WePay (YC S09) rolls out white-label payments API, drops prices, targets PayPal

Online payments startup WePay is today announcing lowered pricing and new API features, as it celebrates the one-year anniversary of its WePay Payments API. The company, which is backed by $19.2 million in venture funding, is actually a bit older than just one year, however. As you may remember, WePay first emerged from Y Combinator in 2009 as a simple tool to collecting group payments. The company has since grown beyond group payments, and even beyond payments themselves, with added support for event registration and ticketing, custom invoicing, donations and online stores.

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Since the API’s launch a year ago, over 1,000 applications have been built on top of it, including BookFresh,GoFundMeVenyooz, and Fundable, to name a few. Some, like GoFundMe, actually replaced PayPal with WePay as their default means for accepting online payments. According to Clerico, a lot of WePay’s customers are former PayPal customers. “We’ve found that PayPal has failed to innovate around the user experience,” he says. “These platforms really care about the user experience they offer their customers, and they can’t deliver the user experience they want with PayPal. So they rip out PayPal.” He notes that the solution is especially popular among crowdfunding sites and small business support sites, and is now making a big push into marketplaces as well.

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OrderAhead (YC W11) nabs $2.3M seed for the fastest easiest way to order takeout

You know what’s not fun? Ordering takeout from your favorite restaurant over the phone — actually planning ahead instead of just showing up — only to wait in line like a schlub once you get there to pick up your order and pay. If you’re anything like me, this has happened enough times that you’ve thought about starting a Facebook support group, or at least made a strongly-worded mental note of it. Well, luckily OrderAhead feels your pain.

The Y Combinator grad offers a free app (for the iPhone) that allows anyone and everyone to quickly order takeout from local merchants. Connect your credit card, order the food you want to shovel into your mouth at a later point, then pick up the food with your name and phone number — free of charge.

At present, OrderAhead’s network focuses on restaurants (mostly of the takeout variety), but in the future, the startup is thinking big: It wants to be the easiest way to order anything from local merchants via your phone. Sound like a pipe dream? Well, OrderAhead has a few investors who would beg to differ.

Up until now, the startup has largely flown under the radar, eschewing press for some good, old-fashioned heads-down company-building. But, today, along with officially making its presence known, OrderAhead is officially revealing that it raised $2.3 million in seed funding earlier this year from a bevy of recognizable names, including Facebook Co-founder Adam D’Angelo, Matrix Partners, Menlo Ventures, Ignition Partners, Y Combinator and YC partners (Harj Taggar, Alexis Ohanian, Garry Tan, Paul Buchheit, Geoff Ralston), CrunchFund, SV Angel, Eric Schmidt (via Innovation Endavors) and, last but not least, Bay Area crepe chain, Crepevine.

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Flip Video co-founder unveils new e-learning company, Knowmia (YC S12)

On Tuesday, Flip's other co-founder will unveil a somewhat meatier startup: Knowmia, which CEO Ariel Braunstein says will help parents cut down on the high cost of tutoring.

"There's something magic that happens when a teacher and a student connect. How can we replicate that?" said Braunstein, who together with Kaplan launched the low-cost Flip digital camcorder in 2007 and sold it two years later to Cisco Systems (CSCO) for $590 million.

Cisco infamously reversed course on its unusual foray into consumer electronics, announcing plans to kill the Flip brand barely two years after the acquisition. But Braunstein said the experience of building the product and watching it become wildly popular taught him about the power of online-video sharing.

San Francisco-based Knowmia trolls the Web for teaching videos, then organizes them into study plans developed by a network of teachers from around the country. The startup has quietly amassed a trove of more than 7,000 public-domain videos from sources including YouTube, Vimeo and the websites of various government agencies.

Read the full article at the San Jose Mercury News

Kamcord (YC S12) Helps Record And Share Those Epic Mobile Gaming Moments

Big numbers, virtual badges, and achievements all lack a sense of context, and a way for other people to know exactly how good you are. After all, what good is nabbing a high score when you can’t show off how you nearly destroyed your fingers getting it?

That’s where YC-backed Kamcord comes in. The brainchild of MIT alumni Kevin Wang, Aditya Rathnam, and CEO Matt Zitzmann, Kamcord aims to help mobile gamers easily record and share their exploits via a free SDK available to iOS game developers.

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QuicklyChat (YC S12) Brings “Push-To-Talk” Video To Small, Remote Teams

QuicklyChat, a Y Combinator-backed startup participating in the Summer 2012 program, has an interesting take on video conferencing. With its newly launched solution designed for small teams working remotely, QuicklyChat is trying to bring back ad hoc conversations, which are still the most valuable aspect to the in-office work environment. With its “push-to-talk” video chat system, your co-workers can immediately reach you – but only when your status indicator says you’re not busy.

And here’s the key selling point – that status indicator updates automatically based on what you’re currently doing on your computer. In your IDE coding? It’s red. Surfing Reddit? It’s green. Reading email? It’s probably yellow.

“We think video is really the best way to communicate with anybody,” says co-founder James Harvey, “because you get more context than you do with IM. But Skype and things like that are too formal,” he adds. “It’s like having your phone ringing. You wouldn’t want to have your phone ringing every time someone asked you a 10-second question.”

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Meet The Double (YC S12), A Teleconferencing Robot With An iPad For A Face

Teleconferencing has changed the way business is conducted. Small companies can hire talent in another city, large corporations can save money by having international meetings in a conference room, and managers can keep tabs on off-site workers through services like Lua. But as technology never rests, neither does the teleconference industry, and Y Combinator-backed Double Robotics proves it.

The company has built an incredibly creative iPad stand that works as a robotic body double for you. 

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HiMom (YC S12) Helps Your Parents Keep Up With Your Life, One Postcard At A Time

Social media sites like Facebook have become a central part of the lives of many families, letting them keep tabs on each other’s lives through pictures. But they’re not for everyone. My mom and dad, who live in the U.S., have no interest in joining Facebook. They are okay with email, and my dad will even video Skype if his wife, my stepmom (a computer scientist, as it happens), sorts it out for him. But you know what? They still really love it most of all when I send them a real letter with photos of me, my husband and our two kids. And you know what else? I’ve really fallen off the wagon where letters are concerned. I’m terrible at finding time to sit down and write them, and then getting around to sending them.

So I was especially excited to hear about HiMom, a YC-backed mobile app, part of the current class, that lets you create postcards from pictures you’ve taken on your phone, and then send them to your parents — or anyone else you’d like to keep in touch with on a regular basis. To me, it seemed like the perfect union: it takes something I am already doing to record and create things (using my phone) and matches it up with how my parents like to get their content (in a physical form).

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Scoutzie (YC S12) Is A More Curated, Thoughtful Marketplace For Designers

Backed by Y Combinator, 500 Startups and SV Angel, Scoutzie launches today to give people looking for great mobile designers an online place to find the best of the best.

Because good design comes through a series of quality checks, the Scoutzie community vets all potential designers, either through a formal portfolio review or through a members-only invite process. This review process has resulted in 500 top notch members of the Scoutzie community and around 1,500 applicants who didn’t make the cut. 

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