Watchsend (YC S13) lets you record mobile screen interactions for user testing so you can make your app better

While traditional analytics detail what users tap in an app, they don’t show what happens in between. If only developers could watch their users in action. With Y Combinator-backed Watchsend, developers can get a peek by remotely recording users’ screens, and learn how to refine their apps.

Whether the app is in beta or live, Watchsend users can specify exactly what pages they want to record, which are then encrypted and secured in its data base. All recordings come with screen annotations of taps, swipes and presses, as well as a timeline of the user’s actions. App developers can then go in and view them, using very specific search terms to navigate the vast number of videos collected.

Watchsend is meant to complement traditional app testing methods such as conversion rates and A/B testing, not replace them. ”There’s a lot of stuff that you get from traditional analytics that’s absolutely indispensable, and we don’t claim to be able to give you any of that,” Gulrajani says. “But there’s a lot of stuff that analytics misses out on, stuff that you didn’t think to track.”

Instead, it’s offering an alternative solution for apps where user progress is harder to track. For example, analyzing data from mobile gaming apps can show at what level users are dropping off, but its a lot more difficult to determine exactly what the user is doing wrong. Maybe the ladder to the next level is blocked by in-game shrubbery, or that last gem to be collected is too hard to find. Analytics also show which pages are reached by users, but not how far down they scroll before clicking “next” or “buy”.

Read the full article at Techcrunch

Meta (YC S13) augmented reality glasses now available for pre-order, does what Glass can't

Greg Kumparak at Techcrunch writes

Over a year after the announcement Of Google Glass, many folks I talk to still seem to be misunderstanding what Glass can actually do.

“It’ll be great for Augmented Reality!” they say, assuming that Glass can render objects directly into your full view of the world (it can’t.) “Ooh! It’ll be like Minority Report!”, expecting Glass’ camera to pick up your every hand wave (it doesn’t.)

Then they try on a pair and realize that… well, that’s not what Glass is. But it’s what Meta is aiming to be — and their first (read: still a bit rough) version is going on sale to the public starting today.

To picture the Meta, picture a pair of glasses — or, more accurately in its current stage, a pair of safety goggles. Put a translucent, reflective surface in each eye piece, displaying images on top of your field of view as piped out of a tiny projector built into each arm of the frames. Take a couple tiny RGB/Infrared cameras — essentially a miniature Kinect — and strap them to the frame. That’s the Meta.

The Meta then plugs into another device to help it with the data crunching; right now, that’s a laptop. Moving forward, it’ll be your phone.

After flying under the radar for a bit over a year, Meta debuted itself to the world on Kickstarter back in May. By the end of their campaign, they’d nearly doubled their original goal of $100,000. They promised to ship those units to their backers by the end of this month, and they say they’re on track to meet that deadline — so now they’re opening up pre-sales of the next iteration to everyone.

To be clear, the hardware they’re launching today is still quite early. It’s perhaps a bit past the “Developers Only” level, but it’s still mostly meant for the hardcore early-adopters and tinkerers. Hell, its early state is reflected in its very name; this model is called the META.01, suggesting many a revision to come. The META.01 units are going up for sale at $667, with plans to begin shipping in November.

Also watch the behind-the-scenes review by Reddit (YC S05) cofounder Steve Huffman as he uses the META.01 prototype...

Read the full review of the META.01 at Techcrunch

Pre-order the META.01 glasses for $667 now

LocalOn (YC S13) works with newspapers to give small businesses a one-stop shop for online marketing

In the past few years, it seems like there’s been the explosion of startups trying to convince local businesses to sign up for their marketing or loyalty tools, especially in the San Francisco Bay Area. In fact, LocalOn co-founder Shahbano Imran recalled going door-to-door trying to convince businesses to sign up and discovering that “small businesses are getting pitched by 20 startups a day.”

As a result, she said LocalOn’s initial efforts were “a complete failure” because “nobody wanted to hear from us.” Then she and her co-founder David Tolloupov came up with a better way to reach those businesses — working with local newspapers and merchant associations.

So instead of getting pitched by a random startup, businesses are offered a set of white labeled tools from a publication or an organization that they already trust. (The revenue is split between LocalOn and its resale partner.)

The approach seems to be working for the startup, which is part of incubator Y Combinator’s current class of companies. It has already partnered with 40 merchant associations and two newspapers in the Bay Area — apparently the partnership has generated $50,000 in new business for the East Bay Express newspaper over the past six months, and the OaklandGrown merchant association has seen a 20 percent increase in revenue from annual memberships.

Read the full article at Techcrunch

Siasto (YC W11) raises $750K seed round for its mobile collaboration and project management service

Siasto has received some more support to build out its task management service with $750,000 from One Asia Investment Partners, Y Combinator, Start Fund and other angel investors.

Siasto has developed a robust platform that TechCrunch’s Eric Eldon wrote about in detail last year. Last November, the company added a news feed to the service. With the new funding, Siasto will now extend its development to focus more on its mobile collaboration service. The funding will also be used to expand its service into Asia.

Co-founder Niccolo Pantucci says its mobile strategy is to build an app store in Siasto that features distinct apps that take from Siasto but that have specific functions. There might be linking between different components but each will act as a separate app.

Senic (YC S13) wants to revolutionize measurement, starting with a smartphone-connected laser range finder

New hardware startup and Y Combinator Summer 2013 cohort member Senic is launching pre-orders for its first product today, a laser rangefinder like the ones sold in hardware stores around the world and used every day by contractors and DIY enthusiasts. The difference is that Senic’s device uses Bluetooth Low Energy to communicate with iOS and Android devices, recording measurements instantly and syncing them to the cloud.

The use of a cloud-based platform for collecting and storing measurement data, as well as Senic’s plans to expand their hardware catalog to include a number of different hardware devices, including micrometers, gauges, and other tools that builders and engineers use regularly in their work. Senic co-founder Toby Eichenwald explained that he got the idea working for his father’s company in Korea, and learned from its customers that the measurement industry was essentially “stuck in the 80s.”

Read the full article at Techcrunch

Preorder Senic's Laser Range Finder for $99 (delivery by November)

Streak (YC S11) launches native iOS app, brings Gmail directly into the Streak CRM mobile app

Streak has embedded Gmail into its new iOS app in a novel way to create a service that is turning the 600-million-user platform into a powerful CRM environment.

Gmail is a native app on iOS and has its own “sandbox,” the term to describe how apps are managed individually, essentially in secure, virtual containers. But Gmail does make calls to a server. And it’s in that data delivery that Streak does its magic. Streak fakes that it is Gmail. The Gmail server returns the same HTML, CSS and JavaScript that the regular Gmail app receives. However it is processed and modified so that it behaves and looks native. The app is also processed so the native parts of the app can communicate with it. It is also modified so Streak data, such as CRM information, can be added to the emails.

Read the full article at Techcrunch

SimpleLegal (YC S13) launches to reduce legal bills using the magic of machine learning, typically 5% to 20% off

Nathan Wenzel and Patrik Outericky had a successful services business called Edge Solutions that helped enterprises — especially insurance companies with large portfolios of cases — sort out their legal bills. Although the business wasn’t sexy, it was profitable. But Wenzel and Outericky decided to wind that company down and go into Y Combinator to turn that review process into a scalable product instead. They are now emerging from the accelerator with a new company,SimpleLegal.

SimpleLegal takes as much friction out of the bill review process as possible. All a customer has to do is ask their law firm to copy SimpleLegal on each invoice, and then the magic starts to happen. SimpleLegal’s system ingests the invoice and parses each line item into its database. Natural language processing systems figure out who billed what and for how long — and then that data is run through a machine learning system that flags outliers. One example: the system flagged a line item where a professional billed a half hour for mailing. That might not be too unusual but for the fact that the system knew the thing being mailed was a one-page form. That’s pretty smart.

Read the full article on Techcrunch

Glio (YC S13) launches as the Yelp of Brazil and Latin America

Even though Yelp is almost a decade old, the business model it pioneered with crowd-sourced local listings has yet to permeate the rest of the emerging world.

A Y Combinator-backed startup called Glio is betting that it has a chance to dominate Brazil’s fractured local listings market.

Co-founded by Roberto Riccio, a former professional poker player who entered college at 16, the site is just open to a few major cities in the country like Rio De Janeiro and Sao Paulo.

But eventually, the company plans to expand beyond into Brazil’s mid-size cities and then into other Latin American markets like Argentina and Chile.

Glio’s team got into Y Combinator on the third try, about two years after they originally launched the service. They now have about 10,000 reviews for restaurants and venues in Rio De Janeiro. They just launched a mobile app a few months ago.

Read the full article on Techcrunch

Weilos (YC S13) wants to pair you with an online weight loss coach who has shed pounds themselves

A new startup currently participating in the Summer 2013 cohort of Y Combinator called Weilos wants to make weight loss attempts more sticky and more accountable by pairing those with weight loss goals with coaches who have already achieved theirs for personalized, one-on-one training. It’s yet another example of the crowdsourced services economy at work, and one that also hits the current hot spot of health, diet and fitness.

Weilos is the product of a union between co-founders Ray Wu, an MD from Cornell, and Alex Perelman, a former Activition employee with an MBA and a degree in Computer Science from Berkeley. Both wanted to effect change in the world to address the growing concern of obesity in the U.S., in a way that would actually work; it’s an oft-repeated refrain, but the fact that obesity levels continue to rise proves that no one yet has come up with a good solution.

Where Wu and Perelman’s concept differs from most is that it recognizes 1) there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution to well-being and weight loss, and 2) the best way to promote continued use of a program is to build in some kind of direct personal interaction, and personal accountability, rather than just trust users to follow a program on their own.

Read the full article on Techcrunch