Powered By IBM Watson, ROSS Intelligence (YC S15) Is Like Siri For Legal Knowledge

With each new law that passes or court ruling, the vat of legal knowledge in the world just keeps growing. Even the best legal scholar would have a hard time keeping abreast of it all -- and the current search engines on products like LexisNexis leave a lot to be desired.

ROSS Intelligence is a startup in our current class that is leveraging artificial intelligence to help people power through legal research efficiently and accurately.

TechCrunch's Kim-Mai Cutler wrote about ROSS Intelligence in a story published this week:

"Today, ROSS says that the market size for legal research software is about $8.4 billion per year, given the roughly 1.3 million lawyers in the U.S. and Canada.

'There are thousands of laws are being published each day,' said [ROSS co-founder Andrew] Arruda, who spent several years in legal research. 'But until recently, have our computers have had a very superficial understanding of natural language. ROSS pretty much mimics the human process of reading, identifies patterns in text, and provides contextualized answers with snippets from the document in question.'"

Read more in-depth about ROSS Intelligence and how it works in TechCrunch here.

Tenant Turner (YC S15) Helps Property Owners Quickly Fill Vacancies With Qualified Renters

Tenant Turner is a startup launching out of our current class with a software platform that helps property owners and property managers quickly and easily find quality tenants to rent out their available units.

According to Tenant Turner, around half of all tenant inquiries don’t meet a rental's minimum requirements. That means that property managers are often distracted with phone calls, emails, and showings that end up going nowhere. Tenant Turner helps cut through the noise, by scheduling showings only with tenant prospects that meet the owner's qualifications -- while still adhering to Fair Housing regulations and other laws.

TechCrunch's Kim-Mai Cutler wrote about how Tenant Turner works in a story today:

"Tenant Turner automatically lists properties on the top 20 listings sits. They also pre-qualify renters by verifying their incomes, pulling their credit reports and background checks and checking their rental history. 

They also ask renters basic questions to filter out candidates who don’t fit, like ones that have pets for no-pet properties. Then they coordinate property viewings, with text and e-mail reminders. Their prices start at $119 per rental listing, gradually go lower based on the number of listing credits purchased."

Read more about Tenant Turner, how it started, and how it fits into larger trends in the real estate market in TechCrunch here.

Mimir (YC S15) Wants To Help Colleges Create Better Software Engineers

Mimir is a startup launching out of our Summer 2015 class that's addressing some of the most common challenges seen by university and college Computer Science programs. Mimir has created a platform that brings the Computer Science classroom online and automates key tasks such as grading and student feedback.

VentureBeat's Ken Yeung wrote about Mimir in a story published today:

"Founded by Prahasith Veluvolu, Jacobi Petrucciani, and Colton Voege, Mimir enables professors to upload assignments each semester that students need to complete. Mimir will handle grading and then log the findings into a separate grade book system like Blackboard. The platform also tracks which students may need more tutoring and those who may be cheating or plagiarizing. Professors can set parameters for students as well as configure projects so the system will know how to grade appropriately.

...For Veluvolu, the founding of the company is specifically something that addressed his pain point: As a computer science student at Purdue University, the speed at which instructors provided feedback was frustrating. In all of his other courses, he said that it was automated and fast, but not in the computer science department — ironically, that one lagged behind."

Read more in-depth about Mimir in VentureBeat here.

Go1 (YC S15) Takes The Pain Out Of Company Onboarding And Compliance Training

Training courses are something that every company should provide, whether for teaching new team members about company culture, educating customers about how to use a product, or providing required lessons on HR issues such as discrimination and sexual harassment. But anyone who's sat through a corporate training session knows that they can be time-consuming, inefficient, and ineffective.

Launching this week out of our Summer 2015 class, Go1 aims to take the pain and expense out of the training that every company should be doing, by enabling each organization to create its own personalized web-based training portal.

TechCrunch's Christine Magee wrote about Go1 in a story published this morning:

"Founded by an Australian team of educators out of Oxford University, GO1 is applying some of the concepts proven by edtech startups, such as Coursera and Udemy, to employee training.

'For a lot of companies, compliance training is fairly ad-hoc,' says GO1 founder Andrew Barnes, who is a Rhodes scholar finishing up a masters in Education Technology at Oxford. 'It’s a really bad use of people’s time and it creates a sense of resentment toward the company, when really, training should be empowering the staff.'

Organizations using GO1 can customize their own white-labelled training portal by either adding courses from GO1’s marketplace or creating their own with company materials. Instead of a generic 50-slide PowerPoint presentation about why listening is important, a GO1 course might feature a TED Talk by an Army general followed by two multiple-choice questions about how his story applies to your job."
Read the full story, including details on Go1's current clients, in TechCrunch here, and participate in the related Hacker News discussion here.

GetScale (YC S15) Gives Hardware Companies Real-Time Quality Control For Their Factories

When hardware companies choose to manufacture their devices in third-party factories thousands of miles away, trust is paramount. Unfortunately, that trust often has to be blind. When it comes to identifying the cause of defects in end products, companies and factories often have to take each other at their word, with little hard data or evidence to discover what really went wrong.

GetScale is a company in our current class that helps foster more trust between hardware companies and factories, with a hardware and software solution that provides automated recording and monitoring of factory manufacturing and testing. GetScale's system can be deployed in less than one day, and boasts a 300% decrease in the average number of product defects in its initial trials at Chinese factories.

TechCrunch's Catherine Shu wrote about GetScale in a story published today:

"At first glance, GetScale’s cameras might seem like just another factory surveillance system. The startup, however, wants to make life easier for engineers and assembly-line workers by allowing them to communicate directly and record the entire manufacturing process.

This means hardware companies thousands of miles away from their factories get quality assurance and workers aren’t unfairly blamed for problems... GetScale’s monitoring system lets hardware engineers give step-by-step instructions directly to line workers instead of middlemen, which improves communication and speeds up the production process."

Read more about how GetScale works in TechCrunch here, and participate in the related Hacker News discussion here.

Compose (YC S11) Acquired By IBM

IBM announced on Thursday its acquisition of YC alum Compose, the company formerly known as MongoHQ that runs a platform for quickly and easily spinning up database servers.

In a blog post published yesterday, Compose's co-founders Kurt Mackey and Jason McKay wrote about the rationale behind the deal:

"As founders, it was the biggest and most important decision we've ever had to make — much more difficult than we ever would have guessed back when we only dreamed of having a successful company. While we are profitable and growing fast, we think now is the right time to team up with a larger company. We will be able to do more, faster, and it's the best way to continue our mission. Also, I'm not going to say the word 'synergy', but synergy.

At IBM, Compose will be part of the Cloud Data Services (CDS) group. It's a great fit. We'll be able to continue building what we think is important, with a brand we really like, and the same team that works so well together. All with the backing of a major company."

Read the full blog post here, and see additional news coverage in TechCrunch here.

Wheely's (YC S15) Makes Beautifully Designed Bicycle-Powered Cafés

Wheely's is a startup in our current class that makes self-contained, portable cafés that can be moved around by a built-in bicycle.

It's a very unique product with an admirable underlying goal: Wheely's wants to make it much more accessible for people to start and operate their own small food and coffee business. It costs about $3,000 for the newest version of the Wheely's bike, compared with the $800,000 it typically costs to start a Starbucks.

Wheely's is already seeing massive demand for its latest cart. An Indiegogo campaign launched just yesterday has already far surpassed its $50,000 funding goal.

TechCrunch's Kim-Mai Cutler interviewed Wheely's co-founder Tomas Mazetti in a story published about the company this week:

"[Co-founders Tomas] Mazetti, [Maria] De La Croix, and Per Cromwell's passion  is providing the world with an easy, inexpensive way to start a new business that is environmentally sound. They became enamored with the idea of coffee, since it has one of the highest mark-ups of any everyday consumable product.

...[Mazetti] said the big advantage of going with Wheelys versus working for a classic coffee chain was that you get to keep the vast majority of revenues to yourself. If the Wheelys buyer uses the company brand and its suggested product line, then they keep 90 percent of revenue. This is probably bigger than the near-minimum wage a person might earn while working in someone else’s coffee chain."

Read the full story about how Wheely's works and how it was founded in TechCrunch here, and participate in the related Hacker News discussion here.

teaBOT (YC S15) Makes Customized Cups Of Tea With The Touch Of A Button

Launching out of our Summer 2015 class, teaBOT is a startup that's created a robotic machine that makes cups of tea from customized loose leaf blends in seconds.

The concept brings together grab-and-go food with modern robotics: Rather than waiting in line at a cafe to pay for a cup of tea made from off-the-shelf tea bags, teaBOT provides customers with a personalized made-to-order cup at the touch of a button.

TechCrunch's Sarah Buhr tried out the teaBOT and wrote about the company in a story this week:

"The bot will let you mix and match different teas or select from some suggested concoctions on either the teaBOT smartphone app or the provided kiosk tablet to get a super fast hot brew. You can also pay using your Apple Watch, if you want. Once the selections are made, the teaBOT uploads the information and pours in a delicious mix of your own, unique blend in under 30 seconds.

Special lids with a proprietary filtered mouthpiece keep the tea leaves inside the cup while allowing the hot water some room to cool.

Cafes interested in placing a teaBOT within their place of business get a percentage of the revenue and teaBOT will own and operate the kiosks for them, including servicing the machines and replacing supplies and product."

Read more about teaBOT in TechCrunch here, and see it in action in the video below:


StyleBee (YC S15) Sends Beauty And Grooming Services To You Anytime, Anywhere

StyleBee is a startup in our current class that lets people book beauty and grooming services anytime and anywhere. For a flat fee of $50 plus tips, StyleBee sends beauty professionals to clients wherever they are -- be in in their homes, at their offices, or in hotel rooms.

VentureBeat's Ken Yeung wrote about StyleBee in a post today:

"Getting an appointment at a hair salon can be difficult and inconvenient, and that’s why StyleBee came about. Backed by Y Combinator, the Uber for hairstyling defines itself as 'beauty on demand.' Using the iOS app, users can schedule a time when they want a stylist to come to them. Then the service will find the right match and connect both parties.

...Cofounded by Anna Santeramo, StyleBee solves a problem she had when she was working as a corporate attorney. When she needed her hair styled, she couldn’t get an appointment, and when there was a spot available, stylists wanted more money or had some other conditions. 'It wasn’t fair to me,' she said.

Santeramo wanted house calls, which isn’t an option traditional salons offer. The service is not just for hair styling, but also for makeup, massages, and more."
Read more about StyleBee, how it works, and where it's available in VentureBeat here.

From The Makers Of Font Awesome, Fonticons (YC S15) Helps You Build A Beautiful Website

Launching this week out of our current Summer 2015 class, Fonticons is a subscription service for web icons that helps website developers create the exact look they need, quickly and easily.

TechCrunch's Fitz Tepper wrote about Fonticons in an article published today:

"If you’ve ever developed a website, you’re probably familiar with Font Awesome. The free service lets developers adorn their site with over 500 icons using only a line of CSS, and is used on about 40 million websites including the official website of the White House.

Now, Dave Gandy, the creator of Font Awesome, is launching Fonticons, a subscription service that will take Font Awesome’s original idea to the next level. ...The service will offer the same features as Font Awesome, along with some added benefits for its paid subscribers. These exclusive features will be in the form of three subscription tiers ranging from free to $99 per year."

Read the full story about Fonticons in TechCrunch here, and check out the Hacker News discussion here.