Senic (YC S13) wants to revolutionize measurement, starting with a smartphone-connected laser range finder

New hardware startup and Y Combinator Summer 2013 cohort member Senic is launching pre-orders for its first product today, a laser rangefinder like the ones sold in hardware stores around the world and used every day by contractors and DIY enthusiasts. The difference is that Senic’s device uses Bluetooth Low Energy to communicate with iOS and Android devices, recording measurements instantly and syncing them to the cloud.

The use of a cloud-based platform for collecting and storing measurement data, as well as Senic’s plans to expand their hardware catalog to include a number of different hardware devices, including micrometers, gauges, and other tools that builders and engineers use regularly in their work. Senic co-founder Toby Eichenwald explained that he got the idea working for his father’s company in Korea, and learned from its customers that the measurement industry was essentially “stuck in the 80s.”

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Preorder Senic's Laser Range Finder for $99 (delivery by November)

Streak (YC S11) launches native iOS app, brings Gmail directly into the Streak CRM mobile app

Streak has embedded Gmail into its new iOS app in a novel way to create a service that is turning the 600-million-user platform into a powerful CRM environment.

Gmail is a native app on iOS and has its own “sandbox,” the term to describe how apps are managed individually, essentially in secure, virtual containers. But Gmail does make calls to a server. And it’s in that data delivery that Streak does its magic. Streak fakes that it is Gmail. The Gmail server returns the same HTML, CSS and JavaScript that the regular Gmail app receives. However it is processed and modified so that it behaves and looks native. The app is also processed so the native parts of the app can communicate with it. It is also modified so Streak data, such as CRM information, can be added to the emails.

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SimpleLegal (YC S13) launches to reduce legal bills using the magic of machine learning, typically 5% to 20% off

Nathan Wenzel and Patrik Outericky had a successful services business called Edge Solutions that helped enterprises — especially insurance companies with large portfolios of cases — sort out their legal bills. Although the business wasn’t sexy, it was profitable. But Wenzel and Outericky decided to wind that company down and go into Y Combinator to turn that review process into a scalable product instead. They are now emerging from the accelerator with a new company,SimpleLegal.

SimpleLegal takes as much friction out of the bill review process as possible. All a customer has to do is ask their law firm to copy SimpleLegal on each invoice, and then the magic starts to happen. SimpleLegal’s system ingests the invoice and parses each line item into its database. Natural language processing systems figure out who billed what and for how long — and then that data is run through a machine learning system that flags outliers. One example: the system flagged a line item where a professional billed a half hour for mailing. That might not be too unusual but for the fact that the system knew the thing being mailed was a one-page form. That’s pretty smart.

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Glio (YC S13) launches as the Yelp of Brazil and Latin America

Even though Yelp is almost a decade old, the business model it pioneered with crowd-sourced local listings has yet to permeate the rest of the emerging world.

A Y Combinator-backed startup called Glio is betting that it has a chance to dominate Brazil’s fractured local listings market.

Co-founded by Roberto Riccio, a former professional poker player who entered college at 16, the site is just open to a few major cities in the country like Rio De Janeiro and Sao Paulo.

But eventually, the company plans to expand beyond into Brazil’s mid-size cities and then into other Latin American markets like Argentina and Chile.

Glio’s team got into Y Combinator on the third try, about two years after they originally launched the service. They now have about 10,000 reviews for restaurants and venues in Rio De Janeiro. They just launched a mobile app a few months ago.

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Weilos (YC S13) wants to pair you with an online weight loss coach who has shed pounds themselves

A new startup currently participating in the Summer 2013 cohort of Y Combinator called Weilos wants to make weight loss attempts more sticky and more accountable by pairing those with weight loss goals with coaches who have already achieved theirs for personalized, one-on-one training. It’s yet another example of the crowdsourced services economy at work, and one that also hits the current hot spot of health, diet and fitness.

Weilos is the product of a union between co-founders Ray Wu, an MD from Cornell, and Alex Perelman, a former Activition employee with an MBA and a degree in Computer Science from Berkeley. Both wanted to effect change in the world to address the growing concern of obesity in the U.S., in a way that would actually work; it’s an oft-repeated refrain, but the fact that obesity levels continue to rise proves that no one yet has come up with a good solution.

Where Wu and Perelman’s concept differs from most is that it recognizes 1) there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution to well-being and weight loss, and 2) the best way to promote continued use of a program is to build in some kind of direct personal interaction, and personal accountability, rather than just trust users to follow a program on their own.

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7 Cups Of Tea (YC S13) connects people in need of emotional support with trained listeners

It’s almost a cliche to complain about the alienating effects of technology, but the Internet is an amazing resource for combating isolation. Sites and online forums mean people who suffer from stigmatized conditions like depression can find support that was unavailable just a decade ago. Now Y Combinator startup 7 Cups of Tea wants to help connect people in need of emotional support with the site’s trained listeners.

Founded by clinical psychologist Glen Moriarty, 7 Cups of Tea positions itself as an alternative for people who need more immediate support than an online forum but don’t want to see a therapist (though if necessary, listeners will refer callers to mental health professionals). Users can start with text chats and then switch to voice calls when they feel more comfortable, as well as request specific listeners. 7 Cups Of Tea, which is named after a poem by Chinese poet Lu Tong and soft-launched at the end of July, currently has over 100 listeners and gets 1,000 call requests a week.

“The vast majority of people are not struggling with any really significant disorders. They are just going through a hard time. Maybe their kids are overwhelming them or their marriage is not working out right. They might have a lot of questions about things, like ‘is this normal?’ and feel like they can’t talk to anyone about it,” Moriarty says. “They just want to share it with someone.”

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Webflow (YC S13) lets you design responsive websites visually, and publish instantly when you're done

Webflow, a Y Combinator-backed startup offering creative professionals an easier, more visual way to design and host responsive websites, is launching out of its closed beta, with already some 10,000 users signed up. It’s an idea whose time has come, as more of the world now interacts with the web through a variety of devices and screen sizes, including desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones – the latter two of which can also be turned and viewed in either portrait or landscape modes.

To date, web designers often simply outsource the work of coding a responsive site after first using something like Photoshop or Illustrator to create the design itself, or they use frameworks like Twitter’s Bootstrap or Zurb’s Foundation for front-end development. But Webflow is different, in that it not only offers a visual editor which lets you drag-and-drop, customize responsive layouts, and define CSS styles for each device you want to support, but you can also publish your site immediately upon completion.

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Kivo (YC S13) uses git to make collaborating on documents easier, starting with PowerPoint

Most collaboration software these days seems to focus on real time, but Kivo, a new Y Combinator-backed startup out of the accelerator’s current class, is taking a different approach.

Co-founders Zefi Hennessy Holland (CEO) and Leo Anthias (CTO) argue that most people still work on a draft-based system and send their Office documents back and forth over email. Kivo lets its users sync changes in their documents. The idea is to expand this to a wide range of often-used formats, including all of the standard applications in the Microsoft Office suite. For now, however, it only works for PowerPoint 2007 and 2010 on Windows XP and up (support for the latest version of PowerPoint is coming soon).

In its current version, Kivo allows you to sync documents and track changes on a per-slide basis. The tool integrates itself with PowerPoint and it just takes a few clicks to sync a new version to Kivo’s servers or to restore an older version from Kivo’s repository. The basic idea here is to ensure that users never again have to share files with names likepresentation_v4_final_final.ppt.

On the backend, Kivo uses Git, the incredibly popular distributed version control system that was originally designed for source code management, to keep track of all of these changes. As Holland and Anthias told me, this allows users to keep their files wherever they want to and Kivo then hosts the Git repository on its own servers. This also has the advantage that after the initial sync, users only have to download whatever has changed in between sessions instead of the complete — and often very large — document.

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One Month Rails (YC S13) launches, teaching you how to build your startup while you learn to code

If you build it, they will come. But what if you don’t know how to build it?

That was the problem facing Mattan Griffel, founder of a new YC-backed startup called One Month Rails that is launching today.

“I didn’t study computer science or anything, but I had this great idea for a startup,” he said. “I just didn’t know how to build it. I spent the next few months looking for someone who could build it for me, and never quite found the right person.”

Eventually, says Griffel, he realized he had to build it himself if he wanted to get it done, and started scouring the web for resources to help him learn to code.

“I realized that when you don’t know anything about coding, you don’t know what language to learn or what you need to know,” said Griffel.

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FlightCar (YC W13) lets car owners in San Francisco ditch their idle cars and get paid up to $400/mo

Got a car you don’t ever really drive? Wanna not pay for parking or worry about shuffling it around on the street every couple of days? Have an interest in actually making some money from that car that you’re not actually using while it’s sitting around on the street?

Well, car rental startup FlightCar might be able to help you out with the launch of a new program in which it keeps users’ cars for a month at a time and rent them out to travelers. The program, called FlightCar Monthly, is designed to appeal to a group of users who own a car in or near the city of San Francisco and find it kind of a hassle and want to profit off of that asset.

It works like this: car owners submit their cars to be rented from the airport, and someone from FlightCar comes and picks the car up and keeps it in the startup’s secure parking lot near the airport. Travelers are then able to rent that car during the month that FlightCar has it.

Depending on what type of automobile you have and how new it is, FlightCar is offering between $150 and $400 in guaranteed payments to rent the car out for the month. That is a slight deviation from the startup’s usual peer-to-peer plan, where travelers drop their cars off when flying out of town for blocks of time, and get free parking and a small bit of money if the car is rented out while they’re gone.

But let’s say the owner wants to get away for a weekend? What happens then? Well, car owners can use their car for free for up to four days per month, if it’s available during that time. If not, the company will offer users a car in the same class for use.

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