Dropbox (YC S07) in Wired: "It's going to work this way in the future. Why not us?" —Drew Houston

“Tom Cruise in Minority Report is not carrying around a thumb drive or logging into Gmail to pick up his attachment,” Houston says. The time is near, he believes, when the “pervasive data layer” becomes an expected part of the fabric of everyday life. It’s just a question of which company builds the best loom for weaving that virtual tapestry. “It’s going to work this way in the future. Why not us?”

Read the full article in Wired

Pebble (YC W11) ships over 275K units, tops 1M watch apps downloaded

Smartwatch startup Pebble revealed today for the first time that it has received 190,000 pre-orders for its wearable computing accessory through its own web store following the tremendously successful Kickstarter campaign it ran last year. That means it amassed around 275,000 pre-orders total for the smartwatch, which is impressive early traction for a device that didn’t have a proven market in place to sell into.

Pebble co-founder Eric Migicovsky told me the company wanted to reveal the total order volume now as a follow-up to its Best Buy availability announcement, in order to provide some context around the challenges the startup has faced in terms of shipping product to backers. Response at Best buy has also been very good, Migicovsky says, though the team isn’t yet ready to talk about specific numbers. The Pebble is sold out at many of Best Buy’s retail locations already.

Read the full article on Techcrunch

Coinbase (YC S12) announces instant bitcoin purchases

Big news on the Coinbase blog — instant bitcoin purchases:

You know what’s really satisfying?  Being able to buy Bitcoin without a lot of hassle.  That’s what Coinbase has always let you do.

But you know what’s really awesome?  Being able to buy Bitcoin instantly, on-demand, any time you want, without having to wait for your slow, ancient-technology bank to approve a transfer first.

Well, today at Coinbase, we are enabling this feature for fully verified users.  Fully verified users can now buy up to 50 bitcoin instantly.

Mixpanel (YC S09) announces Data Driven Conference 2013, July 31 — Max Levchin and Aaron Levie speaking

Just collecting data won't make your company successful. You need to put your data to work.

DDC 2013 is the first event to bring together some of the smartest data-driven people in technology for an afternoon of unscripted conversations on how the data driven approach is impacting all aspects of business from product development and design to marketing and customer communications.

Listen to insightful discussions with a select group of executives to learn how to put data to work to make your product and business better.

Learn more and register at mixpanel

Comprehend (YC W11) raises $8.4M Series A from Sequoia to help bring drugs and medical devices to market faster

Sequoia Capital has led a Series A investment of $8.4 million in Comprehend Systems Inc., VentureWire has learned. The company’s software as a service helps the makers of drugs and medical devices tie together disparate software, systems and data that they use to advance through clinical trials.

Ultimately, Comprehend Systems wants to decrease the costs associated with clinical trials and increase the speed with which companies can bring tested, life-saving drugs and medical devices to people who need them, said Chief Executive Rick Morrison, the company’s founder.

Comprehend Systems, which has 11 employees, graduated from the Y Combinator accelerator in Winter 2011 and raised a $1.2 million seed investment, as VentureWire previously reported.

Joining Sequoia in the Series A round were angel investors including Aaron Levie, the founder of Box Inc.; the Life Sciences Angel Network in New York; and several other angel investors with experience in enterprise technology or life sciences.

According to Mr. Morrison, users of Comprehend Systems’ software-as-a-service include executives at medical device companies and drug makers, such as chief information officers and directors of data management or clinical operations, who need to understand the status of multiple clinical trials at once; managers responsible for making a specific trial run smoothly; and field workers in labs or clinics, who may work directly with patients.

Read the full article at the Wall Street Journal

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