I’m delighted to announce a promotion and three additions to the YC team.
Kat Manalac has been our director of outreach since 2013. She’s done an incredible job, and we’re making her a partner. In addition to regular partner responsibilities, she’ll continue to be responsible for outreach to prospective founders and for our PR. Before she joined YC, she was Alexis Ohanian’s chief of staff.
Yuri Sagalov joined us as a part-time partner last September, but we never got around to announcing it. Yuri is the cofounder and CEO of AeroFS, which he started in 2010. Yuri will be especially helpful to enterprise companies we fund, which is not an area we’ve historically had much expertise in. Several founders from the most recent batch went out of their way to tell me how much they’ve liked working with him.
Patrick Collison is joining us as part-time partner. Patrick is the cofounder and CEO of Stripe. He knows a lot about every part of running a startup, but he thinks about hiring and company culture better than anyone else I know. Previously, he cofounded Auctomatic.
Elizabeth Iorns is also joining us as a part-time partner. She’s the cofounder and CEO of Science Exchange. She has a Ph.D. in cancer biology and knows a great deal about life sciences, which is very helpful given that we’re starting to get a lot of interesting biotechnology companies applying that we’re currently unqualified to judge. She’s been an informal advisor to a number of Y Combinator companies, and they all praise her startup expertise.
Welcome to the team!
Homejoy, the service for booking a domestic cleaner in a click of a button, has launched in London today.
First available in the US and Canada and fresh off the back of a $38 million round of funding back in December, Homejoy’s platform is now allowing Londoners to book a cleaner for £13 per hour.
"How do we convince that brilliant engineer that has the idea he's really passionate about, that can change the world, to start a startup and not go work as an engineer at a big company?" Altman says.
We’re happy to announce that starting today, the all-new Dropbox for Business is available to everyone. We’ve rebuilt the product to give users one Dropbox for personal stuff and another for work stuff. Users can easily access both Dropboxes from any of their devices.
We did this to give admins more visibility and control over their company’s data. Remote wipe helps protect confidential information, account transfer helps you maintain business continuity, and sharing audit logs let you track how your Dropbox for Business information is being accessed.
Aarthi Ramamurthy is standing outside of her building talking to her first paying customer, and she’s about to make a product decision.
She’s shipped him a camera across country overnight on a rental program, and he’s so in love with it that he wants to buy one from her. He’s wondering if he can apply his rental fee towards the purchase of the camera.
After quickly running the numbers in her head she replies “Yes!” The customer is happy and she makes Lumoid’s first camera sale.
Lumoid, a Y Combinator-backed startup, is a service that lets you rent camera equipment of all sorts and, if you like it, you can purchase it. There are some comparisons to be drawn between rental companies, such as lensrentals.com and others, and the “try before you buy” services, such Rocksbox.But the model doesn’t stop there.
Back in November, I wrote about an Android app called Agent. Agent uses your phone’s myriad sensors to make your Android smartphone just a wee bit smarter.
It’ll detect when you’re driving, and automatically respond to texts to let people know you can’t type right now. During the hours you normally sleep, it’ll auto silence your phone (but still give people a way to ring through in case of an emergency.) When your battery is low, it can flip the switches to turn off things like Bluetooth and auto-sync to eek just a liiiittle more life out of your phone.
The company behind Agent, Egomotion, recently raised $750k. While it’s not a massive round (Egomotion calls it a “second Seed” rather than a Series A), what I find particularly interesting is who invested.
The round was lead by Google Ventures, and their investment was driven primarily by Rich Miner, one of Android’s four co-founders. When a guy who helped create the platform you’re trying to improve pushes an investment in your company, you’re probably on to something.
I did several different things while I was working on Hacker News, and these will now be taken over by different people.
Kevin Hale (HN id kevin) will be in charge of design. I don't think he plans to change much about the appearance of the site, but users will be happy to hear he has a plan to make it work better on mobile devices.
Kat Manalac (katm) and Garry Tan (garry) will be the voice of YC on HN. They'll be the ones who respond to most "Ask YC" posts and individual comments related to YC.
Nick Sivo (kogir) is going to continue working on the code. He's been working on HN for a while, and is the reason it's actually faster now than it was a couple years ago, despite increased traffic.
Finally, I'm delighted to announce that Daniel Gackle (pronounced Gackley), who has already been doing most of the moderation for the last 18 months, is going to join YC full-time to be in charge of the HN community. Many HN users know Daniel as gruseom, though now he's going to switch to the slightly more legit sounding dang. Daniel is one of most thoughtful (in both senses of the word) people I've ever met. It kills him when people say mean, stupid things in comment threads. Moderating an anonymous forum is hard, and the fact that we get roughly equal grief for HN comments being bad and for being too quick to ban people is a sign he's been doing a good job so far. He has plans for new tools that may not merely arrest the decay of HN comment threads, but actually improve them.
I'll still be around as a user, but less frequently than when I felt I had to check the site every hour or so to make sure nothing had broken.
"When we first founded Comprehend in early 2010, I didn’t consider applying to Y Combinator, even though I was very familiar with YC, Founders at Work, and Paul Graham’s essays. I thought YC only invested in social/local/mobile companies and wouldn’t be interested in, or be helpful to, a startup that sold to life sciences companies, where metrics like ‘viral coefficient’ and ‘daily uniques’ are meaningless and sales cycles can last months.
However, we ended up applying anyway, at the encouragement of a friend, on the reasoning that we had nothing to lose. In retrospect, this was a great decision because YC has been amazing for learning about startups, fundraising, company building and more. Nowadays, I highly recommend YC to anybody starting a company, including enterprise, even those targeting non-traditional markets. If you’re starting a technology startup, they will be immensely helpful.
There’s a lot of articles written about tactics for applying to YC, so I won’t address that here. Instead, I wanted to share the areas where YC has been the most helpful to us as an enterprise startup, both during the program and in the 3+ years since they invested."
We asked HireArt founder Elli Sharef if she had any advice for YC applicants.
Her advice: "If you’re thinking of applying my best advice is: Just do it. You may get in or you may not, but at least you’ll have tried. Being scared of rejection should not dissuade you from applying — if you’re going to be an entrepreneur, you’re going to have to put yourself in many situations in which rejection is a real possibility, so this is a great place to start."
The application deadline for YC S14 is this Friday, March 28. Apply here.