Kuhcoon (YC W15) Promises To Automate Facebook Ad Campaigns For Small Businesses

"A lot of ad tech companies like to talk about automation, but Andrew Torba, co-founder and CEO of Kuhcoon, seems particularly enthusiastic: “Our grand plan is to automate all of paid media spending on the Internet.”

The startup isn’t quite there yet, but it says it’s already working with more than 6,000 advertisers in 90+ countries. (Those advertisers include a number of startups at Y Combinator, where Kuhcoon is part of the winter class.) It’s currently limited to Facebook advertising, but Torba said Kuhcoon’s Google Adwords launch is imminent, and there are plans for Twitter and Pinterest as well.

Torba and his co-founder/CTO Charles Szymanski acknowledged that there are other Facebook ad automation products out there. However, Szymanski suggested that the ones that offer “full automation,” like Nanigans and Kenshoo, are focused on huge advertisers. When it comes to small and medium businesses (Torba said Kuhcoon serves advertisers who spend between $20,000 and $1 million a month, with a focus on those who spend less than $100,000), the available tools are more manual." 

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Transitmix (YC W15) Cuts The Paper Out Of Bus Route Planning

'YC-backed Transitmix, which is in the middle of the three-month accelerator program, is building a business out of helping city planners make smarter choices when configuring bus routes. The fix? An online mapping tool to speed up the process of devising and comparing bus routes.

It’s a simple sounding problem with some complex implications — given the various socio-economic factors in play. So anything that makes it easier for route planners to weigh and weight different considerations — such as the cost of operation; how many people a bus route might serve; and how many jobs are in the commuter vicinity — has axiomatic utility.

Frankly it’s hard to believe that something like this doesn’t exist already. But, says Transitmix co-founder Sam Hashemi, the tool’s ‘competition’ is mostly paper-based maps and spreadsheets “containing hundreds of tabs”, coupled with manual cross-referencing of Google Earth. In short: a legacy process nightmare desperately in need of data-rich digital optimization."

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Level Frames (YC W15) Launches Because All Art Deserves Its Frame

Welcome to YC, Level Frames!

"Wall art is relatively easy to acquire. You buy posters at concerts, prints from random stores, or even buy the street art that is sold on the curb. Most times, the art itself is pretty cheap and you end up with stacks of rolling tubes piled in a corner. Why? Because finding a nice frame for your art is a total pain.

Local frame shops can be overwhelming, and even then the prices are exorbitant. Plus, you never know what it will actually look like. But YC-backed Level Frames is launching to solve that mess through tech.

Level is an online platform that allows anyone to find the right frame, at the right size, and even get an idea of how the art will look in different frames. Level then handles packaging and shipping and can, in some circumstances, get your frame to you within two business days."

Seed (YC W15) Wants To Reinvent Business Banking

"Seed thinks that business banking is opaque, expensive, and behind the times. The company, which is part of the Winter 2015 Y Combinator class, wants to shake up banking, bring it into the API era, and rip out unnecessary fees to make it, according to its CEO Brian Merritt, as “easy as possible to start and manage a business.”

Merritt and his co-founder Ryan Hildebrand are both former Simple denizens, a consumer-facing banking tech firm that sold in 2014 for more than $100 million.

The company has operated in stealth for some time, but is walking out of the shadows today to launch a banking API that will allow its early beta customers — its service is currently only available in the United States — to integrate Seed’s financial services into their own set of apps and tools."

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CloudMedx (YC W15) Helps Doctors Spot Patients Who Will Need Expensive Treatment

"Despite incentives provided by the Affordable Care Act and the prevalence of the cloud in most of our lives, the software used by the health care industry continues to lag behind what you find in the consumer space or most big enterprises.

When was the last time you went to a doctor? To check, you’d probably check one of your calendar apps for an appointment. How were you doing — was it a regular scheduled trip, or an impromptu visit because of a persistent cold? Do you remember how the doctor or nurse practitioner treated your issues?

The fact that those questions aren’t easy to answer for most people is an opportunity for startups like Y Combinator-backed CloudMedx, who’s building a suite of physician- and patient-facing apps that together lead to better, cheaper outcomes."

Managing Your Restaurant Deliveries With Trackin (YC W15) Is Like Playing SimCity

"Meet Trackin, a complete software solution for restaurant managers to control your fleet of delivery persons in real time and easily accept online orders. Trackin provides a dashboard for your restaurants, a mobile app for your drivers and an online order widget for your customers. Thanks to this startup attending Y Combinator’s current batch, you will know when your driver is back and when to start cooking.

“With Trackin, you can track your drivers like in Uber’s app, and your clients can do the same as well,” founder and CEO Bruno Didier told me in a phone interview. “We can tell you what are your best delivery zones, and we’re a white label service.”

The dashboard centralizes all your orders, including on third-party websites. People can order on your website using Trackin’s online order widget, GrubHubEat24 and other online ordering platforms, and every order will end up in Trackin. And of course, if someone calls you, you can manually add an order to your dashboard." 


Direct Match (YC W15) Aims To Make Bond Trading As Easy As Stock Trading

"Jim Greco sat in front of his computer at Jeffries Investment Bank headquarters in New York and thought about the futility of his bond trading job. He was about to pull up a file on his PC and then make a physical phone call to another institution to place an order for a bond transaction. Something needed to be done.

Unlike the stock market, the bond market doesn’t have a centralized system where traders can plainly see the fees involved in the trade. This means traders have to ask each bank, one by one, either by phone or electronically, what they are willing to sell a Treasury bond for.

It seems pretty archaic, but it’s the way the bond market operates for the most part right now.

This gave Greco an idea that might seem rather simple: put the bond market online. Greco and his co-founder Galen Simmons created the Y Combinator-backed Direct Match, an online bond trading platform that centralizes that information so it can be as easy to trade bonds as it is to trade stocks."

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YC Digest 2/6-2/12

Top Stories from the YC World - 2/6/15-2/12/15
Applications for YC's Summer 2015 batch are now open! 

$500k of Azure credit for YC startups

YC Open-Source Sales Agreement

"Guys, Let's Grow The Hell Out Of This Company": How Y Combinator Startups Go Big by Fast Company

Congrats to Stripe, E La Carte and Anyperk for being named to Fast Company's "50 Most Innovative Companies" list

Instacart named one of the "10 Most Innovative Companies in Retail" by Fast Company

Launches
YC W15: Yhat Gives Data Science Teams A Head Start




Essays + Advice

Advice for Early Stage Hardware Startups by Luke Iseman and Jeff Chang

FarmLogs by Sam Altman

SigOpt (YC W15) Helps Customers Optimize Everything From Online Ads To Shaving Cream

SigOpt, a startup incubated by Y Combinator, has a big vision — co-founder and CEO Scott Clark told me that he aims to “optimize anything that has tunable parameters.”

Some of that might sound familiar, especially since there’s a well-known tech company with “optimize” in its name, but Clark said that SigOpt goes beyond A/B testing. Put (relatively) simply, it doesn’t just let you test different variations, but instead examines the data and recommends “what experiments to run next,” so you can continuously make something better.

To use one of Clark’s examples, if you work for a company that wants to test different versions of an ad, you might normally set up tests for each version, then choose the most effective variant at the end of the test. With SigOpt, you can provide the creative assets and guidelines, then SigOpt creates the different versions, tests them, creates new versions based on those tests, and so on, to automatically maximize revenue or clicks.

Even more intriguingly, SigOpt helps you optimize physical experiments. For example, Clark said one of his initial customers is using SigOpt to test different chemical combinations in creating shaving creams.

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