Coin (YC W13) launches Arduino Bluetooth Low Energy module for $22, makes BLE integration easy

San Francisco-based startup Coin may not have launched yet, but it has created a hardware platform that others can use to build their own products in the process of developing its own. Today, Coin announced that it will offer up an Arduino Bluetooth Low Energy module that’s designed to be small and easy to integrate into hardware hacks and products of all kinds.

The $22 kit includes an Arduino-BLE board and 6-pin header that should be fairly broadly applicable for building Arduino-based hardware that can communicate with iOS devices. That means you’ll be able to talk to Apple’s new iBeacons service, which uses BLE to perform a number of functions, including ones that people normally associate with NFC like tap-based payments, in theory.

In developing its own product, Coin found that it was very challenging to find an easy way to integrate BLE into products in terms of figuring out wiring schematics, board layout, bulk manufacturing and coding to connect the chip to the Arduino processor to the iOS app itself. The Coin Arduino-BLE kit is designed to simply that by offering a pre-rolled solution, completely with open-source software that will go up on Github in December, which is when the boards should ship.

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Twitch in Fortune Magazine: Gamer video viewing surpass the Super Bowl's online numbers

The odds are that if you're under 30 and play video games, you're already aware of Twitch. If you're older and don't play games, then you're not one of the 45 million unique visitors per month that flock to the social live streaming site. Over 600,000 everyday gamers -- as well as game developers, publishers, and even professional gamers -- use the site to broadcast to the world every month. The site's growth helped it secure $20 million in funding this week.

Studios showcase exclusive gameplay demos of new games like Activision's (ATVICall of Duty: Ghosts through Twitch. Professional video game players can chat and connect with fans directly through live streamed practice sessions, all the while making money from the advertisers that are lining up to be part of this newfound phenomenon. As the exclusive streaming partner of ReedPOP, the largest producer of pop culture events in the world, Twitch broadcasts games and other content from events like New York Comic Con and Chicago Comic Con and indie video game shows PAX East and PAX Prime.

Read the full article in Fortune

Loom (YC W12) raises $1.4M for its photo library service, launches RAW photo support

A startup called Loom, which begin its life as the Y Combinator-backed photo-sharing startup Popset, is working to build a better iCloud for both consumers and developers. Currently, the company offers a cloud storage and syncing service, in the form of a mobile application for iOS and desktop app for Mac. And today, Loom is also announcing $1.4 million in seed funding to continue to build on its vision.

The round included participation from Google Ventures (MG Siegler, disclosure: previously a TechCrunch employee and current contributor); Tencent, Great Oaks VC, Overbrook Entertainment (Will Smith), Damon Way (founder, DC Shoes), and a few other angel investors.

The company first announced its follow-up to Popset in May, and then entered into beta this June. At the time, co-founder Jan Senderek explained the team had realized that they were trying to solve the wrong problem with Popset – people weren’t lacking tools for group photo-sharing, but they did need a better way to organize and manage their photo libraries. Thus, Loom was born.

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YourMechanic (YC W12) launches pre-purchase car inspections everywhere in San Francisco

Before you buy a used vehicle, it’s always a good idea to take the car to a mechanic. Knowing what’s wrong with a car before you buy it could save you a lot of headaches down the line, and it could help you negotiate down the price of the vehicle. Disrupt Battlefield winnerYourMechanic now wants to make it easier for used car purchasers to get vehicles checked out, with the launch of Pre-Purchase Car Inspections.

For those who might have forgotten, YourMechanic runs a marketplace that connects car owners with on-demand mechanics who come to them. All mechanics are certified to check out and repair vehicles at the users home, meaning no more taking your car to the shop and waiting days for a fix to be made. YourMechanic also does all the work of figuring out which parts need to be ordered and installed. It’s like Uber, for car repair.

Since last year, the company has been growing steadily — about 25 percent per month — and attracting a number of return customers along the way. It’s also been expanding over time: YourMechanic started out just offering service in the San Jose area but has grown to service pretty much the entire San Francisco Bay Area.

Read more at TechCrunch

Listia (YC S09) raises $9M from General Catalyst for its used and free goods marketplace—mobile use up 2X in 3 months

Listia, the marketplace for used and free goods, has closed a $9 million Series A led by General Catalyst, with partner Neil Sequeira joining the startup’s board. As mobile growth takes off for the startup, the team will be using that financing to build out their iPhone and Android apps. It’s also looking to expand internationally, although that won’t happen until 2014 at the earliest.

The round brings the YC graduate to $11.17 million in funding, after it last raised a $1.75 venture round in 2011.

About one-third of buying and 20% of listing activity currently takes place on mobile, Listia co-founder and CEO Gee Chuang said. Although their iPhone app launched a solid two years ago with the Android version following in early 2012, mobile use is up 100% in the last three months.

“When we launched [the apps] they were these companion utilities,” Chuang said. “Our users, when they were away from the computer, used apps. In the last few months we’ve launched different updates to the apps to get them to be very standalone.”

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Flutter (YC W12) acquired by Google for its gesture recognition technology

Google’s Glass, Android and other products may soon be picking up more Kinect-style gesture features: the company has bought Flutter, a Y Combinator-backed startup that focuses on gesture recognition technology. Its first and only product — an app that provides gesture detection and recognition from standard webcam devices — will remain live and operational, the company says.

SimplyInsured (YC W13) raises $750K to simplify health insurance

The government may be shutdown as a result of the Affordable Care Act, but that isn’t stopping health-insurance exchanges from kicking into gear, or startups from capitalizing on them.

SimplyInsured has closed $750,000 to help small businesses navigate the changing landscape of costs, taxes, fines, and regulations surrounding health insurance.

“There are 400,000 health insurance brokers in the US who sell insurance the same way, via paper, phone, and fax,” said cofounder and CEO Vivek Shah to VentureBeat. “This is a trillion dollar industry that sells like it’s in the 1950’s. We can’t imagine a world where in 5 years, a small business will be purchasing insurance offline.”

Read the full article at VentureBeat

Agent (YC S11) launches helping Android phones anticipate user needs, makes your phone a lot smarter

It would be nice if our phones knew to read our text messages aloud when we’re busy driving, or to silence themselves when we’re sleeping, but all too often that kind of stuff doesn’t just work out of the box.

While apps like Google Now — apps that assist users proactively and are contextually aware — are one of the trendiest things in tech, they’re usually either only helpful in theory, or entirely too complicated.

Agent, a new app from Tagstand, aims to be a smart personal assistant that actually helps get things done without requiring tech know-how, extensive configuration, or the powers of imagination to dream up what your phone could automate for you.

Agent costs $1.99, and it’s only available for Android. Compared to alternatives like IFTTT for iOS and Tasker for Android, it is built to have more mainstream appeal.

“What we’re doing is quite complicated and requires a lot of calibration,” said Tagstand co-founder Kulveer Taggar. “But we want you to install it and then not have to think about it.”

Read the full article at AllThingsD

Scribd (YC S06) launches a Netflix-like subscription service for digital books

Scribd, long known for being a YouTube for online documents, is today launching a book-subscription service.

The key details: It costs $8.99 per month, includes unlimited online access and an offline library of 20 books at a time, the only major publisher participating is HarperCollins, and the available books from HarperCollins will be those that are at least a year old.

Will that description, at that price, appeal to avid readers? Perhaps. Scribd notes that work from authors including Paulo Coelho, Neil Gaiman, Marian Keys and Elmore Leonard will be included. (Writers will be paid based on how much their work gets read, just like a book sale.)

And, after all, Netflix’s successful subscription-video service doesn’t have all the new hits, either.

But perhaps if people like renting books that much, they can invest in a free local library card.

“We don’t have all of the books in the world, but we have enough that it’s a really interesting product for $8.99,” said Scribd CEO Trip Adler in an interview about the launch.

“By having a book-subscription service, we can create an interesting experience around book discovery,” Adler said. “There’s no obligation to finish, so this really changes book discovery — you can sample, browse and read in parallel.”

Read the full article at AllThingsD

DoorDash (YC S13) raises $2.4M to improve food delivery — growing over 20% weekly

DoorDash has raised a $2.4 million round led by Khosla Ventures’Keith Rabois and Charles River Ventures’ Saar Gur. SV Angel’sDavid Lee, YC partner Paul Buchheit, Benchmark co-founder Andy Rachleff, angel investor Russell Siegelman, and Pejman Nozad‘s new fund Pejman Mar Ventures were also in on the round. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The company, which was in Y Combinator’s summer 2013 batch, delivers food from 70 restaurants in Palo Alto and Mountain View to nearby towns for $6.

The DoorDash team tells me they will use the capital to grow the engineering and operations teams.

Read the full article on TechCrunch