NewsBlur (YC S12) scales on a shoestring, handles a huge influx of users post-Google-Reader-pocalypse

One of the more interesting stories to emerge from the demise of Google Reader is that of NewsBlur, a previously small, but very nice, open source alternative RSS reader.

NewsBlur is a one-man operation that was humming along quite nicely, but when Google announced Reader would shutdown, NewsBlur saw a massive traffic spike — in a few short days NewsBlur more than doubled its user base. How NewsBlur developer Samuel Clay handled the influx of new users should be required reading for anyone working on a small site without loads of funding and armies of developers.

Read the full article on Webmonkey

Try NewsBlur, the best paid Google Reader replacement

Vidyard (YC S11) raises $6M Series A from OMERS Ventures to build out its video marketing and analytics platform

Vidyard, a Y Combinator alumnus and enterprise startup that sells a video marketing platform with embedded analytics tools to businesses to help them track and monetise video content, has closed a $6 million Series A led by Canada’s OMERS Ventures. Existing investors iNovia Capital and SoftTech VC also participated, along with a personal investment from Eloqua‘s Jill Rowley.

Michael Litt, founder and CEO of Vidyard, said the investment round will be used to build on ”significant momentum” in its business — with plans for growth including integrating more third party marketing products with the Vidyard platform and product development work to enhance the platform’s feature set. Vidyard already integrates with third party marketing automation platforms Eloqua and HubSpot.

Read the full article on Techcrunch

Stripe (YC S09) partners with Parse (YC S11) to let mobile app developers easily accept payments in their apps and write less code to do it

Stripe on Thursday announced two mobile updates to improve the lives of app developers looking to integrate the platform into their projects. The company has partnered with application development platform Parse as well as updated its Android and iOS libraries for accepting payments in mobile apps.

The payment company says since Parse speeds up mobile app development by “eliminating a lot of the server-side boilerplate and providing pre-built libraries for common tasks,” letting developers connect their Stripe account directly makes sense. In other words, if you’re building an app by using Parse and want to accept payments, the Stripe connection will ensure you won’t have to write any server-side code.

Read the full article in The Next Web

Kippt (YC S12) goes way beyond bookmarking with new 2.0 release: Now is the way to store all content from URLs

Today, link-saving service Kippt has rebuilt itself to support the saving of content, moving well beyond simple URL strings. In the company’s view, the mere storage of a link isn’t incredibly valuable in and of itself, as the content that the link points to is in fact what you care about.

The new Kippt takes that concept, and pushes content forward. The refresh of the service builds on its previous iteration – links remain at its heart, which is necessary as “everything can be referenced by a URL.” Links are still how you input data into Kippt, but the service then turns that around to deliver something more.

Kippt can now be summarized simply: It’s the place where you can store anything that can be referenced by a URL, that you wish to store for later retrieval, whatever your need. The company specifically notes “everything from Dribbble shots to GitHub repositories” as content that it can manage.

Read the full article at TNW

Try Kippt at kippt.com

Microryza (YC W13) is teaming up with Science Exchange (YC S11) to directly fund breast cancer research

There's a new model for how scientific research can happen. Microryza is bringing the power of direct crowdfunding to science. 

Elizabeth Iorns, CEO and cofounder of Science Exchange is doing original research into preventing breast cancer. In her words:

Most research focuses on how to treat cancer once it has developed in BRCA carriers. This approach aims to provide a non-invasive way to prevent transmission of the BRCA mutation to offspring, removing the high cancer development risk. 

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The total cost for this experiment is $15,000. The animal experiments will be conducted by Dale Cowley, Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina Animal Models Core via Science Exchange

Donate directly to this research effort at Microryza and get updates on the specific progress and results as they happen. 

WeFunder (YC W13) launches to bring crowdfunding startups to the masses

Crowdfunding is catching on in a big way in the consumer space, as platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo have provided new ways for people to back promising projects. But in the startup world, funding is still largely done the same way it has been for decades. A company called WeFunder is aiming to change that, by providing a platform that could make investing even small sums of money into a startup a reality.

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The ultimate goal is to enable anyone to invest in startups that they find promising. To that end, founders Mike Norman, Nick Tomarrello, and Greg Belote lobbied hard last year to get the JOBS Act passed. That act should help overturn a few rules which, to date, have held back greater adoption of crowdfunding for startups. And with a new SEC Chairwoman in place, the whole thing could finally move forward.

Read the full article on Techcrunch

Posmetrics (YC W13) launches iPad-based customer feedback solution for brick-and-mortar businesses

Y Combinator-backed Posmetrics, a new tool to help brick-and-mortar businesses collect customer feedback via the iPad, is today making its public debut. The company has designed its online surveys to run on the tablet form factor, and be simple and fast enough that a customer could complete a survey while at a business’s point-of-sale or checkout. Initially, the startup is targeting hotels, but says its platform would also work in retail, at restaurants, airlines, or any where else where there’s interaction between the business and the consumer.

Posmetrics began as a computer science project from two Harvard underclassman, Merrill Lutsky (CEO) and Erik Schluntz (CFO), who felt that the current methods businesses use to collect customer feedback were broken.

Read the full article at Techcrunch

Perfect Audience (YC S11) now serves over 4 billion ad impressions per month for 2,500 advertisers

When Y Combinator-incubated Perfect Audience launched last year, its stated goal was to make it easy for small advertisers (startups, small agencies, and others) to run retargeted ads on Facebook. Turns out, however, that there’s been much broader interest in the startup’s tools, with customers including enterprise companies and larger agencies. According to CEO and co-founder Brad Flora, it’s part of the broader “consumerization of enterprise” trend, where companies want simple tools that they can “operate themselves” without technical assistance.

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Overall, Perfect Audience has now signed up 2,500 advertisers and is serving 4 billion ad impressions per month. Flora said the company is cash-flow positive; with its current run rate, it would bring in several millions of dollars in revenue per year. And it’s also expanding into other types of ad retargeting, including web banners and email.

Read the full article on Techcrunch

Firebase (YC S11) launches its iOS SDK, brings realtime capabilities to mobile

Today, Firebase hopes to change this with the launch of a mobile SDK bringing its scalable realtime backend platform to iOS. In other words, the company can offload the major engineering challenges to allow resource-constrained developers to build rich Web-like experiences for mobile, keeping users engaged and delivering updates as they occur. Firebase can also simplify the development process and in many cases can be used as a complete backend, meaning developers can skip the hassle and expense of running their own servers.

Based on the traction of its Javascript-based Web product, including with companies like Atlassian, BitTorrent, Pivotal Labs, and eToro, it’s fair to assume the new mobile product will be popular in the gaming, social, and communications categories. The iOS SDK is already in use by collaborative reading app Kindoma, alternative PC input platform GemPad, and silent disco synchronization platform DiscoSync.

In an effort to demonstrate its technology, Firebase did something so obvious, I’m surprised I haven’t seen it used before: It created a standalone sample app and open sourced the code. SF Live Bus is a Firebase-powered iOS app that displays a realtime view of the location of every bus in San Francisco. The team created the entire app with 30 lines of unique code, 12 lines of Firebase code, plus standard iOS boilerplate. The team also created a simple sample chat example.

Read the full article on PandoDaily

Terascore (YC W13) launches to help teachers bring testing online

Teachers and students have suffered through the same model of educational testing for years. Sure, the SAT has changed — it’s now out of a possible 2,400 points, not 1,600 — but both standardized testing and good old in-class quizzing are still in the dominion of paper and pencil. Terascore, a Y Combinator-backed startup that launches today, is on a mission to help bring testing online.

To do that, the startup aims to provide teachers with tools that can help them create, administer and manage tests online, while making scores and results available immediately after testing. The platform also offers instant analytics for teachers to help them dig down into question quality and difficulty, along with providing a question bank for easy storage and re-use — all collectively as a way to better evaluate student performance and make testing easier on teachers.

Read the full article on Techcrunch

Try Terascore for running your tests online