Top Stories from the YC World - 1/16/15-1/22/15
Top Stories from the YC World - 1/16/15-1/22/15
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"Thanks to several technological improvements over the last century, life for farmers is much easier than it used to be. But managing water consumption and distribution on farms is still a fairly manual process. Farmers have traditionally hired farm hands to drive through acres of fields and manually check the health of their crops and wetness of the soil.
Y Combinator-backed Tule (pronounced too-lee) aims to simplify the process with a device that senses plant moisture from a large area of land. It works by measuring something called evapotranspiration, or the amount of moisture released by plants into the air. The sensors collect data from the evapotranspiration and then send it to the site’s servers...The sensors could also possibly help prepare farmers for the future of global food production. There will be an estimated 9 billion people in the world in the next 35 years. A Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations forecast predicts farmers will need to increase production by 60 percent to meet demands. Shapland says his sensors could increase yield by 30 percent if farmers get the irrigation just right."
There are 114 companies in the current YC batch. We’ve grown too big for them to all present
on one day.
So, for the first time, we are going to have two Demo Days, March 23 and 24. We’re also going to break the companies into categories—biotech, enterprise, consumer, etc—so that investors can focus on what they’re interested in.
We expect that most attendees will attend both days, but if for some reason you can’t, we’ll have option to register for just one day. Also, videos of the presentations from both days will be available to approved invitees for one week.
You can request an invitation here: http://ycombinator.com/demoday.
"A new company looking to make it more convenient for pet owners to see their local veterinarian, VetPronto, is now live in San Francisco. A member of the Y Combinator Winter 2015 class, VetPronto is offering on-demand house call veterinary services for dogs and cats, allowing customers to skip a visit to the clinic or just see a vet at a more convenient time – like on evenings and weekends, for example.
The company was founded last spring by Brian Hur, Joe Waltman, and Soren Berg, the latter two who previously sold their email marketing company to Twitter. Meanwhile, Hur is a former Microsoft systems engineer-now-turned-vet.
Hur explains, “once I got into the veterinary industry, I noticed there were a lot of gaps in technology all the way through. And since getting out and practicing medicine, I’ve really focused on bridging those gaps and making sure that veterinary medicine can be upgraded for the dot-com era,” he says."
Top Stories from the YC World - 1/9/15-1/15/15
How One Founder's Wedding Day Call Led To Millions In Funding From A Top VC - Vidyard (YC S11)
"While the Internet is not lacking in places to buy wines online, a new Y Combinator-backed startup called Underground Cellar has come up with an interesting new concept for wine sales, where its customers are able purchase package deals that include random, free upgrades to premium, rare, and private-stash bottles from a number of wineries. These wines can then be shipped immediately to the consumer, or they can stored in Underground Cellar’s own climate and temperature-controlled wine cellar for on-demand shipping...
For consumers, the draw is that you’re able to access expensive, premium wines without having to pay the higher pricing, but for the wineries themselves, being promoted as an “upgrade” allows them to protect their brand image and current pricing structure."
We want to be sure we’re not discriminating against founders in our funding decisions at YC, so we decided to look at some data.
Based on analyzing a random sample of 5% of YC winter 2015 applicants, 11.8% of the founders who applied were women and around 3% percent of the founders were either Black or Hispanic.
Of the founders we funded in our most recent batch, 11.1% of the founders are women (about 23% of the startups have one or more female founders), 3.7% of the founders are Hispanic, and 4% of the founders are Black.
The good news is that there is no disadvantage to applying to YC as a female or minority founder. The bad news, of course, is that applicant percentages are low relative to the entire population.
We believe the ecosystem can support a lot more startups from many different backgrounds; this will not be a zero-sum game. We will continue and strengthen our outreach efforts. As more good people start startups and apply to YC, more startups will get funded.
Image: Walter Smith for Forbes
Congratulations to YC's Sam Altman and the YC founders named in Forbes' 30 Under 30.