Crowdfunding platform Crowdtilt wasn’t looking to raise another round, but when their Series A lead investor Andreessen Horowitz offered to lead their B round, the team decided it would make sense given their plans. Today, the company is announcing $23 million in new funding, which also includes participation from SV Angel, Sean Parker, Matt Mullenweg, Oliver Jung, DCM, Felicis Ventures, Naval Ravikant, Alexis Ohanian, Elad Gil, and others.
Before Garry Tan had celebrated his 30th birthday, the entrepreneur had already co-founded and helped develop a blogging platform to compete with Tumblr and became a partner at Y Combinator.
In 2008, Tan co-founded Posterous, a blogging platform, which has raised $5 million and was acquired by Twitter in 2012. Tan was a founding member of the engineer team Palantir France while working with Palantir Technologies.
Tan works alongside Y Combinator partners to help startups realize their full potential. Tan also acts as adviser for Comprehend Systems, a company specializing in visualization and analytics tools, and Verbling, a free online language-learning tool.
Loom, a simple but well-built photo-sharing app targeting the mainstream, has been focused on building something of an iCloud alternative which also helps users to free up disk space on their smartphones or iPads. Today, it’s taking another step closer to that larger goal with the introduction of video support in Loom. Before, the app was able to store, optimize and sync photos between devices, and now it can do the same for video by generating multiple versions of the video for quicker playback.
DrChrono's founders Michael Nusimow and Daniel Kivatinos
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Health care is a massive market opportunity for any developer — and yet, only about 1.3 percent of the APIs on ProgrammableWeb are associated with clinical services.
This number is set to increase in the near future, with federal regulators removing barriers to medical app innovation. In late September, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a final guidance on how it plans to regulate thousands of mobile health apps. This decision opened the floodgates for developers, who no longer had reason to fear that the feds would crack down on their health-related apps.
The FDA’s move has also prompted health startups to take a more open and platform-based approach. In Mountain View. Calif, a company called DrChrono announced today that it has opened up its API, so developers can take advantage of its massive network of 53,000 physicians and 2.6 million patients.
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Coinbase has raised $25 million in a Series B round led by Andreessen Horowitz in the largest funding to date for a company focused on the Bitcoin digital currency. Existing investors Union Square Ventures and Ribbit Capital also participated.
The round brings the total raised by Coinbase up to $31 million.
Coming out of Y Combinator last year, Coinbase provides a wallet and payment processor for merchants, analogous to what PayPal created a decade ago to provide a simple online means for transactions.
With holiday parties and family meals looming, it's easy to see the appeal of Instacart: you can order groceries online and have them delivered to your doorstep in an hour or two, for a delivery charge of as little as $3.99.
And here's the twist: similar to errand services like Task Rabbit or transportation networks like Lyft, just about anyone who can find their way around the produce section can sign up to earn money as a grocery courier for Instacart. The company says that its "personal shoppers" earn an average of $20 an hour, but they're paid based on the number of orders they handle, and the size of those orders. It raises the interesting possibility of pocketing some extra dough by shopping for a few neighbors whenever you visit the store.
"My fridge was always empty," says Instacart founder and CEO Apoorva Mehta, right. "I just never had time to go to the grocery store during the day." Mehta previously worked to improve order fulfillment at Amazon, and as an engineer at Qualcomm and RIM. Instacart started in San Francisco, and expanded to Chicago in September; Boston is Instacart's third market. "Our goal is to offer an Amazon-like experience without building any the infrastructure, using crowdsourcing," Mehta says.
Today Codecademy made its first foray into the app space and released an intro to coding course designed to take less than an hour to complete. I had a lot of laundry to do, so I figured I’d give it a shot.
The launch was timed to coincide with Computer Science Education Week, one of the goals of which is to get 10 million students in the U.S. to take an hour of coding. But the broader aim with the app was to create a version of the coursework that could be done in bite-sized portions on the go, well-suited for working professionals and busy types who want to learn a new skill.
Codecademy for iPhone will eventually be its own independent learning platform, CEO and founder Zach Sims said. Version one is very basic — it essentially shows you what coding looks like and what the most rudimentary functions are — and the team is hoping to push more content out this week.
The app is meant to be a super-easy onboarding ramp to future coding. The text feedback you get after each question is encouraging and makes you feel like you’re nailing it, which is nice motivation if you, like me, have a fragile but easily swollen ego. I finished the course just before the wash cycle on my lights ended and immediately wanted more.
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Rainforest, a Y Combinator company, has developed an on-demand service that runs functional tests against a crowd of people through Mechanical Turk, Amazon’s crowdsourcing platform. The service is similar to how a customer can use Amazon Web Services to spin up and down instances. But in this case a customer makes an API request for people instead of machines.
The company is also working toward developing ways to seek out workers through private groups to suit companies that have NDAs and bound by regulatory issues.
With Rainforest, the customer can scale the QA work up or down, depending on what they want tested. Customers write tests in plain English, the requirements they have, and then the service takes people through a series of steps to run the tests that the customer wants performed. For example, a customer can ask a simple question about the layout of a site and get it tested in real-time.
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Jakub Krzych, founder of Estimote, has announced a $3.1 million seed round raise from Innovation Endeavors, Betaworks, Bessemer Venture Partners, Birchmere Ventures, Valiant Capital Partners and others. The company is already shipping its small Bluetooth products, called Beacons, to retailers and they expect a huge rush in orders as they line up large clients next year.
“In the future apps will not be designed just for smartphones. They will also be developed and installed on top of retail stores and other real world locations – like airports, museums or hospitals,” said Krzych. “We are shipping thousands of beacons per week and more than 10,000 developers around the world are already experimenting with Estimote beacons in contextual computing applications.”