FlightCar (YC W13) on MSNBC: Three 18 year olds drop out to change an industry

Watch the full 5 minute interview and hear how 18-year-old founders Shri, Rujul and Kevin got started at SFO, launched a minimal viable product, got a cease and desist, and just kept going. 

"As it turns out, Flightcar is working." --MSNBC

It happens all time. Someone has a great idea, turns it into a company and then nobody’s interested. As a result, the founders of FlightCar wanted to minimize their risk. They had a unique idea to re-think the way the rental car industry works. Before spending too much time or money, they launched their business with the bare minimum to see how customers would react.

via openforum.com

Instacart (YC S12) is now not just easier, but cheaper than buying groceries from the store too

Instacart, a San Francisco-based grocery delivery service that’s taking orders and seemingly kicking butt, has already made ordering groceries online easier — now it’s making it cheaper, too.

As an addition to its multi-store selection of stuff, Instacart now offers consumer a variety of national-brand grocery items at prices much lower than what can be found in stores.

While Instacart founder Apoorva Mehta would not explain exactly where these groceries come from, he guaranteed they are cheaper. “You can just go on and compare the price yourself,” he said.

The service adds yet another value proposition to the company’s growing appeal.

Read the full article in San Francisco Business Times

Draft.io founder Nate Kontny (YC S11) on crashing and burning at demo day, and learning to build products people care about

On August 23rd, 2011, I was sitting on the concrete in the Y Combinator parking lot, trying to find some space to be alone and call my wife. It was Demo Day, and the crowd was full of elite and celebrity investors. We even had a private chat with Ashton Kutcher. But there I was, calling my wife to tell her how terrible this day had been. It was a startup's worst fear, realized: Nobody cared what we were working on.

Now, almost two years later, I'm building Draft, a new way to help people write better. It has things people need, like version control, professional editing, importing/exportingtranscription tools, and social analytics--and the response from users has been incredible. Here's what I learned in the intervening two years that led me to a project that people care about.

Read the full article in Fast Company

Heyzap (YC W09) mobile game ad platform growing explosively: Now running ads in over 800 games

Back in March, I wrote about how Heyzap was introducing advertising to its mobile gaming platform. Now co-founder Jude Gomila says the company has become a significant player in mobile advertising.

Specifically, Gomila sent along the chart showing the growth in publishers running Heyzap ads and the corresponding growth in ad impressions over the past six months. You can’t tell exactly where things stand now, because there’s no Y-axis to the chart. However, Gomila did note that Heyzap ads are now running in 800 games (it was 350 in March), and that number is also growing quickly. He also said that the publishers advertising with Heyzap include big names like Zynga and DeNA.

In the six months since the program launched, ad revenue has grown to the point that it already makes up the majority of its revenue. As a result, Heyzap is looking to expand its team beyond the current 25-person workforce.

Read the full article in Techcrunch

Airbnb (YC W09) introduces hyper-local Neighborhoods guide for Bangkok

Airbnb is furthering its presence in Asia after it introduced itsNeighborhoods feature to Bangkok, which becomes the first location in the region to fall under the company’s hyper-local spotlight.

The company launched Neighborhoods last November, and the feature is designed to allow travellers to get to know a city better, and more easily discover experiences and culture there. It — in theory — makes it easier for travellers to find the part of the city that appeals to them the most; because we’ve all had moments when we booked in to stay at the wrong part of town but didn’t realize until we got there.

Read the full article at TNW

Twitch will be integrated into Microsoft's new Xbox One

Today at its E3 press conference, Microsoft announced that it has integrated with live-streaming site Twitch to allow live streaming and viewing from its upcoming Xbox One game console. The integration will allow Xbox Gold Live customers to instantly broadcast their game streams to their own Twitch channels, as well as view the streams as others.

For Twitch, the partnership could massively increase the amount of content that will be available through its live-streaming platform. While it’s been working with a variety of game developers to make broadcasting from their games even easier, becoming a part of Xbox One will open that streaming capability to a number of new users.

Read the full article on Techcrunch

Drew Houston of Dropbox (YC S07) MIT Commencement address

Below is the prepared text of the Commencement address by Drew Houston '05, the CEO of Dropbox, for MIT's 147th Commencement held June 7, 2013.

Thank you Chairman Reed, and congratulations to all of you in the class of 2013.

I'm so happy to be back at MIT, and it's an honor to be here with you today. I still wear my Brass Rat, and turning this ring around on graduation day is still one of the proudest moments of my life.

There are a lot of reasons why this is a special day, but the reason I'm so excited for all of you is that today is the first day of your life where you no longer need to check boxes.

For your first couple decades, success in life has meant jumping through one hoop after another: get these test scores, get into this college. Take these classes, get this degree. Get into this prestigious institution so you can get into the next prestigious institution. All of that ends today.

The hard thing about planning your life is you have no idea where you're going, but you want to get there as soon as possible. Maybe you'll start a company, or cure cancer, or write the great American novel. Or who knows? Maybe things will go horribly wrong. I had no idea.

Being up here in robes and speaking to all of you today wasn't exactly part of my plan seven years ago. In fact, I've never really had a grand plan — and what I realize now is that it's probably impossible to have one after graduation, if ever.

I've thought a lot about what's different about the life you're beginning today. I've thought about what I would do if I had to start all over again. What got you here was basically being smart and working hard. But nobody tells you that after today, the recipe for success changes. So what I want to do is give you a little cheat sheet, the one I would have loved to have had on my graduation day.
Read the full commencement address at mit.edu

Josh Reeves of ZenPayroll's WSJ column: Don’t Raise Capital Until You Know How to Spend It

Money is the lifeblood of a startup. The product and team are the heart and soul, but without capital, a company can’t pay its employees, rent an office or pay its bills. At the same time, not all sources of capital are created equal and raising too much capital too soon, or working with the wrong investor, can have long-term negative ramifications for your company. This short-term vs. long-term trade-off is a big part of why fundraising is just a complex topic. The key to remember throughout the process is that fundraising isn’t a goal — it’s a means to an end. Building a business you’re proud of, which solves a problem you care about, with people that share your values, is the ideal.

Startups are high-risk ventures and time is always of the essence. Many companies confuse this urgency with a need to get as big as possible, as quickly as possible, but timing is critical. At an early stage, the most important goal isn’t simply growing — it’s learning why you’re growing. This begins with understanding your pain point, building your solution, learning from your customers, and ultimately reaching product-market fit.

If you raise too much money early on, it can ironically become more difficult to reach product-market fit because a team gets less agile the larger it grows. At a small size, you should raise enough capital to build a core team and then iterate relentlessly on building the product and talking to your customers. This is a core message Y Combinator emphasizes to all companies in its program.

Read the full article at the Wall Street Journal