Matterport (YC W12) featured in Xconomy: Makes highly accurate 3D scans of rooms push-button simple

When Tel Aviv, Israel-based PrimeSense came out with its first depth-sensitive, near-infrared camera-on-a-chip in 2010, nobody could have predicted how many uses hardware makers would dream up for the technology within a few short years.

The first and most famous was Microsoft’s Kinect sensor, which lets gamers move their bodies to interact with video games. But now PrimeSense chips are also starting to turn up in robots, PC peripherals, and interactive displays.

And here are two more applications that might surprise you: vacation rental marketing and interior design.

Those are two of the use cases being targeted by Matterport, a Mountain View, CA-based startup that uses PrimeSense chips in a new 3D camera being prepped for release this summer. Place the motorized, tripod-mounted Matterport camera in the center of a room and it spins in place, capturing depth and image data that can be uploaded to Matterport’s cloud servers and assembled into a high-resolution 3D model of the space.

Viewers can then move through the model as if it were a scene in a video game. In fact, the viewing software runs on the same Unity engine used to power hundreds of popular video games.

Read the full article at xconomy

Pebble (YC W11) raises $15M from Charles River Ventures for the future of smart watches, has shipped 70K devices

Rumor has it that everyone from Apple to Microsoft is working on smartwatches to compete with the handful that are already arriving on the market.

But before those started making waves, there was the Pebble, a Kickstarter project begun last April in order to build a durable sports watch that could also receive text messages and calls and play music. Before anyone had seen a finished product, it dazzled tens of thousands of people online, who then contributed $10 million to see the device manufactured.

And on Thursday, Pebble announced it had raised $15 million from Charles River Ventures to propel the company out of its idea phase and into full-on start-up mode.

Eric Migicovsky, the Canadian engineer who started the Pebble project, said that it had already shipped 70,000 watches to its Kickstarter backers; it owes them another 15,000, which it is rushing out. 

Read the full article at NYTimes

Coinbase (YC S12) launches subscriptions and recurring payments using Bitcoin

Recurring payments are necessary for a ton of services - anything where you periodically receive a bill.

Some examples include:

  • Publication subscriptions
  • Collecting rent
  • Maid services
  • Ride sharing
  • Gym memberships
  • Recurring donations
  • And many more

Outside of a customer/merchant context, we also added the ability to:

  • Buy and sell bitcoin at regular intervals - great if you’d like to scale in to owning Bitcoin gradually
  • Send or request bitcoin from other people
  • This is helpful if you’d like to pay rent, bills, friends, etc on a regular basis, or regulating invoice clients.

Recurring payments can be set up per day, week, month, year, etc.

Airware (YC W13) raises $10.7M from Andreessen Horowitz and Google Ventures for commercial drone autopilots

The drones are coming. But rather than hovering over our homes in some big-brother scenario, they’ll be checking farmers’ crops, inspecting power lines, fighting forest fires and delivering medicines and vaccines in rural Africa.

Those are just some of the customers and markets in which Newport Beach, California-based startup Airware plays with its commercial drone software and hardware. On Tuesday, Airware announced almost $11 million in funding from Andreessen Horowitz and Google Ventures.

Airware isn’t going after the hobbyist market—those RC helicopters, planes and quadcopters that can be bought for as little as $100. Airware is all about commercial aircraft—all manner of fixed-wings and choppers that range from a few thousand to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on what they do, says Airware CEO Jonathan Downey. Think somewhere between military-grade and consumer: “It’s definitely a nascent market, but there is a huge unmet need,” says Downey, a commercial-rated pilot himself.

Read the full article at Wired with more coverage at Techcrunch, AllThingsD, Wall Street Journal, and Forbes

Cloudant (YC S08) raises $12M for highly scalable database-as-a-service

Hot database-as-a-service startup Cloudant has raised $12 million in its second round of funding, the company announced today.

Boston-based Cloudant was initially founded in Cambridge, Mas. in 2008 by three MIT physicists. The team struggled to move around multi-petabyte data sets and analyze those data sets wherever they went. So they ended up creating what would become Cloudant.

Cloudant offers a highly scalable database-as-a-service that makes it possible to store, access, and analyze your operational data in the cloud. In the layers of the cloud, Cloudant becomes a “data layer” that can be run on top of most infrastructure-as-a-service providers, including Amazon Web Services, Rackspace, SoftLayer, Microsoft Azure, and Joyent.

Cloudant CEO Derek Schoettle told VentureBeat that this “agnostic” approach to infrastructure deployment separates it from its biggest competitor — Amazon database services. “We believe in not having vendor lock in,” Schoettle said.

Cloudant has attracted some big-name customers with its approach, including Samsung, Microsoft, Adobe, Nokia, Salesforce, Expedia, Zynga, and Flurry.

The new funding was led by Devonshire Investors, Rackspace Hosting, and Toba Capital, with participation by current investors Avalon Ventures, In-Q-Tel, and Samsung Venture Investment Corporation. Including the new round, Cloudant has raised $16 million to date.

Read the full article at VentureBeat

YC alums named in Fast Company Most Creative 2013: Apoorva Mehta, Katelyn Gleason, Mahbod Moghadam

Apoorva Mehta is the CEO of Instacart, a nearly year-old grocery delivery service that has already raised $2.3 million. For just $4 plus tip--roughly the price of a cup of Blue Bottle's finest drip--Instacart customers can order food online from a handful of grocery stores, including Trader Joe's and Whole Foods, and send a "personal shopper" (that is to say, a delivery guy) to bring it to their door in three hours or less. Urban food-delivery startups are nothing new--Webvan and managed to burn half a billion dotcom dollars between them before going bust in 2001--but Mehta's company takes advantage of two peculiar things about cities in 2013: the ubiquity of smartphones and persistently high underemployment. Instacart's personal shoppers are independent contractors paid on commission. The average wage is between $12 and $15 an hour. The contractors use their own mobile devices and vehicles.

Read more about Apoorva at Fast Company

Before doctors do anything, they have to check a patient’s insurance coverage. These checks cost millions and use “armies of people making phone calls,” says Katelyn Gleason, whose solution is the startup Eligible. It offers one-stop online insurance verification for doctors.

Read more about Katelyn at Fast Company

Mahbod Moghadam started Rap Genius (1) in 2009 as a way to solve a dispute with his friend and cofounder, Tom Lehman, over a lyric on rapper Cam’ron’s album Purple Haze. (2) Then Moghadam had a vision: “I kid you not, Jesus came down and told me that Rap Genius is going to be the biggest website in the world,” he says. 

Read more about Mahbod at Fast Company

Box acquires Crocodoc (YC W10)

Cloud storage company Box has acquired HTML5 document embedding service and Y Combinator alum Crocodoc, both companies announced in a press briefing today. Financial terms of the deal, which was a cash and stock transaction, were not disclosed; however, Box CEO and co-founder Aaron Levie said that it was a successful exit for investors. Crocodoc has raised a little over $1 million in funding from Y Combinator, SV Angel, Paul Buchheit, Joshua Schachter, Dave McClure, Steve Chen and XG Ventures.

Read the full article on Techcrunch

Coinbase (YC S12) raises $5M from Union Square Ventures, largest financing round yet for a Bitcoin startup

Eleven-month-old startup Coinbase announced Tuesday the largest funding round to date for a Bitcoin startup, a $5 million investment led by Union Square Ventures.

In an exclusive interview with The Wall Street Journal, Coinbase’s founders Fred Ehrsam and Brian Armstrong said the Series A deal–which followed a seed round in September 2012 of $600,000–will help the San Francisco company cover operating costs and hire engineers, designers and business-support staff.

“We need 10 people yesterday,” said Ehrsam, a 24-year-old former Goldman Sachs trader. Armstrong, 30, was previously a software engineer at peer-to-peer housing startup Airbnb.

Read the full article at the Wall Street Journal