Sign up for early access to Buttercoin (YC S12) — a new, easy and trustworthy USD-Bitcoin exchange

A new start-up based in Palo Alto, California is hoping to make a splash in bitcoin trading. They’re Buttercoin, and this venture capitalist-backed service has just launched early access to their platform.

The soft launch of Buttercoin comes just hours following Mt. Gox’s filing for bankruptcy protection, signaling that better things are on the horizon for traders.

Read more at newsbtc

Sign up for early access — Buttercoin 

Meta SpaceGlasses (YC S13) covered in Sydney Morning Herald, releases new prototype video of hand tracking

An Australian and Israeli who met in a university maths class in Sydney are taking on Google with augmented reality glasses they say is the computer of the future.

Google computer engineers on salaries of $US250,000 ($279,673) think the project is so exciting that they've left the tech giant to work at the start-up for less pay, lured by stock options that could net them a windfall if the company is acquired or lists publicly. Former NASA and Microsoft employees have also joined the project.

...

Looking like a cross between ski goggles and Ray-Bans, Meta SpaceGlasses allow wearers to see and interact with virtual objects in 3D space with their hands. Wearers can see the non-existent objects thanks to tiny projectors in the glasses, while sensors detect hands and allow interaction.

"The easiest way to think of it is if you've seen the movie Iron Man," says Sand. "He walks around the room and there are holograms and he can pick them up and grab them and manipulate them. That's what we're building. And it's all in a pair of glasses."

Read more in the Sydney Morning Herald

Y Combinator Backs Its Next Nonprofit, Coding Education Program CodeNow (YC W14)

"CodeNow is announcing that it has joined incubator Y Combinator — a move that founder and CEO Ryan Seashore said will help with the programming education nonprofit’s ambitious plans for growth.

CodeNow aims to teach programming basics to high schoolers, particularly girls, ethnic minorities, and other underrepresented groups. It launched in Washington, D.C. in 2011 before expanding to New York City and San Francisco last year." 

Read the full story on TechCrunch

Summon (YC W12) is the first transportation app fully licensed as a TNC in California

From the Summon / InstantCab blog:

Today, Summon has become the first Transportation Network Company (TNC) to receive apermit from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) allowing it to operate in California.

On-demand transportation apps form a new, exciting, and growing industry. California was the first state in the nation to pave the way for legalization of these types of apps, and Summon was the first company to meet each of California’s requirements and obtain an operating permit. Last September, the CPUC issued a decision requiring TNCs to obtain insurance to protect riders and members of the public in the event of an incident, conduct stringent background checks on drivers, have driver vehicles inspected, and complete several other safety-related steps to operate in California. 

42 (YC W14), An Online Platform Bringing Big Data To Brick-And-Mortar Retailers, Makes Its Debut

"Y Combinator-backed online retailer platform and former TechCrunch Disrupt participant42, is today making its official debut. The company, founded only a year ago, is working to turn raw point-of-sale data into actionable insights for brick-and-mortar businesses that can help them boost their sales.

This includes details about a store’s best customers or which products are top sellers, among other things.

The data is something that retailers have access to, but may have a hard time making sense of on their own. Or they may have limited resources to do the kind of analysis that allows them to draw the insights 42′s software-based solution can provide. Retailers might try importing their own data into Excel, which can crash and cause headaches, for example. Meanwhile, their other options for this kind of analysis have traditionally been more expensive, custom software integrations."

Read the full story on TechCrunch

Superhost (YC W14) Is A Property Management Service For Airbnb Listings

"Airbnb is officially no longer just a cute way to make some extra cash by renting out a spare room in your apartment. It’s a big business now. And like most other big businesses, it’s entered a period where managed services have emerged to support super users on the platform.

Enter Superhost, which has quietly emerged as a property management service for Airbnb hosts.

Superhost reduces the pain associated with managing your Airbnb listing — like updating your listing’s calendar and responding to guest emails, as well as setting up cleaning services for your listing in between guest stays. That’s important because the faster a host responds to a guest request, the more likely they are to stay at a certain place. And cleanliness is increasingly becoming an important part of boosting ratings of your listing." 

Read the full story on TechCrunch

Ambition (YC W14) Offers A Fantasy Football-Style Approach To Motivating Sales Teams

"Ambition says it’s taking the process of tracking and motivating sales teams beyond white boards and gongs.

The startup, which is part of the current class at incubator Y Combinator, launched its product last August, but has been “flying under the radar” in the press until now, said co-founder Travis Truett. He compared Ambition’s approach to fantasy football — he’s hoping Ambition users will be excited to log in every day and see how their team is doing.

Unlike fantasy football, however, Ambition isn’t tracking professional athletes competing against each other in imaginary matches. (At least, that’s how I remember fantasy football — it’s been a long time since someone strong-armed me into participating.) Instead, it looks at the performance of different sales teams within the company, allowing them to compete for limited “seasons”, with rewards for the winners.

Each team member is assigned an “ambition” score. The specific metrics that are used to calculate the score can be customized for each company and each position, so Truett suggested that it’s a way to compare people who are doing different positions."

Sam Altman for President

I'm delighted to announce that Sam Altman has agreed to become president of Y Combinator starting next batch.  I'll continue to do office hours with startups, but Sam is going to lead YC.

Why the change?  Because YC needs to grow, and I'm not the best person to grow it.  Sam is what YC needs at this stage in its evolution.

I'm convinced there's a fundamental change happening in the way work gets done.  It's becoming normal to start a startup.  There will be a lot more startups in 10 years than there are now, and if YC is going to fund them, we'll have to grow proportionally bigger.

Of all the people we've met in the 9 years we've been working on YC, Jessica and I both feel Sam is the best suited for that task. He's one of those rare people who manage to be both fearsomely effective and yet fundamentally benevolent–which, though few realize it, is an essential quality in early stage investing.  Sam is one of the smartest people I know, and understands startups better than perhaps anyone I know, including myself.  He's the one I go to when I want a second opinion about a hard problem.  And his association with Y Combinator is only about a month shorter than mine, because he was one of the founders in the first batch we funded, in 2005.

So when Sam became available in 2012, I started trying to recruit him.  It took me over a year, but eventually I succeeded.

YC should feel the same to the startups we fund. Office hours are the way founders interact with me, and I'll still be doing those.  In fact, since I'll only be doing office hours and not also worrying about running YC, I'll probably be able to give better advice.

Sonalight (YC W12) team relaunches as a new mobile analytics service Amplitude

Amplitude, a Y Combinator-backed mobile analytics service aiming to take on the likes of Flurry and Mixpanel by offering advanced features at more competitive prices, is officially making its public debut today ahead of YC’s Demo Day. And the company has actually gone through this process before, as it turns out – it’s the same team from the text-by-voice Android app Sonalight, which was in the YC Winter 2012 cohort.

Explains Amplitude co-founder Spenser Skates, Sonalight did “decently” well, reaching hundreds of thousands of downloads, and some number of paying customers, but it never really became a mainstream success. However, the team, as a part of the process of building their own mobile app, had also spent a lot of time creating their own tools for analytics in order to examine their data in custom ways.

Other developers in Y Combinator were soon asking for that same product, after getting a look. So the team pivoted from Sonalight, and built what’s now called Amplitude.

Read on TechCrunch

Benchling (YC S12) Is Modernizing Software For Biotech Labs

"After the last two decades of consumer Internet and mobile innovation, is biotech or bioinformatics the next wave?

There are a handful of San Francisco-based startups that cross the bridge between the worlds of biotechnology and computer science.

Benchling is one of them.

Backed with about $900,000 from YCombinator, SV Angel, Founders Fund’s angel investing fund, Draper Associates and other angels, the company offers DNA editing and analysis software to biotech labs and researchers. With the entire team coming from MIT with skills in both computer science and biology, they’re competing against older, more cumbersome software solutions in the space."