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

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

Tomer London of ZenPayroll (YC W12) selected for Inc 30 Under 30: Bringing Enlightenment to Payroll

Author Ray Bradbury once said that life should be touched, not strangled. That philosophy easily applies to ZenPayroll. 

The San Francisco-based start-up provides payroll processing software-as-a-service for small business owners, but its goal is to make a complex and time-consuming chore that most entrepreneurs dread, downright pleasant and serene, says ZenPayroll co-founder and chief product officer Tomer London. London and his two co-founders offer the service at a fraction of the price much larger competitors charge.
"We wanted to understand the emotional connection small businesses have to payroll, which is often viewed as just painful and frustrating," London says.

Kamcord (YC S12) now lets mobile game players add their own vocal tracks, has recorded over 500M videos since launch

It’s been just under a year since Y Combinator-backed Kamcord officially launched, and the young team has spent its time raising funding and quietly fleshing out its SDK for iOS games.

The team had seen its in-game screen recording tech implemented in over 100 games, and gamers have recorded 500 million videos since those very early days, but now the team has been working on a pair of new features they hope will get even more mobile gamers sharing videos of their exploits. Starting today, Kamcord has provided tools to let players trim down their videos on the fly and add their own vocal tracks into the mix.

Read the full article on Techcrunch

EasyPost (YC S13) is a Stripe for Shipping, raises $850K and is doubling transactions every month

With more commerce moving online every day, the shipping industry is in need of innovation. And one of the bigger pain points developers face when trying to integrate postage and shipping into their applications involves the antiquated technology major carriers like FedEx, UPS and USPS provide – complex SOAP or XML APIs that most developers would say are a nightmare to work with. San Francisco-based EasyPost is trying to solve that problem by offering a simpler, RESTful JSON API instead. Today, the company is announcing $850,000 in seed funding to help with those efforts.

Investors in the new round, which just now closed, include Y Combinator, SV Angel, Start Fund, CrunchFund*, Mesa+, Andreas Resch, Kevin Barenblat, Lars Kamp, Ullas Naik, Shawn Bercuson, and Rahul Vohra. (* Disclosure: CrunchFund founder Michael Arrington also founded TechCrunch.)

EasyPost co-founder Jarrett Streebin says he came up with the idea for the service based on his own experiences with having to integrate shipping into some of the websites he had worked on in the past. These were generally just weekend projects he played with on the side while analyzing venture deals for a private investment fund at his day job.

Read the full article on Techcrunch

Need shipping for your e-commerce site? Use the EasyPost API

AnyPerk (YC W12) featured in PandoDaily: "Might be the best Japanese import since Ichiro"

Silicon Valley is accustomed to seeing its tech ideas being adopted in other countries and localized for their particular markets, but it doesn’t often happen the other way around. Taro Fukuyama, however, is bucking the trend with a startup called AnyPerk, an employee rewards platform that already has 2,500 customers after just 18 months in business.

Read the full article at PandoDaily