Science Exchange (YC S11) Raises $3 Million from Union Square Ventures, O'Reilly AlphaTech

If the Internet can let you rent someone’s futon, car or cooking skills, it can certainly help you get your hands on some spare scientists or lab time.

Right? Right. That’s the premise behind Science Exchange, a Palo Alto-based startup that lets researchers buy or sell access to people and equipment they can use to run lab tests and experiments.

Scientists are already used to outsourcing certain kinds of work, either because they don’t have the time or the resources to do it themselves. So Science Exchange isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel — they’re just digitizing it and putting it up for bid on the Web, like everything else.

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Those numbers have been enough to help the company land a $3 million Series A round, led by Union Square Ventures, along with O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures. Earlier investors who had helped the Y Combinator company raise a $1.5 million seed round are also back; they include Yuri Milner, Lerer Ventures and XG Ventures.

Read the full article at AllThingsD

Grouper (YC W12) launches iPhone app, now in 20 cities, 400 partner bars, served hundreds of thousands of drinks

Since graduating from Y Combinator in 2012, Grouper has been on a mission to help busy, overworked young people get away from the glow of computer screens and out into the real world to meet new people. To do that, the startup sends its members on “Groupers,” which are essentially blind, group dates between two groups of friends, designed to take the awkwardness out of one-on-one dating.

Eager to avoid being seen as another dating site, the startup instead wants to appeal to younger generations who prefer casual meetups over drinks at a local bar to traditional “dinner-and-a-movie” dates. Since launch, the service has expanded into 20 U.S. cities, and members have shared hundreds of thousands of drinks. Up until now, Grouper has existed exclusively on the Web, but today the startup is looking to take its offline social network to the next level by bringing Groupers to the iPhone.

Read the full article on Techcrunch

Strikingly (YC W13) raises $1.5M from SV Angel, Index Ventures, FundersClub

Strikingly, the do-it-yourself (DIY) website creation service, has raised a $1.5 million seed round. The investments came from prominent venture capitalists including SV Angel, Index Ventures, Funders Club, Infinity Venture Partners, and Innovation Works. Company founder David Chen tells us that the money will be used to help grow his team.

For this Y Combinator alumnus, Strikingly aims to allow anyone to set up a website really quickly, in a manner similar to Wix. However, Chen says that the difference between his company and other similar services is that Strikingly is taking a mobile-first approach.

Read the full article on TNW

It's OK, I've got Lawdingo (YC W13)


If you’re going to launch a business with a video, you might as well be funny.

That’s what the good folks at Lawdingo have done with a brilliant, tongue-in-cheek look at legal advice.

If you’ve not heard about Lawdingo, you’re missing out. One reputable source declared it“the way of the future,” and we’re not about to argue with ourselves. Lawdingo lets a prospective client connect with an attorney and get an immediate legal consultation online with an eye toward building an ongoing attorney-client relationship.

via abovethelaw.com

Instacart (YC S12) adds Costco delivery to San Francisco, no membership needed

Instacart, the quickly growing grocery delivery service today added Costco to its list of stores that users can browse digitally and shop from. Key to this addition: Instacart does not requires its users to be Costco members to have its wares delivered to their domicile.

There are a few caveats, of course: While Instacart services three markets in the Bay Area, the Costco delivery service will service San Francisco only, to start. Also, the fee associated with delivery from its stores will be higher, clocking in at $9.99 for your collection of items, stiffer than the normal $3.99 rate.

Instacart told TNW that its 2-hour delivery option provides a speed that Costco delivery does not match. That, and its service provides more selection than Costco’s delivery option, at a lower or similar price. The Costco option will be available across Instacart’s normal platforms: iPhone, the Web, and iPad.

Read the full article on TNW

Order Costco at Instacart

Trigger.io (YC W08) announces 10X growth in the last year for its write-once-run-anywhere mobile platform

We launched our Forge platform in January last year. We’re immensely proud of it. Nevertheless, many things have changed since then as we’ve iterated fast with new releases week after week.

Our goal is the same: to provide web developers with the best framework for developing mobile apps across multiple platforms.

There’s a huge shift to mobile underway right now and we’re really only at the start. Ranking #1 for a search for “phonegap done right” and #4 for “mobile development platform” with our article on how to understand mobile platforms we want to enable web developers to make the transition with helpful content as well as our platform.

If you haven’t already check out Trigger.io Forge to see how it can accelerate your app plans by letting you re-use your HTML / CSS / JS skills and code for your mobile apps for iPhone, iPad, Android or mobile web.

We’re pretty happy with that strong growth – 10x since March last year. More developers are more engaged than ever in our platform – you can see examples of what they’ve created on our site.

Our customers range from companies building apps for themselves, through contract web developers and studios to product companies that are building many templated apps for industry verticals.

Read the full article on the Trigger.io blog

CrowdMed (YC W13) featured in New Scientist: Crowd diagnosis could spot rare diseases doctors miss

Shortly after a backpacking trip in Michigan in 2009, 20-year-old Sarah Sheridan came down with what seemed to be a nasty case of the flu. Unlike the flu, however, her symptoms only got worse with time. Blood tests, MRI scans, spinal taps and other investigations came back normal or inconclusive.

Sheridan spent the next three years in and out of hospital, all to no avail. Her insurance claims swelled to over $100,000. It wasn't until a chance encounter with someone who'd had Lyme disease that she finally found relief.

New web-based tools seek to spare others from a similar ordeal. CrowdMed, launched on 16 April at the TedMed conference in Washington DC, uses crowds to solve tough medical cases.

Anyone can join CrowdMed and analyse cases, regardless of their background or training. Participants are given points that they can then use to bet on the correct diagnosis from lists of suggestions. This creates a prediction market, with diagnoses falling and rising in value based on their popularity, like stocks in a stock market. Algorithms then calculate the probability that each diagnosis will be correct.

Crowdtilt (YC W12) Confirms $12M Raise From Andreessen, Sean Parker, Dave Morin & Others

Last month, we reported that Crowdtilt, the Y Combinator alum that launched just over a year ago with plans to become “the Kickstarter for any group,” had raised $12 million in Series A financing from a group of notable investors, including Napster, Causes and Airtime founder Sean Parker and Path’s Dave Morin.

Today, Crowdtilt has confirmed these reports and is officially announcing the close of its Series A financing. In so doing, the startup is adding a few more names to its roster of investors, which is led by Andreessen Horowitz and includes Sean Parker, SV Angel and DCM, along with CrunchFund, Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian, Elad Gil, AngelList’s Naval Ravikant, Sam Altman, WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg, Dave Morin and Justin.tv and Exec founder, Justin Kan. As a result of the round, Andreessen Partner Jeff Jordan (also the former President and CEO of OpenTable), will be joining the startup’s board of directors.

Read the full article on Techcrunch

Verbling (YC S11) brings immersive language learning into your living room with Courses

When trying to master a new language, practice speaking and listening to it is essential. You don’t become fluent by conjugating verbs in a workbook or listening to recordings, but many of us don’t have the capability to spend months abroad honing conversation skills.

Y Combinator-backed Verbling is a platform that connects people online to practice speaking foreign languages together. Today, the startup introduced Verbling Courses, a new product that seeks to make students proficient as quickly as possible.

Read the full article at Venturebeat