Quartzy (YC S11) Scores $1.2M To Help Life Scientists Stay Organized

Keeping a constant supply of clean socks in the drawer can prove a challenge for most of us. Imagine the lengths scientists must go to keep the thousands of tools of their trade–especially chemicals–in stock at their labs.

Quartzy believes it can help. The company, which told VentureWire it closed a $1.2 million seed round led by the New York-based Life Sciences Angel Network in December, has developed a free web app to help life scientists manage their labs, inventories and orders.

ScreenLeap (YC W12) launches today: Because Screen-Sharing Doesn’t Need To Make You Crazy

ScreenLeap, a new startup out of the latest Y Combinator batch, wants to make this process a lot less painful, so that next time you’re confronted with an issue that could be better dealt with via screen-share, you actually take advantage of it. And to do that, they’re offering a product that’s about straightforward as it gets: click a link, and you’re looking at your friend’s screen.

Of course, ScreenLeap is far from the first company that’s looking to take on WebEx and the other well-established screen-sharing platforms — competitors include GoInstant, which debuted at TC Disrupt SF back in September, JoinMe, and even Google+, which offers screensharing as part of its Hangouts feature. So what sets ScreenLeap apart? Cofounder Tuyen Truong says that it’s the only service that uses JavaScript and HTML in its viewer, which means that just about any browser — including those on smartphones — can view a broadcast without having to install any additional software.

Glassmap (YC S11) launches a simpler Find My Friends that works great with Facebook

YC-backed Glassmap is a new mobile application publicly launching today that presents a viable challenge to realtime, location-sharing apps like Apple’s Find My Friends or Google Latitude. Where those two competitors focus on enabling social experiences on top of their own platforms or ecosystems, Glassmap is enabling a third alternative: realtime location tracking built on top of Facebook’s social graph. Yes, it’s like a “Find My Facebook Friends.”

However, this app isn’t using Facebook check-ins to track your friends – it’s actually tracking them in real time, by running the app passively in the background. And that’s where Glassmap’s killer feature comes in: the startup is using “relay” technology to minimize the typical battery drains associated with realtime location-sharing apps today.

Glassmap is available now for download on iOS and on Android

Start-up Q&A: How GoCardless (YC S11) are giving the credit card companies a run for their money

Getting paid can be a nightmare. Whether you’re collecting small sums from your Fantasy Football League or you’re a crafty sort selling mittens online, accepting payments is expensive and time-consuming. Only big companies like British Gas have the luxury of accepting Direct Debits and the alternatives all carry a punitive charge. Until now.

Tom Blomfield, Matt Robinson and Hiroki Takeuchi are three Oxford graduates who defied the odds to get into the Direct Debit niche, jumping regulatory hoops and smashing development challenges to launch a brand new kind of payments business. GoCardless lets any business or individual accept Direct Debits for a 1% transaction fee (to a maximum total – that’s right, maximum – of £2). It’s one of those businesses that are so simple you don’t know how it hasn’t been done before.

MT caught up with Robinson and Blomfield on the day of their public launch to find out how they did it.

Great Q&A about how GoCardless got started disrupting payments with Direct Debits.

Read the full article »

WePay (YC S09) grows revenue 10x in 2011

Online payments platform and PayPal competitor WePay is announcing its growth data for 2011, and revealing details on the startup’s product strategy for 2012. In case you aren’t familiar, WePay is a Y Combinator backed startup that launched in 2009 to take the hassle out of group paying. Unlike some of its competitors, the service was able to dead simple way to collect, manage and spend money for groups.

On WePay, you can create a unique, FDIC insured account for each group. While the account is still associated with your name, but you can keep each group account totally separate from your personal transactions. Group money can essentially be kept separate from any individual accounts you may have. You can also designate specific individuals to have control over accounts.

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The company grew nearly ten times in revenue in 2011, and doubled headcount with 20 new employees (the company plans to double employees again this year). WePay also grew revenue generated by its API by 15x in 2011. Partners like GoFundMe, which replaced PayPal with WePay as its primary payment platform, are helping fuel this growth, says the startup.

Crowdtilt (YC W12) Launches To Become The “Kickstarter For Any Group”

A new startup launching today called Crowdtilt is taking a page out of Kickstarter’s book, riffing on “crowdfunding,” but instead choosing to call itself “groupfunding” or a “Kickstarter for groups of friends.”

What does that mean? Well, we all love Kickstarter, but if you’re looking to pool money to throw your friend a birthday party, for example, that ain’t going to happen on Kickstarter. For a good reason, but that doesn’t mean the crowdfunding model can’t work. Thus, Crowdtilt has built a site that makes it simple for groups of friends to organize things to do together, with the specific focus on making it easy for the organizer to collect money from anyone.

How does that work? The site allows you to easily create a campaign, like “Help Hagan get to San Francisco” or “Phish Party Bus in DC,” while specifying how much money is needed for the campaign to actually happen — or in the startup’s lingo — “tilt.” You can then send this campaign out to your friends, who can authorize their credit cards for a certain amount with Crowdtilt.

Like groupbuying, friends’ credit cards won’t be charged until the campaign has tilted, or in other words, the specified amount has been reached. Not dissimilar from Kickstarter in this way, especially as projects have a certain amount of time before they become defunct.

Crowdtilt has turned out to be a huge help even among the YC class itself. The current batch has used crowdtilt successfully to even buy a communal pickup truck!