Today Toronto-based Canopy Labs announced that it has secured $1.5 million in a seed funding round led by BDC IT Ventures Fund, Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures and startup accelerator Y Combinator. The Y Combinator-incubated startup aims to help businesses increase sales and revenue by identifying and targeting high-value customers. The customer modeling and analytics company has already attracted major clients including the Toronto Argonauts, WagJag, and the Canadian Opera Company, and plans to use the funding to hire, build out its product, and work towards an official release of its toolset for mid-sized businesses.
Taking the ax to the silo is Crowdtilt, a year-old crowdfunding company built by cofounders James Beshara, 26, and Khaled Hussein, 28. This morning, the San Francisco startup released the first full-service crowdfunding API, allowing developers to plug a customizable crowdfunding tool into any application. “Crowdfunding seems like a played-out term,” says Beshara, Crowdtilt’s CEO, “but we think it’s at the very beginning of being the next web phenomenon.”
Early partners include Vayable, a fellow Y Combinator startup that helps travelers book tours on vacation. The company will announce a quartet of better-known partners when the API is released in production in early January. (Today’s is a beta release.) Crowdtilt will take a 1% cut of payments collected through the software.
The unleashing of a fully-baked crowdfunding API into the wider web will likely have widespread and unexpected consequences. Beshara rattled off some examples of how the software can be used:
- Nike could release 10,000 limited edition jerseys to be sold at 20% off if sales pass a certain threshold, say 7500 jerseys.
- Airbnb could let six people chip in for the same booking at checkout.
- Williams-Sonoma could help gift-givers split the cost of expensive items.
- Entrepreneurs can test real demand, and collect startup capital, for hypothetical products through their own custom sites without giving up customer data and high fees to Kickstarter or Indiegogo.
- Under upcoming JOBS Act provisions, companies could raise equity-based funds from the public in large chunks of up to $10,000.
On Tuesday ZenPayroll, a part of Y Combinator’s Winter 2012 class, emerged from stealth mode with its plans to tackle the [payroll services] market. The startup has raised nearly $6.1 million in seed funding from more than 15 prominent Silicon Valley investors, including Google Ventures and Salesforce.com.
Corporate payroll software has long been dominated by a few big vendors, particularlyAutomatic Data Processing, and the challengers say that as businesses become more comfortable with putting information online and handling critical tasks like signing documents in a browser, the market is ripe for change.
Their approaches are different, though. ZenPayroll, which is about a year old, is backed primarily by individuals who’ve had experience as corporate CEOs, which means “they know how difficult it is to run a back office,” said co-founder and Chief Executive Joshua Reeves.
YC-funded Humble Bundle is providing one of the most compelling packages of games yet -- seven games that would retail for almost $200 that can now be bought on a name-your-own-price basis for charity.
Starting at $1, name your price and instantly get a Steam key for Windows versions of Darksiders, Company of Heroes,Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts, Company of Heroes: Tales of Valor, Red Faction: Armageddon, and Metro 2033. If you pay more than the average, you’ll also get Saints Row: The Third! And most of the games come with a sweet soundtrack!
Buyers can also choose where their purchase amount goes. Contribute to vital non-profits Child’s Play Charity and the American Red Cross, two fantastic organizations doing significant work in the name of gamers everywhere. You can also designate your purchase amount to THQ, or if you choose, you can give us a much-appreciated Humble tip for organizing the promotion!
Coinbase has introduced one of the simplest ways to accept bitcoin payments. They're notable in that it's one of the only Bitcoin platforms in the world that lets you buy bitcoin directly from a US bank account.
From their website:
Payment buttons make it easy to accept bitcoin on any website by copying and pasting a few lines of code. We were really inspired by the Stripe Button and wanted to bring something similar to the bitcoin world.
Payment buttons work well for “buy now” purchases, donations, and shopping cart integration. And since the payment window is embedded in your website, the user never needs to leave your site.
There is a brand new Merchant Tools section on Coinbase that lets you generate payment buttons in just a few minutes.
★ Print to Family - Print photos for yourself and the people you love. You choose the prints, they choose their favorite local store for easy pickup. Gorgeous, high-quality prints in an hour! (USA only)
★ Over 15,000 Stores - We’ve partnered with CVS and Target, in addition to Walgreens (previously available) for your photo printing convenience. Over 15,000 one-hour-photos across the US to choose from!
Leaky, a Y Combinator-incubated startup that helps customers compare the price they’d pay with car insurance companies, is expanding to full nationwide coverage today.
The startup first launched more than a year ago, but the site quickly attracted attention (as well as cease-and-desist letters) from the insurances companies, so it was taken down and reemerged in March with a new approach.
Rather than pulling prices directly from insurers’ websites, Leaky looks at their state regulatory filings, then predicts what each user would be charged based on their personal details. Leaky can also predict how changes in your life, such as moving across the country or buying a new car, will affect your insurance costs.
Plivo, a Y Combinator-backed telephony startup that offers an API platform for voice and SMS applications, is today announcing it raised $1.75 million in seed funding from Andreessen Horowitz, Battery Ventures, Qualcomm Incorporated, and SV Angel.
For background, the company offers businesses a way to host their voice and messaging applications in the cloud. Co-founder Venkatesh B (who goes by Venky), describes the service as aiming to do for telephony hosting what Amazon did for web hosting.
He and Plivo’s other founder Michael Ricordeau had originally met over GitHub over two years ago when each were working on their own telephony applications. Discovering a shared interest, the two launched Plivo in December 2011 in invite-only mode, and then opened up API access in July to all interested parties.
Google today announced their acquisition of YC alumni BufferBox, a Waterloo-based startup that specializes in providing users with temporary lockers to receive delivery of packages from online e-commerce retailers. The company is led by a founding team of three University of Waterloo graduates, Mike McCauley, Aditya Bali and Jay Shah.