Soundfocus (YC S13) chosen as Gizmodo App of the Day: World's first music player tuned to your hearing

SoundFocus: SoundFocus is “the world’s first music player that tunes to your hearing,” according to its creators, led by SoundFocus CEO Alex Selig, who himself suffers from hearing impairment.First, you test your hearing acuity, roughly speaking, in three zones — lows, mids, and highs. In addition to everything on your phone and in your Apple iTunes Match account (although it can’t apply its EQ to the cloud-stored songs), SoundFocus includes artist radio stations using Spotify’s catalog, if you’re a premium subscriber, programming the artist stations using technology from The Echo Nest (publisher of You also get access to all your Spotify on-demand tracks. SoundFocus can work its EQ magic on Spotify songs, just not on iTunes Match songs, so we recommend turning off iTunes Match in your iOS settings if you’re going to use this app as your main player. [Free]

Kamcord (YC S12) announces 1 billion gameplay videos recorded, raises an additional $1M in seed

Kamcord, the Y Combinator-backed startup offering a free SDK that makes it easy for iOS devs to offer in-game recording functionality to their users, is today announcing an additional $1M in seed funding and some big updates since the last time we checked in. 

We spoke with CEO Matt Zitzmann about some new features coming to the service today and he also filled us in on the progress the company has made since rolling out a new voice overlay feature back in June. Not only has the service reached an impressive 1 billion gameplay videos recorded (up from 500 million in June), Zitzmann also tells us the company is experiencing developers switching from rival in-game recording platforms due to a much higher rate of gameplay videos shared to social networks.  In-game recording in mobile apps could become a big trend in months to come as Sony and Microsoft move to integrate system-wide recording features in their upcoming next-gen gaming consoles.

Crowdtilt (YC W12) launches Crowdhoster, the world's most flexible open source crowd funding platform

Thanks to the JOBS Act and the rise of Kickstarter, Indiegogo and the parade of startups that have emerged in their wake, crowdfunding has gone mainstream. However, according to the minds behind Crowdtilt — the Y Combinator-incubated platform that caters to the many types of “group fundraising” that fall outside the purview of Kickstarter — this is just Phase One. The Crowdfunding Era is just beginning.

While the Kickstarters and Indiegogos continue to dominate headlines in the crowdfunding space, a growing set of niche platforms have emerged to handle the spillover from projects that don’t fit under the traditional umbrella. And some are bypassing platforms altogether: Star Citizen, a space-age video game, recently became the most successful crowdfunding campaign yet, raising a whopping $15 million — on its own site.

With projects like Lockitron, Basis and Myo also joining the list of projects that have raised big bucks without the help of traditional platforms, Crowdtilt founder and CEO James Beshara believes this is a strong indication of where crowdfunding is headed. The writing is on the wall.

That’s why Crowdtilt is today launching the first public version of Crowdhoster — its full-featured, open-source, customizable crowdfunding tool that will allow anyone to launch their own campaign without having to touch a line of code. Built using Crowdtilt’s API, Crowdhoster gives both individuals or businesses the ability to set up and own their own crowdfunding page.

Read the full article on Techcrunch

CoreOS (YC S13) in Wired: Linux hackers rebuild Internet from Silicon Valley garage

Alex Polvi is living the great Silicon Valley archetype. Together with some old school friends, he’s piecing together a tech revolution from inside a two-car Palo Alto garage.

He’s like Dave Packard or Steve Jobs or Sergey Brin — at least up to a point. The difference is that, from his vantage point here in the 21st century, Polvi views his garage with a certain sense of irony — “straight-up Palo Alto-style,” he says — and he harbors ambitions that suit our particular time. He wants to change the way we build the entire internet, making this worldwide network of computer servers as easy to update as the browsers on our laptops.

Inside that Palo Alto garage — the door open to the Silicon Valley summer sun, and the camping gear stacked against the wall — Polvi and his colleagues are fashioning a new computer operating system known asCoreOS. This isn’t an OS for running desktop PCs or laptops or tablets. It’s meant to run the hundreds of thousands of servers that underpin the modern internet.

Read the full article at Wired

Buttercoin (YC S13) Uses Bitcoin To Attack The $500B-A-Year Remittances Economy

With Bitcoin’s promise of frictionless transactions, particularly across international borders, it’s inevitable that a team would use the math-based currency to attack the global remittances market.

The World Bank estimates that migrants will send about $515 billion to relatives in developing countries by 2015, which is about 10 times the size of the U.S.’s budget for foreign aid.

The old stand-bys like Western Union can charge around 10 percent for transactions in the market, an amount that Buttercoinco-founders Cedric Dahl and Bennett Hoffman find obscene.

But Bitcoin, which is a pure math-based currency that allows for anonymous and irreversible transactions without the need for a third-party facilitator like a bank, promises transactions at a substantially lower cost.

Buttercoin plans to open in India within the next three months and then to operate in six countries in nine months’ time. Their model is to open a local Bitcoin exchange in each country. When they enter a market, they pair with local money transfer businesses to have legal compliance in the country. But these local partners don’t touch the Bitcoin-to-local currency transactions; they merely get a 50 percent cut ofButtercoin‘s fees in exchange for having the proper licenses and relationships with regulators.

Read the full article on Techcrunch

Graft Concepts (YC S13) is the Swiss Army Knife of iPhone cases

Card slots. A bottle openerPepper spray.Defense against a .50 caliber bullet. Whatever you might need on the go, people are thinking of ways for you to integrate it right into your iPhone case.

But Y Combinator startup Graft Concepts is trying to cover all your basic needs with one case, using a simple latched frame and interchangeable backplates. Named Leverage, the case’s frame alone is meant to be a bumper for the phone and comes with either a plain backplate for $40 or a card holder (which fits about five cards) for $50. Additional backplates range from $7 to $30 based on design and material.

The idea behind Graft Concepts is to offer easy installation and removal, functionality and a complement to the iPhone’s sleek design. Inspired by watch clasps, the metal latch lets you fit the frame around the phone and then click it into place to avoid any damage from snapping or pulling the case. Co-founder Anthony Ko describes the product as “a Swiss army knife” for iPhone cases, because users can switch out backplates to suit their current needs.

Read the full article on Techcrunch

How PlanGrid (YC W12) will save NEA Baptist Hospital almost $2M, for an ROI of 7753.41%

The NEA Baptist Hospital is one of thousands of projects leveraging PlanGrid for construction document management. This Arkansas-based project is around 770,000 squre feet, has a two and half year construction schedule, and a project cost of $175 million.


Adding up time, paper and rework savings together results in annual savings of $786,196[5] per year or $1,965,490[6] over the entire length of the project. The total project cost for PlanGrid including hardware and subscriptions for the 13 users was $10,140 per year[8]. This leads to an ROI of 7753.41% or 77x.[7]

Read the full post on The Plangrid Blog

Teleborder (YC S13) uses tech smarts and SaaS to cut through the red tape of getting visas for all your workers

While immigration reform continues to be a hot topic of contention in the U.S., Teleborder, a new startup that’s part of the current batch of YC companies, has developed a service that aims to tackle another aspect of the issue: the immense amount of red tape that companies have to go through once theydo decide to employ someone from outside the U.S.

The problem, says co-founder and CEO James Richards, is that when it comes to work visas, while a lot of companies are keen to bring in top talent to fill vacant positions, even when the U.S. immigration authorities have created channels for them to do so, it’s time-consuming to gather together the different documents needed, and very easy to get it wrong, get the application rejected, and then have to start again.

Read the full article on Techcrunch

Coinbase (YC S12) in the New Scientist: Launching instant Bitcoin micro payments off-blockchain

The New Scientist, in the recent magazine edition writes: "Micropayments now ready to slash price of online news":

The digital currency Bitcoin could help. Coinbase, a digital wallet and platform that lets anyone with a US bank account buy and trade Bitcoin currency, announced last week that it is now supporting instant, free micropayments, in Bitcoins, with none of these drawbacks. In a blog post, Coinbase CEO and founder Brian Armstrong wrote that Coinbase would start handling small – typically under $1 – Bitcoin transactions "off-blockchain". That means each one wouldn't have to go through the algorithmic validation process across the whole Bitcoin network, which can take a few minutes or more, but would instead be sent directly between two Coinbase accounts and validated later.

These microtransactions could let users read the rest of a New York Timesarticle for a few cents instead of signing up for a full monthly subscription, Armstrong wrote, or "pay for Wi-Fi internet metered by the minute (or second!) if you just need to check one email" or "support your favorite artists or coders with a tip".