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Let’s say you’re at a furniture store and see a couch you like. It has the number of seats you need for your living room and the cushions are comfortable. But the model in the store is cotton, and that just won’t do — you wanted leather. How are you supposed to know if you like how it looks in person?
At stores with Y Combinator-backed VizeraLabs’s projector installed, you can see what every fabric looks like on a display model instantly. The company wants to replace the books full of different fabrics you can look through at furniture retailers with a projector paired with Microsoft’s Kinect hardware and pretty much any device that can connect to its growing database of materials and patterns in the cloud.
Craigslist has come to be known as a modern take on the classifieds section of a newspaper, but Zachariah Reitano and Henri Stern want to go further and provide a real-time exchange service. That’s where Shout comes in.
Shout is a real-time classifieds that lets individuals exchange anything with others on the service. The iOS app lets users offer up something for sale, such as a ticket or a reservation, or make a request, such as a delivery. “Shouts” are linked to a location, a price and a short description and can either be free or cost a specific amount.
Kickstarter, Indiegogo and other crowdfunding platforms have been a big hit with product makers and creative types, but a new company called Local Lift wants to now bring the power of crowdfunding to those in the local, small business community, too.
With the Local Lift platform, business owners are able to raise funds directly from their customer base and the community at large by running 30-day campaigns for small amounts of funding, usually averaging around $7,000-$8,000, based on early trials.
The idea for the startup comes from a team with financial and business backgrounds, including former Harvard Business School grads, Broderick McClinton, who previously worked at BlackRock and spent time in New Orleans working on economic development issues; and Eric Sonnier, previously of Deloitte and mobile ad startup MdotM. Meanwhile, CTO Matt Christen’s background involves development work on high-frequency trading platforms.
Applications for Startup School 2014 are now open. Apply here.
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Trying to make access to the world’s largest cryptocurrency automatic for the people, BitAccess is looking to build a network of automated Bitcoin banking machines available worldwide.
The concept of a Bitcoin ATM isn’t new, with companies like Robocoin Technologies,GenesisCoin, Lamassu Bitcoin Ventures, and BitXatm all launching variations on bitcoin transaction hardware, but BitAccess touts an incredibly easy interface, a broader vision of how new hardware can be used, and the fact that it is the only player manufacturing its own transaction hardware.
“All you need is a phone number and a dollar,” to get a unit of Bitcoin says Haseeb Awan, one of the four co-founders behind BitAccess.
Over the last few years, technology has steadily worked its way into the concert-going experience. Apps make the ticket purchasing experience a simple affair, while the endless flood of social data gives promoters and bands the ability to target their marketing efforts at those most likely to enjoy their particular style.
Y Combinator batch company TicketLabs wants to make that technology affordable and accessible for smaller artists and venues. So far, most of these improvements have gone to the high end of the market — companies like Ticketmaster were able to use its lock on the space to invest in improving the experience while collecting social data through social check-ins.According to TicketLabs CEO Ian Roberts, the company put down its first lines of code on January 1 and brought in its first revenue on January 16. From there, the company expanded with the help of promoters in the Toronto area. By building for smaller players, it became obvious how to expand their product.
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In the San Francisco Bay Area and elsewhere in the world, 100 people are testing out a debit card that lets them pay with bitcoin and Ripple, and, in the future, regular money and loyalty points. These users are part of a pilot program run by the Y Combinator-backed startup called Shift Payments, a company working to make it as easy to spend digital currencies, cryptocurrencies and loyalty points as it is to spend regular, fiat money.
Shift was founded by Meg Nakamura, Eugene Otto, and Greg Kidd – a team with backgrounds in payments, telecom and regulation, making them an ideal group for tackling something as complex as bringing digital currencies and loyalty points into the offline world, where they’re attached to a “normal” debit card.
Sam wrote about this in his recent blog post, but I've found that important and seemingly obvious things often bear repeating. So with Demo Day approaching, I'd like to make the following point explicit:
Y Combinator has a zero tolerance policy for inappropriate sexual or romantic behavior from investors toward founders.
Don't even think about doing it. I will find out. Y Combinator will not continue to work with you.
News also travels fast around the YC community. Past and future YC alumni will likely find out about your actions and find them equally unacceptable.
Nearly all the investors we know are completely upstanding and professional, but even one inappropriate incident is too many.
At first, what Theorem does sounds like what a lot of other companies do: It’s an online marketplace for well-made, higher-end clothing and accessories. But Theorem comes with a very interesting twist: The price of each item is up for negotiation. Buying something on Theorem hearkens to the kind of back-and-forth haggling that’s been practiced in flea markets and bazaars for centuries, but brought online into the modern age and spruced up with a lot of smart technology.
At Theorem’s beta launch in April, the San Francisco-based startup had just two staffers — cofounders Ryan Jackson and Adam Roberts, pictured here — was completely bootstrapped, and only a handful of merchants had agreed to sell items through the site. But even in those early days, it was very apparent to me that Theorem had what it takes to be on to something big.
Once confined to research labs and science fiction, quantum computing is finally reaching a point where researchers aren’t simply trying to find out what’s possible, but looking at how they can actually work the technology into commercial hardware.
Rigetti Computing, a member of the current Y Combinator batch, wants to be one of the companies that leads the effort to create an ecosystem around quantum computing. Founded by a former high-ranking researcher at IBM and Yale, the company plans to bring consistent performance improvements to the field through an iterative, simulation-driven prototyping process.