HireArt (YC W12) founder Elli Sharef on not letting fear stop you from applying to YC

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.


Povio (YC W14), The Polite Photo App That Students Love, Joins YC’s Winter Batch

"It sounds odd to be talking about another photo sharing app, but a young company has – incredibly – come up with an entirely new take on the concept. Povio, a young startup from Slovenia, gained early traction with its clever take on photos and will now join Y Combinator’s winter batch (for which is gets $20k, 3 months’ worth of mentoring and acceleration, in return for 7% equity).

Povio’s take (available for both iOS and Android) on photo sharing is, bizarrely, unique. We literally haven’t seen anything similar (yet).

Why? Because all photo sharing apps today are push-based. You see, normally you have to take a picture for your friends to see in order to then elicit a response from them, whether they want it or not. Photo apps today are about a traditional feed model — you post, and it gets pushed out. The problem with that is it does not work terribly well with shy people – and into that category falls millions of teenagers.

Instead, with Povio, when you’re in the app, you log into your Facebook account and you see a list of your friends who also have Povio. At this point you can “ping” any of them and they’ll get a request from you that lets them easily take a photo and reply back to you."

Gbatteries (YC W14) Launches BatteryBox, A 50Whr Backup Battery For MacBooks & Other Gadgets

"Over the years, users of portable consumer electronics have just come to accept that battery life gets worse over time. But it doesn’t have to: Gbatteries, which is in the current batch of Y Combinator companies, has come up with a new technology called BatteryOS that provides better performance without battery-life degradation.

The first example of this technology is BatteryBox, a rechargeable Lithium-ion battery pack that carries enough power — 50 Whr — to run a MacBook Air for 12 hours, a MacBook Pro for six hours, or to charge eight iPhones."

See the full story on TechCrunch


Unbabel (YC W14) Launches A Human-Edited Machine Translation Service To Help Businesses Go Global, Localize Customer Support

"The sheer number of people not only coming online but shopping, watching, learning and consuming online — from every corner of the globe — is staggering, and every business wants to take advantage. Businesses now know they need to be where their customers are and that they can’t be one-size-fits all if they hope to thrive in today’s global marketplace.

The problem, of course, is that their new, global customer rarely seems to be speaking the same language. Not surprisingly, translation remains a big, expensive problem for businesses today. Most companies recognize the importance of localizing their websites and content, but few have the time, money or inclination to go one step further and localize that rapidly updating content or section of their site, their FAQs or their customer service interactions.

For most sites, these last two points, especially, are usually what break the budget — for those lucky (or smart) enough to even have a line of the budget dedicated to translation spend. This is where Unbabel wants to help. The Y Combinator-backed startup is launching today with a new kind of online translation service that aims to make it easy and affordable for a business of any size to translate all of its online content — from marketing collateral and FAQs to customer service emails, both static and dynamic." 

Read the full story on TechCrunch

Noora Health’s (W14) Training Program For Patients And Caregivers Improves Recovery And Reduces Readmission Rates

"If you’ve ever had a major surgery or medical event, you know that the education around recovery leaves much to be desired. When I had a C-section with the birth of my daughter, the hospital gave me a piece of paper that listed some of the medical issues that could take place if my recovery wasn’t going well. But I really had no idea how to handle the recovery–in fact, I made several calls to my physician (and had an untimely ER visit) because of complications.

Noora Health wants to change this. The nonprofit graduating from Y Combinator is building hospital education platforms for patients and their family members to teach them the skills needed to recover from a major medical event (like a surgery) or manage chronic conditions like diabetes and palliative care. Using an iPad app, Noora Health works with hospitals to offer patients and their families combination of videos, quizzes and interactive content to teach skills to aid in their recovery at home."

Read the full story on TechCrunch

Pebble (YC W11) sells 400,000 smart watches in its first year

 Wearable tech start-up Pebble enjoyed a successful first year for its smart watch range, shipping 400,000 since January 2013 and earning an estimated US$60m in revenue. Investors are confident of continued success in 2014, despite increasing competition.

For CEO Eric Migicovsky, Pebble started out in 2009 as a school project while at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada. The company then joined the Y Combinator programme, one of the world’s top start-up incubators, before it launched a Kickstarter campaign in April 2012.

The crowdfunding campaign was a runaway success, raising 100 times its original target at US$10.3m. Pebble started shipping to its Kickstarter backers in January 2013, followed by public availability in July. It sold out in five days.

Some 400,000 smart watches later – according to figures cited in a Fortune Tech interview with Migicovsky – Pebble is now facing stiffer competition in 2014, the year wearable tech is expected to hit the mainstream.

Read the full article at Silicon Republic

Upverter (YC W11) raises $2.3M for cloud-based engineering tool

Toronto-based startup Upverter, a GitHub-like platform for hardware engineers, or an online design automation platform, has raised $2.3 million from Version One Ventures, Tom McInerney, Autodesk CEO Carl Bass, Amol Sarva (Peek proto-smartphone device), David Lerner and Golden Venture Partners.

The company will use the money for growth as it pursues the status of a profitable business.

Originally it was a cloud-based engineering tool for these hardware designers, but the company “evolved considerably”, wrote Techcrunch’s Darryl Etherington, and began earning revenue from from enterprise clients seeking access to its cloud-based tools.

“Over the summer, we really started to double down on what needed to exist to take the Upverter platform from this hobbyist hacker with open source tool, to this real-deal professional design suite to compete with the big boys, or to become complementary to them,” CEO Zak Homuth told Etherington.

Read the full article at Betakit

StackLead (YC W14) Takes The Hassle Out Of Lead Analysis

"Imagine you have a huge sign-up list for your yet-to-launch startups or you are a quickly growing company with 50 new sales leads coming in every day. Who are those people signing up for your product? How do you research those leads? In most cases, you have to spend at least a few minutes per sender figuring out who they are and what companies they work for. StackLead, a Y Combinator-backed company that is launching today, wants to take the hassle out of this by automating the customer research process.

The company was founded by MIT engineers Gordon Wintrob and Ted Tomlinson, who hit upon this idea when they were working on another startup. They found themselves spending a lot of time on researching leads and realized that this was likely a pain point for others, as well." 

Read the full story on TechCrunch


Style Lend (YC W14) Launches Out Of Y Combinator To Be The Airbnb For Women’s Closets

"Collaborative consumption marketplaces have taken off in recent years to let people share many of the big ticket items in their lives: houses, apartments, cars. A new startup called Style Lend is gunning to be the go-to site for sharing the big ticket items that are sitting in women’s closets.

Essentially an Airbnb for high-end dresses and accessories, Style Lend is a peer-to-peer marketplace where women can list and rent items for a fraction of their original retail cost. Most women can relate to having at least a couple items in their closets that cost a lot of money, but get very little wear: That one special occasion dress, or designer handbag. These kinds of items stick around because they aren’t quite candidates for consignment. She loves them and wants to keep them, but the truth is that they stay in the closet 95% of the time."

One Degree (YC W14) Is A “Yelp For Social Services” That Helps Low-Income Families

"When Rey Faustino migrated from the Philippines to Southern California as an eight-year-old, he saw his family hustle to make ends meets in their new homeland. “I grew up in a working-class family and I watched my family struggle for resources,” he said. “I wanted to make sure that other kids and families didn’t have to go through the same ordeal.”

So while completing a graduate degree at Harvard in public policy, he put together a business plan for One Degree, a new non-profit that helps people find social services like affordable housing and job training. As a child, Faustino remembers that individual social workers had all of this information in their heads about the best programs to route families and low-income workers to.

But there wasn’t a scalable, single destination where anybody could go to find whatever they needed, whether it was low-cost medical care or free after-school programs. He and Eric Lukoff created One Degree, a highly-curated search engine for social services. The site gives personalized recommendations and steps for people to take." 

Read the full story on TechCrunch