Announcing the Female Founders Conference

I'm delighted to announce that Kat Manalac, Kirsty Nathoo, Carolynn Levy and I are hosting Y Combinator's first Female Founders Conference on Saturday, March 1. We're going to gather together female founders at all stages to share stories, give advice, and make connections.

The original idea was to make this an event where female YC alumni shared their experiences.  But once we started planning the event we thought it would be exciting to invite Julia Hartz and Diane Greene to speak as well, so that we'd have speakers who could talk about what happens at even later stages.

As well as the speakers, many female YC alumni will be attending the event, so this will be an opportunity to get to know them and ask questions.

The best source of information about startups is the stories of people who've started them.  Our goal with this conference is to inspire women to start (or hang in there with!) a startup through the insights and experiences of those who have done it already.  If you're a woman interested in learning more about startups, I encourage you to apply.

WireOver (YC W12) launches unlimited file sending with end-to-end encryption app

Nothing is truly NSA-proof or hacker-proof, but WireOver wants to offer you more security than Dropbox, Google Drive, or Skydrive. The Y Combinator startup just emerged from stealth with a desktop app that lets you send files of any size for free. And for $10 a month, your transfers get end-to-end encryption so only the recipient can open them. WireOver can’t even look at what you’re sending.

If you just want to send huge video files or photo collections to friends and aren’t worried about encryption, WireOver is totally free for unlimited file-size sharing. But its premium level of privacy could be a big draw for anyone with sensitive files to send.

Read more in TechCrunch

WePay (YC S09) raises $15M and focuses on payments API for platform businesses

Bill Clerico, WePay Cofounder and CEO, on WePay in 2014: 

Today, we’re excited to share two major WePay milestones:

1. A $15 million Series C financing lead by Phil Purcell of Continental Investors, co-founder of the Discover Card and former CEO of Morgan Stanley.

2. Our API business has grown 600% over last year. As we double down on it, we will be discontinuing our direct-to-consumer business to allow us greater focus on our payments API for such platform businesses.

Andreessen Horowitz Invests $20M In Custom Apparel Platform Teespring (YC W13)

Providence, R.I.-based Teespring, a Y Combinator-backed startup that allows anyone to outsource the production and distribution costs involved with selling their own custom T-shirts, has raised $20 million in new funding in a round entirely led by Andreessen Horowitz. The funding, which closed around a month ago, will also see the firm’s Lars Dalgaard joining Teespring’s board.

FarmLogs (YC W12) Raises $4M Series A To Further Advance Farming Into The Age of Apps

Just a year after securing $1 million in seed funding, Michigan-based FarmLogs is announcing a $4 million Series A led by Drive Capital. The company says it is looking forward to a big 2014 and the co-founder and CEO tells me the company will use the influx of cash to execute on an aggressive product growth plan for the upcoming year.

Jesse Vollmar, CEO and co-founder of FarmLogs, explained to me that the company is building out its product to intelligently predict and optimize crop rotations as well as automate activity data collection. FarmLogs is also looking to ingest data collected by modern farming equipment that he tells me traditionally is rarely exported. By using low-cost Bluetooth hardware, the company expects to be able to analyse and upload this data in real time.

The Y Combinator alum touts the fact that 5% of farms in the US. are currently using its software. It’s an impressive stat considering the startup just graduated from YC in early 2012.

Airware (YC W13) Demos Its Drone Platform By Protecting Rhinos From Poachers

Airware wants to prove drones have plenty of uses beyond killing people. Today the unmanned aerial vehicle hardware/software/firmware startup detailed how it’s built and deployed special drones to thwart animal poachers in Kenya, Africa. The demo could build interest for the launch of Airware’s commercial drone platform later this year.

Airware was founded in 2010 and graduated from Y Combinator in March 2013 with the goal of bringing the drone revolution to a wide variety of businesses and other areas such as precision agriculture, land management, infrastructure inspection of power lines or oil derricks, and search and rescue.

E la Carte (YC W10) on the right way to go after big clients

A year after starting a restaurant-technology firm, Rajat Suri got an introduction to what would become by far his biggest client—the casual-dining chain Applebee's International.

Mr. Suri's startup, E la Carte, makes software for tablet devices that allows diners to order and pay for meals from their tables without the aid of restaurant staff. The 28-year-old came up with the idea after he and about a dozen friends struggled to divide up a tab at a restaurant.

While the introduction to Applebee's resulted in a lucrative outcome, Mr. Suri says striking a deal with such a big corporation required a lot more time, effort and risk than he anticipated.

The sale took three years to complete, compared with as little as one hour for deals with smaller clients. What's more, Applebee's required E la Carte to spend a full year testing its software at select outlets—and it had to compete against a rival business for the same opportunity.

FOBO (YC S11) Launches In San Francisco To Become The Fastest, Easiest Way To Sell Your Consumer Electronics

By now you probably know that Craigslist sucks as a way to sell stuff. You have to contend with spam emails, buyers who promise to purchase your goods but flake, and people who show up then try to haggle down the price after the fact. But somehow, no one has figured out a way to make it better or provide a real alternative.

Well, there’s a new app out called FOBO that aims to solve all those problems, providing users with a local marketplace for selling consumer electronics.

FOBO launches in San Francisco today, offering its users a new way to sell goods via mobile app. It gets rid of all the hassle that is usually associated with local marketplaces and makes it ultra-simple and ultra-fast to do so. The app guarantees sellers will get a certain price for their devices and will be paid upfront, and ensures that their product is sold fast — within 97 minutes. becomes the first major online retailer to embrace Bitcoin powered by Coinbase (YC S12) is now accepting payments in bitcoin, making it the first major online retailer to embrace the increasingly popular but controversial digital currency.

Since December, Overstock’s free-thinking CEO and chairman, Patrick Byrne, has been telling anyone who would listen that his company would adopt bitcoin sometime in the next six months. But Byrne is an impatient man. Last Tuesday, the company struck a deal to handle bitcoin payments through a service operated by the suddenly hot San Francisco startup Coinbase, and since then, a team of Overstock engineers has worked almost every waking hour to prepare the site for what is undeniably a key moment in the digital currency’s short history.

“I felt I had tipped my hand,” Byrne says. “I didn’t want someone else to beat us.”

So, just minutes ago, Overstock started accepting bitcoin payments for everything it sells, from laptops and TVs to faucets and bar stools. Byrne believes this can ultimately boost the company’s bottom line, but that’s not his only aim. For Byrne, a rather opinionated libertarian who’s unafraid to take his company places others fear to tread, embracing the cryptocurrency is as much a political statement as a business decision. Like so many others, he believes bitcoin can free the world from the control of big banks and big government. “It helps us fight the machine,” he says.

Read the full article at Wired

Second leg of Alexis Ohanian's Without Their Permission tour starts next week

The second leg of Alexis Ohanian's Without Their Permission tour kicks off next week. YC will be joining Alexis at the following stops: 

> Monday, January 13: University of Toronto - Fireside with AeroFS founder and part-time YC partner Yuri Sagalov

> Thursday, January 23: CalTech - Office hours with YC partner Kevin Hale

> Friday, January 24: UCLA - Office hours with YC partner Kevin Hale

> Sunday, January 26: University of Washington - Fireside with Sift Science cofounder Jason Tan

> Monday, January 27: Stanford University - Fireside with YC partner and Posterous cofounder Garry Tan and office hours with YC partners

> Tuesday, January 28: UC Berkeley - Fireside with Caviar cofounder Jason Wang and office hours with YC partner Kevin Hale

> Wednesday, January 29: University of Oregon - Fireside with Wevorce cofounder Jeff Reynolds 

> Monday, February 3: Dartmouth College - Fireside with Priceonomics cofounder Rohin Dhar

> Tuesday, February 4: Syracuse University 

> Wednesday, February 5: Cornell University

> Tuesday, February 18: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne - Office hours with YC partner Sam Altman

> Wednesday, February 19: Northwestern University - Fireside with YC Director of Outreach Kat Manalac

> Wednesday, February 19: University of Chicago - Office hours with YC partner Sam Altman