Hipmunk (YC S10) takes aim at Kayak: Searches, bookings and revenue doubling every year

Hipmunk co-founder and CEO Adam Goldstein, 25, believes his flight and hotel metasearch company can one day be larger than Kayak, and with $20.2 million in funding and revenue that has trickled in from the moment Hipmunk debuted, he thinks he has the time to prove it.

“We think we can be bigger,” Goldstein says, referring to Kayak. “We think we can do it.”

With Priceline closing today on its $1.8 billion acquisition of Kayak, you can picture the Kayakers reading Goldstein’s boast, and breaking out in giggles as they pour their champagne (or whatever the favorite libation is over there).


As a private company, founded in 2010, Hipmunk doesn’t break out a lot of numbers, although Goldstein says the overall business, including searches, bookings and revenue, has been “more than doubling every year since we started.”

Instacart (YC S12) launches in Oakland and Berkeley

Today the popular on-demand grocery delivery service Instacart announced that it is bringing its service to two new cities: Oakland and Berkely. The two cities join its other active locations, all of which fall inside of the Bay Area.

Instacart appears to be succeeding where other firms have failed; it appears to have made grocery delivery economically viable. The service earns its keep by charging a fee for delivery – it costs more to get your goods sooner, and you tip delivery people on top of that – and by charging small markup on items sold.

Soylent taking pre-orders on Crowdhoster now: What if you never had to worry about food again?

What if you never had to worry about food again?

For many people, on many occasions, food is a hassle, especially when trying to eat well. Suppose we had a default meal that was the nutritional equivalent of water: cheap, healthy, convenient and ubiquitous. Soylent is perfectly balanced and optimized for your body and lifestyle, meaning it automatically puts you at an optimal weight, makes you feel full, and improves your focus and cognition.

Crowdfunding site powered by Crowdtilt's Crowdhoster

Soylent, now available for pre-order

Airbrite (YC S12) launches Celery, an online store builder that lets sellers easily accept pre-orders

Airbrite, a Y Combinator-backed e-commerce startup, is debuting its first product today called Celery (its name a play on the world “sell”). Celery is designed to be a “pre-commerce” store builder – or, in other words, it allows anyone to start selling ahead of having a product to ship. That means sellers can start taking credit cards now, then charge when their product is ready to launch. And in case you couldn’t figure it out by that description, Airbrite is hoping the product will be a hit with those raising funds using crowdfunding.

In fact, says Airbrite co-founder Chris Tsai, the company has already seen some traction with crowdfunders during its private beta, which rolled out to hundreds of users this March. But, he clarifies, Celery isn’t just designed for those merchants – it’s for anyone in any business who needs to enable pre-commerce on any platform.

Read the full article on Techcrunch

Crowdhoster by Crowdtilt (YC W12) launches custom reward levels, themes, and multiple campaigns

YC company Crowdtilt recently announced its $12M Series A with Sean Parker and Andreessen Horowitz and is on a roll with their latest updates to their open source self-hosted crowdsourcing platform, Crowdhoster.

Their latest updates include:

  • Multiple reward levels that are customizable
  • Custom themes and custom HTML/CSS
  • Multiple campaigns per site

You can request a Crowdhoster invite here

Read the full article on Crowdtilt's Blog

BeatDeck (YC W13) launches analytics platform to show musicians who their fans are

Does my music do better on Facebook or Twitter? Where should my next tour be? Is my new song too repetitive? Musicians can get free answers to these questions and more from BeatDeck, a Y Combinator analytics company launching today. BeatDeck plans to license this data to labels and music stores to help them sign and recommend tomorrow’s superstars. Yep, BeatDeck is an enterprise music startup.

Everyone (who isn’t a cold-hearted robot) loves music. That’s led lots of entrepreneurs to start companies aiming to help listeners discover new artists and songs. But the fact is that selling music is a tough business. Selling what music to listen on someone else’s service is even tougher. BeatDeck is different. It does nothing for the listener. Zero consumer products. Instead, it focuses solely on the music industry — the artists, the labels signing them, and the stores selling them.

Read the full article on Techcrunch

FlightCar (YC W13) launches in Boston, bringing free airport parking and low cost rental cars to Logan Airport

Tired of paying to park at the airport? If you don’t mind letting a stranger drive your car while you’re gone, you could make money instead — and even get a free car wash.

That’s the idea behind FlightCar, a new car-sharing business set to start operating at Logan International Airport at the end of the month. The San Francisco-based company, started by three teenagers earlier this year, plans to rent departing airline passengers’ cars out of an East Boston parking lot. If someone rents a car, the owner gets a cut of the earnings ­— $10 per day for newer cars — as well as a free car wash and ride to the airport in a Lincoln Town Car.

If no one rents the car, well, the parking is still free.

Welcome Kevin, Michael, Steve, Dalton, and Andrew

YC has a bunch of announcements about people coming and going so I thought I'd do them all at once.

Wufoo (YC W06) cofounder Kevin Hale is joining us as a partner.  He was the force behind Wufoo's much-admired design, and speaks widely about UX.  Between Kevin and Garry Tan, we'll now have two partners who are designers, which partly reflects the increasing importance of design in startups, but frankly mostly reflects the fact that they're really good.

We also have five new part-time partners: Michael Seibel, Steve Huffman, Dalton Caldwell, and Andrew Mason.  As the name suggests, part-time partners advise startups like regular partners, but part-time.  Michael was cofounder of Socialcam (YC W12) and now works at Autodesk, which acquired it last year.  Steve is cofounder of Hipmunk (YC S10) and before that was cofounder of Reddit (YC S05). Dalton is cofounder of App.net and before that was cofounder of Imeem.  Andrew was cofounder of Groupon and till recently its CEO.   We've known all these guys for years and we can already tell it will be great to work with them.

Finally, Harj Taggar, who was the first partner we hired after the original four, is leaving to start a new startup (in the long term) and travel the world (in the short).  We're all sad he's leaving and tried to talk him out of it, but only half-heartedly, because we can't blame him for wanting to start a new company.  He has agreed to remain a part-time partner though, so he'll still be around.

For anyone keeping track, YC now has 10 partners (Trevor Blackwell, Paul Buchheit, Paul Graham, Kevin Hale, Carolynn Levy, Jessica Livingston, Robert Morris, Kirsty Nathoo, Geoff Ralston, and Garry Tan) and 8 part-time partners (Sam Altman, Dalton Caldwell, Steve Huffman, Justin Kan, Andew Mason, Michael Seibel, Emmett Shear, and Harj Taggar).

— Paul Graham

HireArt (YC W12) in the Harvard Business Review on hiring: To Attract New Grads, Hire Like a Startup

...Despite lacking resources, brand name, and job security of larger firms, start-ups are incredibly alluring — in fact, they get away with paying average salaries that are often 30 percent below market.

How do start-ups accomplish this? We've noticed two main trends. First, start-ups have mastered the art of marketing themselves effectively toward millennials (many are run by them). Job descriptions and career pages at start-ups tend to emphasize meaning and impact. For example, a recent job ad by the dating start-up Grouper (which you can see online here) promises that work there will let you make a "dent in the universe." The implication is twofold: that the world will benefit from your work, and that there's personal glory in it for you.

At Amicus, a different start-up that uses technology to help non-profits raise money more effectively, the first thing candidates see when they reach the careers page is that a cow will be donated in their name if they're selected for the job. This appeals to recent graduates' sense of humor and humanitarianism.

Read the full article at Harvard Business Review, written by the founders of HireArt