find them equally unacceptable.

Nearly all the investors we know are completely upstanding and professional, but even one inappropriate incident is too many.

Theorem (YC S14) Is a Marketplace for Independent Fashion

At first, what Theorem does sounds like what a lot of other companies do: It’s an online marketplace for well-made, higher-end clothing and accessories. But Theorem comes with a very interesting twist: The price of each item is up for negotiation. Buying something on Theorem hearkens to the kind of back-and-forth haggling that’s been practiced in flea markets and bazaars for centuries, but brought online into the modern age and spruced up with a lot of smart technology.

At Theorem’s beta launch in April, the San Francisco-based startup had just two staffers — cofounders Ryan Jackson and Adam Roberts, pictured here — was completely bootstrapped, and only a handful of merchants had agreed to sell items through the site. But even in those early days, it was very apparent to me that Theorem had what it takes to be on to something big.

Rigetti Computing (YC S14) Raises $2.5M To Create Commercial Quantum Systems

Once confined to research labs and science fiction, quantum computing is finally reaching a point where researchers aren’t simply trying to find out what’s possible, but looking at how they can actually work the technology into commercial hardware.

Rigetti Computing, a member of the current Y Combinator batch, wants to be one of the companies that leads the effort to create an ecosystem around quantum computing. Founded by a former high-ranking researcher at IBM and Yale, the company plans to bring consistent performance improvements to the field through an iterative, simulation-driven prototyping process.

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Glowing Plant (YC S14) Is One Of Y Combinator’s Very First Biotech Startups

Long known for backing software plays, Y Combinator is starting to dip its toes into biotech.

In its latest batch is a new synthetic biology startup called Glowing Plant that blew away Kickstarter funding goals last year with plans to engineer — you guessed it — a glow-in-the-dark plant.

Glowing Plant’s aims are to build functional plants for the home that could repel insects or work as air fresheners. The inspiration behind the original glowing plant was to rethink street or nighttime lighting.

Impraise (YC S14) Makes Workplace Performance Reviews Less Painful

Performance reviews are a hassle for everyone involved. Supervisors have to deal with an onslaught of paperwork and meetings, but employees who only get assessments once or twice a year can often feel as if they are working in a vacuum.

A startup called Impraise wants to change the way workplaces approach performance reviews. Part of Y Combinator’s latest batch, Impraise is an app that lets co-workers share feedback as often as needed.

Steffen Maier says that he and Impraise’s other co-founders, Bas Kohnke, Filipe Dobreira, and Arnaud Camus, were inspired to create Impraise because of the lack of feedback they received at their previous jobs.

Parenthoods (YC S14) Debuts A Mobile Social Network Just For Moms & Dads

Becoming a parent is an amazing, life-changing experience, but it can also be one that’s isolating and lonely – especially if your pre-baby social activities involved spur-of-the moment invites, happy hours, and nights out on the town. Parenthoods, a new Y Combinator-backed mobile platform, wants to help with the social isolation parenthood can bring by offering a community for local moms and dads where they can connect with others like them right from their mobile phone.

The company was founded by Siobhan Quinn, a former Foursquare and Google product manager, and Jeni Axline, previously a Director of Production at Say Media. The two are longtime friends who first met at University of Washington, before relocating to San Francisco to work in the tech industry – an industry which today still struggles with gender diversity issues. A majority of tech companies today are founded and run by men, from the executive ranks on down – and that, ironically, includes a number of companies those catering to the “mommy” crowd.

Weave (YC S14) Adds Groups And Events To Its ‘Tinder For Networking’ App

Professional networking app Weave wants to help professionals find others that they’d like to meet with, through a double opt-in selection process. Now it’s making it easier for users going to events or part of professional organizations to find one another with a new feature being added to the app.

Weave takes the Tinder model of swiping left or right to indicate which people you’d like to meet with and applies it to professional networking. Like Tinder, it takes into account a user’s location to ensure that people who get matched up are actually able to have coffee or otherwise meet with one another.

You just download the app, link it to their LinkedIn account, and it will use the data there to generate a profile page. After that’s done, you can go to town swiping left and right and then message the folks you have mutual interest in meeting. It’s a pretty useful little tool that I’ve used to meet up with a few investors and founders that I wouldn’t have otherwise come across. Fun!

Now you can book a seat on a small-plane adventure through Flytenow (YC S14)

There’s an online sharing marketplace for everything these days. The latest vertical to pop up on our radar: private flights.

Boston startup Flytenow is working to do just that, and startup incubator Y Combinator is putting its money behind it as part of its current batch of startups.

The problem for folks who have a private pilot’s license is that flying alone can be expensive (both owning and renting a plane, as well as fuel costs). At the same time, lots of non-pilots would love to take some flights, either for fun or to get from one place to another.

To help both groups — pilots and would-be passengers — Flytenow has built a flight-booking site on which pilots post the trips, called “adventures,” they’re planning to take. They open these trips up to others might be interested in coming along and splitting the costs with them. It’s like posting on Facebook that you’re planning to drive to Los Angeles from San Francisco for a weekend getaway, and a friend or two asking to join and pitch in for gas and snacks money.

PicnicHealth (YC S14) Stores Your Medical Records In One Place And Delivers It To Your Doctor

Noga Leviner, who is diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, searched for a way to manage her records but she said most software tools for records management have been built for hospitals and doctors, and anything built for patients has to be done through manual entry. She was frustrated.

Taking matters into her own hands, Leviner co-founded PicnicHealth, a Y Combinator backed startup based in San Francisco. PicnicHealth makes it easy for people to deal with their medical records, and the service’s target demographic are cancer patients or people taking care of elderly patients.

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