YC Digest - March 20-26, 2015

Hello from the YC Team at Demo Day (photo credit: April Buchheit)

Top Stories from the YC World - March 20-26, 2015
The deadline to apply to YC S15 is tonight at 8pm PT!

Here Are The Companies That Presented At Y Combinator Demo Day 1 - TechCrunch

47 Startups That Launched At Y Combinator Winter 2015 Demo Day 2 - TechCrunch

Ebola Drugs, Prison Inmates, Real, Live Rockets: Y Combinator's New Launchpad - Fast Company

I Am Sam Altman, President of Y Combinator. AMA - Hacker News

Sam Altman: Why Hardware Could Yield the Next $10 Billion Startups - WSJ 

How Platzi (YC W15) bootstrapped its way into Y Combinator to build the future of education - TNW

A Look Inside Transcriptic’s (YC W15) New Biotech Testing Facility - TechCrunch

Launches
YC S14: Nightingale Launches Its Support Platform For Autism Therapy

YC W15: Pigeon.ly, A Startup Focused On Serving The U.S. Prison Population, Joins Y Combinator






YC W15: SmartHires Helps Startups Find Tech Talent Within The Same Investment Portfolio

YC W15: GiveMeTap Offers Free Water And Footfall Data For Stores, And It Helps Africa

YC W15: Introducing Priime - a new way to edit photos on your iPhone

YC W15: Kickpay Is A Marketplace For Invoices That Helps SMEs Get Paid Quickly

YC S14: uBiome Is Now Doing An Indiegogo Campaign To Check Out Dental Bacteria

YC W15: SlideMail Is An Intelligent Email App For The Rest Of Us 

Pigeon.ly (YC W15), A Startup Focused On Serving The U.S. Prison Population, Joins Y Combinator

YC welcomes Pigeon.ly to the Winter 2015 batch. Pigeon.ly is building a profitable new category of services for the 20M ppl with family in prison. Read more about Pigeon.ly on TechCrunch:

"Hutson says that 1 percent of the U.S. population has a loved one who is in prison, given the scale of the U.S. mass incarceration system. He estimates it’s a $2 billion market. If you look at competitors, Securus sold to a private equity firm in 2013 for about a half-billion dollars while JPay told CNBC it had $50 million in revenues last year. 
While Pigeon.ly is definitely farther along in terms of product and growth than some of its peers in the YC program, Hutson said it was valuable to join the program anyway. YC partner Michael Seibel, who co-founded SocialCam and Justin.tv, heavily recruited Hutson and has been a big advocate for diversifying each batch of companies
'Being a minority founder building a company, Y Combinator can help. You need to have the right affiliations. You need to be in the right circles. We looked at this as an opportunity to get access to investors and talent.'"

Listen to Planet Money's episode on Pigeon.ly: Episode 610 The Prisoner's Solution

    SmartSpot's Tale (YC W15): From A Farm In Egypt To Building A YC Computer Vision Startup For Fitness

    SmartSpot is launching out of the Winter 2015 batch of YC. SmartSpot makes a smart mirror for gyms that tracks your form as you work out and provides live correction. They help people improve their exercise form and prevent injury.

    The vast majority of gym-goers don’t know how to exercise properly and safely. Many quit after only a month because they don’t see improvement. Although personal training is one solution, at $80 an hour or more, personal trainers are out of reach for most people. SmartSpot's founders believe that personal training should be something anyone can afford.

    They have launched in 3 gyms in San Francisco where they've worked closely with early users to make a product that can become part of a routine for people with a variety of fitness goals.

    SmartSpot is founded by Moawia Eldeeb and Josh Augustin. 

    Read more about SmartSpot's story on TechCrunch:

    "Moawia Eldeeb grew up with his family on a village farm bordering the Nile, growing rice in the summers and vegetables in the winters. It was the way things had been for years, decades even.

    But when Eldeeb’s brother was born with a rare genetic condition called ectodermal dysplasia, everything changed immediately. Because of the condition, Eldeeb’s infant brother couldn’t sweat. And given Egypt’s humid climate, this meant a certain and swift death.

    His father, who had been applying every year for a green card for the past 15 years, fortunately had won one in the lottery. Roughly two weeks after Eldeeb’s brother was born, they left everything they had ever known behind.

    Cribspot (YC W15) Helps University Students Find Rentals In Time For School To Start

    Cribspot launches out of the Winter 2015 batch of YC:  

    "Finding a decent apartment can be tough, which is why we’ve seen a recent increase in the number of startups that are aiming to serve a woefully underserved market. But finding an apartment when you’re a college student can be even tougher. Aimed squarely at the university market, a Y Combinator-backed startup called Cribspot hopes to alleviate at least some of the pain associated with finding rentals and sublets.

    Compared to the broader housing market, college rentals are unique in that many units are booked a semester or more in advance. Furthermore, even when listings are available, they can typically only be found on campus bulletin boards or by walking around a college town and looking for “for rent” signs. All of that can make it difficult for students to find housing, especially on short notice.

    Cribspot hopes to change that, by creating the most comprehensive search engine for apartments on or near university campuses. It’s doing that by collecting rental information from thousands of different sources and working directly with landlords who don’t have websites or other ways to find out about their apartments." 

    Read the full story on TechCrunch

    Razorpay (YC W15) Offers Stripe-Style Payments Focused Squarely On Indian E-Commerce Plays

    Razorpay launches out of the Winter 2015 batch of YC:

    "The rise of companies like FlipkartSnapdeal and Ola have put a spotlight on the e-commerce opportunity in India, where the growth of catchy businesses is being fuelled by consumer demand, improving Internet connectivity and generous VC funding. Now, a new startup called Razorpay — part of the current Y Combinator class — is hoping to ride that trend, by giving more startups and larger tech companies in the country the ability to make it easier to integrate payments into their services.

    Razorpay is not unlike Stripe — a YC alum itself — in that it provides a very simple interface and gateway for businesses that want to take payments for goods or services online. Using Razorpay’s APIs, a company can add payments with a few lines of code, and consumers can then pay using a credit card, a debit card or net-banking (online bank transfers, one popular payment option in India). What makes Razorpay special, however, is that it’s made by an Indian team and specifically for businesses that operate in India."

    Read the full story on TechCrunch

    HigherMe (YC W15) Promises A Smarter Approach To Applying For Retail Jobs And Other Hourly Work

    HigherMe launches out of the YC Winter 2015 batch: 

    "When you’re trying to find the right person for a job, résumés don’t always cut it.

    I suspect that’s true for many jobs, but Rob Hunter, co-founder of HigherMe (part of the current batch of startups incubated at Y Combinator), told me that it’s particularly true in retail jobs and other hourly positions — location, availability, and personality can be more important than the jobs you have or haven’t held in the past.

    That’s something Hunter himself saw when he owned multiple Marble Slab Creamery stores. He recalled hiring an early employee, Kendra, who — like most high schoolers — had an unimpressive résumé. After all, her experience on the soccer team and as a babysitter didn’t say much about her ice cream serving skills, and the typos didn’t help, either."

    Read the full story on TechCrunch

    Online Learning Service Platzi (YC W15) Wants To Give You Useful Tech Skills, Not Diplomas

    YC welcomes Platzi to the Winter 2015 batch: 

    "A couple of things about online learning service Platzi immediately set it apart from the other companies in Y Combinator’s latest batch. First, it is from Latin America — Colombia to be precise. Second, it is profitable. That’s right, it’s already making money.

    Online learning is hardly a new concept, but two-year-old Platzi is taking a different approach that’s interesting for a couple of reasons.

    Rather than broadening the availability of the traditional education experience using the Internet, like most MOOC (massive open online course) services, it’s focused on developing tangible skills."

    Read the full post on TechCrunch

    Instavest (YC W15) Wants To Help Investors Make Smarter Trades

    Instavest launches out of the YC Winter 2015 batch: 

    "Instavest, a Y Combinator-backed startup, wants to help retail investors benefit from the smart trades of others. It also wants to help savvy speculators profit by sharing their trading data.

    Investors can list their trades on Instavest, including the company, share amount and rationale behind the investment. Other users can invest alongside the people willing to share their own purchases and sales. If you follow a trade, Instavest encourages you to block out a portion of your profits — in the neighborhood of 5 percent — that might arise from the transaction for the original listing entity.

    The idea arose when the company’s founders, Saleem Khatri and Zain Allarakhia, ran into a problem: Friends and family wanted to trade with them, but they lacked a tool to do so effectively."

    Read the full story on TechCrunch

    SmartHires (YC W15) Helps Startups Find Tech Talent Within The Same Investment Portfolio

    SmartHires launches out of the W15 batch of YC: 

    "Finding good tech talent is a challenge right now. The Obama administration poured $100 million into the new TechHire initiative this last month to fill half a million open IT jobs in the U.S. for that reason. Y Combinator-backed SmartHires (not to be confused with the recruiting site SmartHire or job search site Smart Hires) tackles that challenge with the creation of a startup referral network for strong job candidates.

    The idea behind SmartHires is that it’s better to keep talent within investor portfolio networks. “Many startups end up rejecting great candidates but it’s better if they stay in the family,” SmartHires co-founder Stephan Kletzl told TechCrunch.

    Kletzl and his co-founder and identical twin brother Christian Kletzl started SmartHires, along with David Pichsenmeister, after seeing how difficult it was to find top talent. “Smart people are getting passed on and added to the rejection list when there might be someone within the hiring manager’s network that needs them,” Stephan said." 

    Read the full story at TechCrunch

    GiveMeTap (YC W15) Offers Free Water, Footfall Data For Stores, AND Helps Africa

    YC welcomes GiveMeTap to the Winter 2015 batch: 

    "Despite the growth in reusable water bottles, keeping them refilled is tough. Ironically, consumers either end up buying a plastic bottle of water, are forced to use a toilet to refill, or feel obliged to buy something from a store before asking for a refill of water.

    GiveMeTap is a new graduate of the Y Combinator accelerator with a rather clever idea. It sells and produces stainless steel water bottles that you can use to get free water refills from participating local cafes and restaurants, which are located by using the GiveMeTap App (iOSAndroid). You just walk in, find the water station and fill up or ask someone at the counter. The mobile app will even track your water usage.

    The really clever part of its model is that business owners are incentivized to join the network because they get free publicity, increased footfall — and here’s the tech part — access to data about how many new customers they are gaining because of the app. Obviously, people with the bottles are more likely to choose a GiveMeTap venue and purchase other goods there."

    Read the full story on TechCrunch