Ark (YC W12) launches people search done right

Google and Facebook can’t help you find which of your friends are single, or live in New York and like Radiohead, but Ark can. Today Y Combinator-backed Ark.com sails into private beta in hopes of becoming the best place on the web to do people searches. With a variety of layer-able filters, Ark lets you search through public profiles and the private data of your friends across Facebook, Google, LinkedIn and other networks. It’s also got filter sets for easily discovering old classmates and new business contacts.

Read the full story on Techcrunch

Pair (YC W12) is a Path for you and your most significant other

Let’s say you’re in a serious relationship, but you work all the time and you’re long-distance. How do you stay close to the other person? I’ve personally had this situtation for the last year and a half. My girlfriend and I use Skype, email, our phones, Facebook, and everything else we can to stay connected. We’ve even been using Instagram as a two-person social network to share photos about what we’re up to each day.

But now there’s an app to solve this exact problem. It’s called Pair, and it’s packed with the features you see in private social networks like Path, but designed for two people.

via techcrunch.com

Streak.com (YC S11) Takes On Salesforce With A Simple CRM For Gmail

Life is painful for those of us who try to manage our daily workload in Gmail. The stars, the labels and filters, Google’s inaccurate “Priority Inbox” ranking system, the extensions… well, they all sort of help out. But my inbox is still a mess and yours probably is, too. Until someone comes up with a vastly superior communication protocol (one of those frighteningly ambitious problems), a new startup called Streak is trying to create order from the inside.

Part of last year’s summer Y Combinator class, the company is bringing customer relationship management (CRM) functionality directly into Gmail. Right now, most people who are trying to track customers are using separate systems (Gmail plus Salesforce, for example). The process of forwarding emails into these systems or replying out of them via email requires extra work on the part of the user.

Streak is a much faster way to keep track of customers right there in your gmail. No more copy-paste.

With EveryArt (YC W12), You Don’t Have To Be Afraid Of Commissioning Art

If you want to bring some art into your life, but you’re intimidated by the art world, a Y Combinator-backed startup called EveryArt wants to help.

The site is a marketplace where people can commission artists to create pieces, and it’s opening to the public today. On EveryArt, you can browse samples of the artists’ work, and if you find someone you like, you can send them a request. It can be very specific, with lots of details about what you’re looking for, or more general: “Hey, I liked this piece, can you do something similar for me?”

Artist listings include an expected price range, and they set the price based on the commission. Founder Justin Cannon says the average so far has been about $1,000 for “a sizable piece.” Once the work has been commissioned, EveryArt collects the money, and when the work is finished, the payment is delivered to the artist.

Shoptiques (YC W12) raises from Andreesen, Greylock, Benchmark, SV Angel for local women's fashion

As an avid shopper, I tend to buy clothes, jewelry, and accessories from both big-name stores as well as smaller boutiques. But as a whole, some of my most coveted items in my closet are from local boutiques who carry designers and fashions that you would never be able to find at stores like Bloomingdale’s. But while I can peruse the boutiques of Chicago, I can’t access the smaller boutiques in New York, LA, San Francisco and other cities without visiting those areas. Until now. Enter Y Combinator startup Shoptiques, which aggregates inventory from local fashion boutiques and puts it online. The company is launching today, and announcing an undisclosed amount of funding from Andreessen Horowitz, Greylock Partners, Benchmark Capital, SV Angel, Y Combinator and other angels.

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As Vidisheva explains, many of these local boutiques don’t have an online presence and find the whole process challenging. Shoptiques takes the hassle out of creating an independent store online, setting up inventory and payments infrastructure and also helps market these stores as well. It’s similar to what Etsy has done for artisans and craftspeople.

Leena Rao via techcrunch.com

 

FutureAdvisor (YC S10) raises from Sequoia, Keith Rabois and Jeremy Stoppelman

Y Combinator startup FutureAdvisor has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Sequoia Capital and angel investors Keith Rabois and Jeremy Stoppelman.

FutureAdvisor, which debuted in 2010, is an online financial advisor designed to help people get the most out of their investment portfolios. FutureAdvisor’s web app provides people with personalized financial advice by recommending ways to reduce fees, maximize on tax efficiency and select the right investments.

via techcrunch.com and betakit.com

FutureAdvisor is a simple web app pretty much anyone can use to make smarter investments. If you've got a 401k, it'll give you personalized results in 2 minutes

42Floors (YC W12) launches the best and easiest way to find commercial real estate

42Floors is launching today to help business owners find commercial real estate online. The YCombinator startup, founded in November 2011 by former Flightcaster founder Jason Freedman, connects businesses seeking space with photos, data and other listing info on available spots. Currently active in San Francisco, the company plans to expand across the U.S. later this year. Freedman said he’s providing to business owners what tools like Zillow have provided to residential real estate searchers for years. “Commercial real estate has always trailed residential real estate in technology by at least five years,” Freedman said in an interview.

SendHub (YC W12) is taking off: 4X usage since launch

Enter SendHub, a startup in this year’s Y Combinator class, that has already started to get some serious traction by focusing on professionals. The company offers a clean interface for creating and organizing groups of people, and communicating back and forth with them over their desired format.

The result is that it has been growing fast. When Sarah Perez covered SendHub in February, the company was sending 30,000 messages a month. Now, it’s sending around that amount per week. Check out the graph below. The numbers are still small, but they’re in the right direction. YC partner Paul Graham says that its growth looks like AirBnB’s in the early days.

500Friends (YC W10) Raises $4.5M Series A For Its Social Loyalty Platform

500Friends, the social loyalty solution for e-commerce retailers, is announcing it has completed a $4.5 million Series A round led by Crosslink Capital, with participation from Intel Capital as well as company CEO (and angel investor) Justin Yoshimura.

Founded in 2010, and launched in summer 2011, YC-backed 500Friends’ LoyaltyPlus service allows merchants to reward their loyal customers who are tweeting about their purchases, posting to Facebook, referring friends, writing reviews, signing up for rewards programs, and more, all through a white label offering that can be integrated onto the retailer’s own site, on either web or mobile.

New: Apply to Y Combinator without an Idea

Y Combinator is trying an experiment this funding cycle. We're going to have a separate application track for groups that don't have an idea yet.

So if the only thing holding you back from starting a startup is not having an idea for one, now nothing is holding you back. If you apply for this batch and you seem like you'd make good founders, we'll accept you with no idea and then help you come up with one. (We'll consider single founders too, but we prefer groups.)

Learn how to apply to YC without an idea here