Bikanta’s (YC S14) Tiny Diamonds Find Cancer Before It Spreads

Y Combinator-backed biotech company Bikanta wants to find and stop cancer at its source by inserting tiny, fluorescent diamonds inside your body. The brainchild of Dr. Ambika Bumb, who holds a PhD in biomedical engineering from Georgia Tech, these nanodiamonds can detect molecular abnormalities at a much earlier stage, essentially stopping cancer from spreading any further.

Bumb was working on her first post-doctoral fellowship with the National Institute of Health (NIH) at Oxford University when she became dissatisfied with current limitations for cancer screening. Current methods are unable to detect small tumors or breakaway tumor cells that lead to something called micrometastatic tumors, which can go undetected at the source and lead to the spread of cancer throughout other areas of the body. Bumb also points out the technical limitations involving signal loss, high background interference and unacceptable toxicity that have sidelined research endeavors. Quantum dots, Quantum dots (one of the two other fluorescence/optical imaging agents) are made of CdSe/Cds/ZnS core materials that are toxic, for example.

Zip Phone (YC S14) Lets You Make Free Calls Over The Internet…Without Launching Its App

A company known as Zip Phone is making it easier to place secure, Wi-Fi enabled phone calls, in order to save consumers from using up the limited number of cellular minutes that come with their smartphone’s voice plan. That’s a more common problem outside of North America where unlimited calling plans are prevalent, though these consumers can still benefit from Zip Phone while traveling to save on roaming charges.

However, what’s interesting about this startup is how the technology itself is deeply integrated with the Android operating system.

Zip Phone’s founder, Anuj Jain, describes the app as something you just install once, then never look at again. Yes, it’s another one of those “invisible apps” – that is, apps that operate in the background, only kicking off when needed.

YC Hacks Recap

Thanks to everyone who participated in YC's first hackathon. We saw so many incredible things built in just over 24 hours. 

You can see the full list of hacks submitted on ChallengePost, or as voted on by the Product Hunt community here.

Congrats to the top three teams:

Athelas: Blood imaging and analysis from your smartphone. 

Nunchuck.js: A library for fast multi-device data synchronization through the browser.

Vrniture: IKEA from the comfort of your own home. 

If you'd like to relive the weekend, you can revisit the liveblog on Forbes or check out these photos by Nico Garcia.
Below are some shots we took throughout the weekend. Thank you to Michael Levy and Sophia Dycaico for many of the photos and captions.

The Xavier Team

Team 254, the Bellarmine robotics team and their t-shirt cannon

Erik Herschend from Make Games With Us

Pebble's Katherine McAuliffe

The team from Reaction App: Rachel Kroft and Josh Benjamin

Mark Nadal and Darius Bacon of Sonic

HelloWorld's Ernestine Fu and Jeff Himmelman

The Roost team's Flower Pot Meat Smoker 

YC's Alexis Ohanian and Yuri Sagalov try out Thalmic Myos 

The Expo

Tal Ben Yakar from Wine Me!

Edwin Zhang of Nunchuck.js

Nathan Broadbent of Jugglr

William Chen of Sonic Locator

Katrina DeVaney of BakeLoves

Alec Heifetz and Harini Kannan of StreetSmart

Angel Say and Alex Kern of Vrniture 

Tiffany Zhong of Dash

Jerry Liu of ThisorThat

Sam Altman playing a game built by MGWU students Mitch Malinin, Justin Matsnev & Yahya Bouhlel.
Photo by Nicolai Safai

Finbarr Taylor and Karen X. Cheng of Awesome Baby Name

Aptible (YC S14) Handles The Hard Parts Of HIPAA Compliance

“The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads,” entrepreneur and technologist Jeff Hammerbacher once said, paraphrasing Beat poet Allen Ginsberg in a sadly truthful characterization of the modern day tech industry.

The thing is, a lot of people who work in advertising-fueled tech products have said that they’re intrigued by the possibility of working on more meaningful applications of technology, particularly in the health space. But the complicated regulatory environment surrounding such products serves as a big deterrent. “Generally, health is just so heavily regulated, it’s just a painful business to be in. It’s not necessarily how I want to spend my time,” Google co-founder Sergey Brin said in an interview earlier this year. “I think the regulatory burden in the U.S. is so high, I think it would dissuade a lot of entrepreneurs.”

A new startup called Aptible just might help make healthcare a bit more palatable for ambitious entrepreneurs. Aptible, which is in the current classes of both the Rock Health and Y Combinator startup accelerators, says it helps handle all of the things a technology company needs to become HIPAA compliant at a fraction of the cost and effort of traditional HIPAA compliance consultancies.

Sliced Investing (YC S14) Launches To Bring Hedge Fund Access To The Common Investor

Sliced Investing today launched a tool to connect accredited investors who previously couldn’t meet the required minimum investment, to hedge funds.

You won’t be able to use Sliced to drop $1,000 into a hedge fund, but its service should allow qualified investors to deploy low five-figure sums into hedge funds that previously had mid-range six-figure minimums.

Sliced intends to get around minimums by pooling users’ capital into larger tranches. Users will be able to select a fund on Sliced that focuses on a certain strategy — say, equities or real estate — that meets their own investment bent. Other users can do the same, and after what the company calls a “threshold” is met, the accumulated monies will be disbursed into several hedge funds that match the selected strategy.

ListRunner (YC S14) Eliminates Hospital Paperwork

A majority of a doctor’s time is spent jotting down notes about a patient for the next doctor on duty over and over again with a pen and paper, according to Dr. Jeeshan Chowdury. His new Y Combinator-backed startup, ListRunner, promises to eliminate this paperwork with a mobile app...

ListRunner creates a digital record within the app that can be taken on-the-go and shared on a private network with other doctors. It works on both iOS or Android and it stays on, even if your phone hits a dead zone or isn’t near Wi-Fi. The most important part here, though, is that the app is HIPAA-compliant.

Kash (YC S14) Lets Retailers Offer Starbucks-Like Mobile Payments While Cutting Out Credit Cards

If you’ve been to a Starbucks in the past year or so, it’s almost guaranteed you’ve seen someone in line pay with their smartphone by opening the Starbucks app and holding a bar code up to a scanner. Kash is hoping to bring the same experience to other retailers and small businesses while cutting out one of their biggest costs: credit card fees.

Users just have to install the Kash app for iOS or Android. Unlike the Starbucks app, which forces you to create an account and enter your credit card information the first time you use it, Kash’s app just shows a green debit card labeled “tap to pay,” and the first purchase is on them. It’s a smart way of jumping straight to the best part of the app experience, even if the card does seem weirdly skeuomorphic in the otherwise flat iOS 7-style interface.

Kash gets around credit cards entirely, letting users pay straight from their checking accounts by entering their online banking log-in info, as you would with an app like Mint. Some people might not be comfortable with that, but Kash promises that it fully covers any fraud that could result from using its app. Since payments are being handled directly, retailers get paid for their sales in a day instead of potentially waiting days or weeks for things to go through traditional processors.

Think Gaming (YC S14) Demystifies Paid App Installs With A Mobile Gaming Co-Op

When we last checked in with New York-based Think Gaming, the company was hoping to create a sort of AngelList for mobile games in an effort to connect developers with strategic partners and investors. The company has refocused its business a bit since then, and is now seeking to help mobile game developers to get wider distribution by helping them to maximize their reach through install ads.

The company, which is part of the current Y Combinator class, has created what it’s calling a mobile advertising co-op. Through that co-op, gaming companies share data about the cost of the ads they’re purchasing across multiple networks, and the effectiveness of those ad networks.

App installs are a $10 billion global market, but until now most developers were in the dark about which networks perform best for their games, and the only way to find out was through trial and error. That gave major game developers like King and Supercell an advantage over indie gamers, simply because they already have the size, distribution, and marketing budgets to optimize their ad spend.