iCracked (YC W12) in Mashable: "You learn more in the first 6 weeks of starting than all 4 years of college."

Name: iCracked

One-Liner Pitch: A network of iTechs in every city provides customers with device repair, buyback, insurance or redistribution.

Why It's Taking-Off: The startup makes it cheaper and more convenient to repair broken screens on iPhones, iPads and iPods — and soon, Android devices, too.

AJ Forsythe, 25, and Anthony Martin, 26, first met during their freshman year at California Polytechnic State University. AJ admired Anthony’s entrepreneurial spirit; he had started a peer-to-peer textbook rental company in Santa Barbara. Forsythe's sights were set beyond the classroom, too. He harvested grapes with his brother at a local winery and ran a beekeeping business, in addition to juggling his psychology and biology classes.

But he saw potential elsewhere: fixing iPhone screens. During his junior year, with the help of some friends in electrical engineering, Forsythe discovered how to repair a cracked screen on his phone without taking it to the Apple store. So one day, particularly despondent after a job fair, he set up shop in the school library, creating flyers for his new business idea on Microsoft Paint and hanging them in every classroom on campus. That led to bringing Martin — along with a few others — on board. Their mission: to reach every college campus in the United States.

“You learn more in the first six weeks of starting company than in all four years of college,” Forsythe said to Mashable in an interview. “There is so much you can learn from starting something new.”

Read the full article in Mashable

Instacart (YC S12) raises $8.5M from Sequoia Capital to scale its instant grocery delivery service to 10 cities nationwide

Unlike most people, Sequoia Capital partner Michael Moritz hasn’t forgotten the dot-com-era online grocery-delivery company Webvan. While EToys, another Sequoia investment, was also a flameout, Webvan was the bigger disaster, operating for less than two years and churning through $375 million from its initial public offering before it went out of business in 2001. So Sequoia’s July 10 announcement that it’s investing $8 million in a San Francisco-based online grocery upstart, Instacart, raised some dormant traumas. “We had still been receiving outpatient therapy for our Webvan fiasco,” says Moritz, who’s joining the year-old company’s board. Still, with Instacart, he says, “There is little danger of a relapse.”

Read the full article in Businessweek

Apptimize (YC S13) launches, bringing reliable A/B testing to native iOS and Android apps

As we shift more of our computing to mobile devices and applications, there’s also a need for a new crop of tools that help developers better build, design and test their creations, which are also specifically tailored to mobile. Newly launched, Y Combinator-backed startup Apptimize is one such service, offering a mobile A/B testing suite for both iOS and Android.


Often, says Hua, companies in need of an A/B testing product simply use something that’s been built in-house, but those services aren’t usually very good.

With Apptimize, developers can instead place a small code snippet into their app then use the programmatic interface to make variations to the experiments they want to run, including which users will receive them and when. For example, developers may want to see if they increase conversions by offering a tutorial or making other changes to the first-run experience. They may want to adjust the pricing of in-app purchases or optimize the checkout funnel in some way, and much more.

Read the full article on Techcrunch

SpoonRocket (YC S13) launches in Berkeley, bringing $6 gourmet meals delivered to your curbside in less than 10 min

Y Combinator-backed SpoonRocket was built to fundamentally change the way we think about food. More than just another food-delivery service, the company seeks to provide ultra-cheap gourmet meals that can be delivered within minutes of ordering them. By doing so, it’s providing an alternative to fast food and even cooking at home.

Today that vision is being realized in the East Bay, where SpoonRocket has been making deliveries from Berkeley to Emeryville. The startup has two food options available each day — one for vegetarians and one for meat eaters — but both of which cost just $6 each.

At that price point, it’s almost more affordable to order a meal from SpoonRocket than it is to cook on one’s own, and it’s certainly more affordable than ordering out from most other restaurants. It even beats the price of fast food restaurants — and they don’t deliver.

Read the full article on Techcrunch

Standard Treasury (YC S13) aims to make software that eats commercial banking

Kim-Mai Cutler at Techcrunch writes

Standard Treasury, a YC-backed company, is hoping to make it easier for businesses to deal with their banks through standard APIs that ease transfers and other transactions.

The company says that integrating banking services for small businesses and startups is overly complicated. They can end up sending large files over FTP with specs that take up hundreds of pages.

Co-founder Daniel Kimerling had this experience when he was building up his last company, Giftly, which let people send gifts on the web and mobile devices to each other without affecting the point-of-sale systems at local merchants. They had to build up their own infrastructure to interface with the banking system to manage peer-to-peer payments.

“The existing model for bank-enterprise relationships hasn’t changed since the 1970s,” Kimerling said. “Banking is really painful. We have customers that ask — why can’t banking be like Stripe or Braintree?”

Read the full article

Pebble (YC W11) is coming to a Best Buy store shelf near you, starting July 7

Pebble is selling its smartwatch via Best buy stores soon, with the device going on sale at the major U.S.-based electronics retailer on July 7 for $149.95. The e-ink display for the Pebble and Bluetooth connection it sports allow it to communicate information including caller display and notification alerts from a connected iPhone or Android device.

Read the full article at Techcrunch

Pixate (YC S12) raises $3.8M Series A from Accel to bring dynamic UIs with the power of CSS to iOS, Android and Mac

Pixate has closed a $3.8 million Series A round from venture capital firm Accel Partners. The Palo Alto-based plans to expand its engineering and support teams in order to build Android and Mac versions of its platform, which allows developers to style apps using CSS. It will also increase the quality of its support and improve developer resources and release the full version of Pixate Engine for free.

In addition, Pixate announced the launch of Pixate Labs, which is where it will publish beta versions of Pixate, as well as prototypes and experiments of other technologies and projects.

Quartzy (YC S11) raises $4M Series A round led by Khosla Ventures, making labs way easier to manage

In the WSJ today:

Quartzy Inc., the maker of free-to-use laboratory management software for scientists, raised $4 million in a Series A round led by Khosla Ventures, the company told VentureWire. The process of managing very expensive equipment and active chemicals in labs used to be a messy one, with scientists emailing lab managers and maintaining electronic spreadsheets to track thousands of items at a time. Quartzy puts all the information into a private and secure cloud-based platform.

Time Magazine names Kicksend (YC S11) one of the Top 50 Best Android Apps of 2013

Jared Newman at Time writes:

Kicksend is a quick way to send large batches of photos privately, without dealing with e-mail or cloud storage services. Just pick the photos you want to send and enter an e-mail address, and the recipient gets access to a web page where they can view and download the photos at their leisure. And in case you’re sending to someone who hasn’t fully embraced the digital age, Kicksend lets you buy prints, which can be mailed or picked up at a local CVS, Walgreens or Target.

Link: Kicksend (Free)

Double Robotics (YC S12) has started shipping iPad-equipped telepresence robots

The Y Combinator-backed startup officially launched in mid 2012 with a Segway-like telepresence robot that balances on two large wheels, uses any iPad as its screen and eyes, and rests on a smart kickstand when not in use. And, of course, lets you virtually visit locations, participate in remote meetings, and show your smiling face to distant colleagues.

“We’ve begun shipping production units,” cofounder David Cann told me via email today. “In fact, we’ve already shipped the first 100. We’ll ship another 1,000 units by September.”

That’s good news, Double Robotics said, not just for themselves, but also for hardware startups in general. There was a significant amount of skepticism that a $20,000-$40,000 Y Combinator-style investment would get the hardware company up and running, but Double Robotics was able to generate enough interest — and $1.2 million in presales — to pull off what would have been seen as impossible just a few short years ago.

“Now that Pebble, FORM 1, Oculus Rift, and Double have all begun shipping, I think it’s clear that hardware startups are legit and here to stay,” Cann says.

There’s one more bit of good news for anyone who wants a telepresence robot.

Read the full article at VentureBeat