$500k of Azure credit for YC startups

Over the last month, we’ve announced special deals to help YC biotech and hardware companies.

But we don’t want to leave YC software companies out. 

We are happy to announce the Microsoft will be giving $500,000 of free Azure hosting credit to YC startups in our Winter 2015 batch and future batches.  This is a big deal for many startups—it’s common for hosting to be the second largest expense after salaries.  Microsoft is also giving YC startups three years of Office 365, access to Microsoft developer staff, and one year of free CloudFlare enterprise services and DataStax software.

This brings the total value of special offers extended to each YC company to well over $1,000,000.  The relentless nagging from partners to grow faster we throw in for free.

Yhat (YC S15) Gives Data Science Teams A Head Start

"Yhat founders Greg Lamp and Austin Ogilvie were working with a team of data scientists at OnDeck, a successful small business loan startup, when they noticed a problem.

The data science team was coming up with cool ideas, but the engineers couldn’t implement these applications, as fast as they could produce them, simply because they lacked the tools to do it. That’s when they decided to create a tool that would give these teams a head start toward working more efficiently. That tool would become Yhat (pronounced Y-hat).

“We had a team of data scientists who produced new and creative ways of doing business and decision making, and engineering couldn’t keep up with the data science team. Austin and I were both working in the middle of this and watching all of this analytical work at OnDeck just sitting on shelves,” Lamp explained. They figured there had to be a better way to get value from the work the data scientists were producing."

YC Digest 1/30-2/5

Top Stories from the YC World - 1/30/15-2/05/15
YC for Hardware

From Venture Capital to Accelerators, the Different Ways to Fund Startups - Geoff Ralston on KQED Forum

The Hot Software Niche in Search of a New Name - Inc. talks to Ambition (YC W14)

Launches
YC W15: Smarking Drives Big Data to Parking Industry






Shoptiques, (YC W12) grabs a spot on Forbes' 2015 list of America's Most Promising Companies

Pebble (YC W11) has now sold over 1 million smartwatches

Fundraising
AnyPerk (YC W12), A Platform For Delivering Perks To Employees, Raises $8.5M In Series A Funding

Legal Tech Startup Casetext (YC S13) Raises $7 Million Series A Round Led By Union Square Ventures

Clothing Rental Startup Le Tote (YC S13) Lands $8.8M In Series A Funding

Cleanly (YC W15) Offers On-Demand Laundry Delivery In NY

"Laundry is truly one of the pain points of living in New York City. No one wants to spend their time at a laundromat, waste time dropping off dry cleaning, or lugging a bag full of clothes up to the fourth floor of a walk-up apartment.

But finding a laundromat nearby that offers fair pricing as well as pick-up/drop-off can be difficult. YC-backed Cleanly wants to change that.

Cleanly’s mobile app offers on-demand laundry pick-up in less than 30 minutes with a 24-hour turnaround."

Read the full story on TechCrunch

YC for Hardware

As YC has grown, we’ve funded more and more hardware companies.  Hardware companies have very different needs from pure software companies, and we’re delighted to announce a number of new resources for YC hardware companies. 

First, we’re excited to announce a partnership with Bolt, which we kicked off a couple of days ago.  Bolt’s partners and engineering staff will advise YC hardware companies on product development and manufacturing, and YC hardware startups will be able to work with Bolt’s staff at Autodesk’s Pier 9 Workshop facility with no cost to our companies as part of the partnership. Their facility is the best prototyping shop I’ve ever seen.  Also, Bolt's partners are some of the best hardware people I've ever met.

Second, we’re also happy to announce a number of new deals for our hardware startups--across-the-board discounts & expedited services, free consultations and prototyping, and volume pricing for YC startups.  These range from 3D printing and rapid injection molding, to PCB fab & assembly, metalworking, design expertise, RF and carrier testing, early access to dev kits, product photography & international scaling.

Some of our deal partners include Novatel, Proto Services, The Build Shop, Jatco, Studio Fathom, Fictiv, DIX Metals, The Collaborationist, and Tempo Automation, and YC startups CircuitHub, Octopart, Tilt and Upverter.  YC hardware startups Pebble, SoundFocus, MadeSolid, Cruise and Rigetti Computing have offered to help out with machine & equipment needs.  And we’ll be working on many more deals for YC hardware startups in the coming months; please get in touch with if you can help our startups make better hardware faster.

Third, we’re building a mini-electronics prototyping shop in Mountain View, to supplement the much larger Pier 9 lab on the Embarcadero.  This way, hardware startups can do some quick PCB rework as needed, or make a 3D print anytime during the week.

Our hope is that all of these together will make the YC experience much more valuable for hardware startups.

We’ll be posting some new hardware RFSs as well--we’re happy to see all sorts of hardware companies, but we especially like the ones that are fundamentally new ideas that Kickstarter might not support (and we don’t shy away from expensive hardware--we’ve funded companies building things like nuclear reactors and rockets, which will require hundreds of millions of dollars in funding to succeed).

Finally, I’d like to thank Luke Iseman and Jeff Chang, both YC alumni, for all the work they’ve done to make all this happen.  We’re lucky to have them in the alumni network.  As part of an effort to publish more advice for hardware startups, they’ll be putting up a “How to Start a Hardware Startup” blog post soon.

Techlist (YC W15) Is A Data Nerd’s Dream For Asia’s Tech And Startup Industry

Welcome to YC, Willis Wee and the Tech In Asia team: 

"Reliable startup data is tough to find and track in Asia — let alone in the U.S. or other parts of the world — and, with the region an increasingly important one, this is a problem that Techlist, a service from fellow blog Tech In Asia (hi guys), aims to solve. Today, Tech In Asia announced the service has pivoted to a new model and that it is part of the Y Combinator Winter 2015 program.

Entry to YC is a major endorsement for Techlist, which is the only participant from Southeast Asia in the latest batch at the highly respected U.S. accelerator.

Techlist is not a startup itself, instead the service is part of Tech In Asia, a media company with offices in Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia and Japan, and $2.89 million in funding from investors to date. Tech In Asia counts 75 employees across its three businesses: media — Tech In Asia, its Asia-focused tech and startup news site, and Games In Asia — its Startup Asia events program, and Techlist." 

Read the full story on TechCrunch

Meadow (YC W15) ‘Ubered’ Over A Doctor To Give Me A Medical Marijuana Evaluation

Meadow, the startup that delivers connects Bay Area patients to on-demand medical cannabis delivery, announced the launch of CannabisMD, an on-demand service for at-home medical cannabis evaluations with a licensed physician. TechCrunch's Kim-Mai Cutler tested the service and writes about it here

"At around 4:30 p.m. yesterday, I went to a website called CannabisMD on my phone, filled out my street address into a form and snapped a photo of my California state driver’s license. About 5 to 10 minutes later, I got a text saying that a doctor was on their way. I hopped on my bike and headed southwest on Market Street, San Francisco’s main thoroughfare, and found Dr. Daniel Price on my doorstep.

Normally, Price is an emergency room doctor at Alameda County’s biggest public hospital, Highland General. But he also has been doing patient evaluations for medical marijuana for the last several months. After suffering some chronic pain from a former life as a gymnast, he sought out training at Oakland’s cannabis-centric educational center, Oaksterdam University.

That’s how he got paired with David Hua, who founded a Y Combinator-backed Uber-for-medical-marijuana-delivery startup called Meadow. They’ve formed a new program called CannabisMD, that will deploy a doctor straight to your door for medical marijuana prescriptions. It’s branded and run separately from Meadow partially because you can’t recommend certain dispensaries over other under current law."

Read the full story on TechCrunch

GroupAhead (YC W15) Gives Member-Based Organizations Their Own Mobile App

"There are a number of ways member-based organizations can network online – Facebook, shared calendars, Meetup.com, etc. – but these groups today still struggle to keep members engaged and informed about upcoming events and other activities. A startup called GroupAhead is working to solve those challenges by introducing a platform that allows any organization to have their own dedicated mobile app for communicating with members.

The Y Combinator-backed company was founded in 2013 by ex-Googlers Brian Glick and Julian Frumar, who met while at working at YouTube. And Glick more recently was involved in launching the Google+ Communities platform, which gave him further insight into how groups communicate.

“We spent a lot of time looking at the space and thought there really aren’t good solutions for very close-knit, very personal, very intimate communities that get together in person,” explains Glick. “And we’re also living in a world now where smartphones and tablets are in everyone’s pocket or in everyone’s home, and they offer a way to connect in a tighter way than was possible before,” he adds."

eBrandValue (YC W15) wants to show social media’s impact on your sales — in real time

"Monitoring brand mentions and even sentiment on social media is all well and good, but what about seeing how social media translates into a brand’s financial value in real time?

That’s exactly what eBrandValue, a company in Y Combinator’s current batch, helps brands do, and today it’s announcing its launch.

Founded by Ayse and Tolga Akcura in 2012, eBrandValue is about telling brands how consumer sentiment in social media correlates to sales, in real time. It juxtaposes social media data about a client’s brand assets (product names, etc.) taken from data providers like Gnip and others, with financial and sales information they provide to eBrandValue. The result is a dashboard that shows metrics such as customer comments on social media, how each changes brand preference over time (or not), and how comments correlate to sales and financial value." 

Read the full story on VentureBeat

Smarking (YC W15) Drives Big Data To Parking Industry

"Y Combinator-backed Smarking found a technology gap in parking industry, and the three founders decided to fill it with a smart parking solution.

Designed for parking garages, the Smarking service, making use of big data, analytics and the cloud, to help parking managers maximize pricing and availability based on usage patterns and other factors that could affect demand like weather, flight schedules and special events.

Co-founder and CEO Wen Sang says the parking issue caught his attention for a number of reasons, mostly because nobody had thought to this point to apply modern data analytics to parking garages. This, in spite of the fact that they had been collecting data for years."