Verbling (YC S11) brings immersive language learning into your living room with Courses

When trying to master a new language, practice speaking and listening to it is essential. You don’t become fluent by conjugating verbs in a workbook or listening to recordings, but many of us don’t have the capability to spend months abroad honing conversation skills.

Y Combinator-backed Verbling is a platform that connects people online to practice speaking foreign languages together. Today, the startup introduced Verbling Courses, a new product that seeks to make students proficient as quickly as possible.

Read the full article at Venturebeat

ZenPayroll (YC W12) and Xero form cloud-based accounting partnership to rival the likes of ADP and QuickBooks

ZenPayroll, a cloud-based payroll management service, announced on Thursday that it has partnered with Xero, a small business accounting software, to take on the industry’s market leaders and give businesses an alternative when it comes to managing their finances.

With this new relationship, small businesses can now choose between traditional industry powerhouses ADP and Intuit/QuickBooks for their accounting needs, or this cloud-based accounting paradigm that ZenPayroll and Xero hope to offer them.

Read the full article on TNW

Heap (YC W13) launches a modern take on analytics: Track everything, and write no code to do it

In a startup’s never-ending battle for new users, data is king. When the decision to put that shiny signup button down here vs. up there can mean the difference between 40 percent of new visitors signing up instead of 20 percent, good data analysis can be what puts food on the table.

YC-backed analytics service Heap wants to make analytics better. They want to help you to code less, but grow more.

With many analytics tools (whether its something built in-house, or something like Google Analytics’ event tracker), the decision to track a new metric can take days to implement. First, you’ve gotta decide what you want to track. Then you write and test the code — or, in the case of a bigger company, you wait for one of the engineers to write and test the code (a task that’s probably somewhere around 200 items deep on their to-do list.)

Then you wait. Since you weren’t capturing that specific data before, it’ll be a few days before enough data trickles in to be meaningful.

Heap, meanwhile, captures everything from the day you install it onward. If a user clicks on an image, it’ll log it. If they’re pressing keys on the keyboard because your UI incorrectly implies that’s what they should do, it’ll log it. Every click, every page view, every form submission — if it’s something their lil’ blurp of JavaScript can capture, they log it.

Read the full article at Techcrunch

Try Heap Analytics and stop having to write tracking codes for everything

InterviewStreet (YC S11) in Forbes Magazine: The Prince of Programming Contests helps top coders worldwide get the best jobs

In Silicon Valley Talent War, Zombie Math Rules, appearing in the May 6, 2013 issue of Forbes: 

Within Silicon Valley the prince of programming contests is Vivek Ravisankar, a 26-year-old Indian immigrant who cofounded InterviewStreet, which earned interviews for some 5,000 engineers worldwide last year and placed about 500 in jobs. Ravisankar started the company in 2009, soon after quitting a safe corporate job in India helping with its Kindle blogs. In 2011 Ravisankar won a spot in the Y Combinator school for startups (birthplace of Dropbox and Airbnb) . He eventually moved from Chennai to a cousin’s sofa in Sunnyvale, Calif. and set out to build a coding-challenge business.

Powerful people took a liking to this energetic striver. Vinod Khosla, the billionaire venture capitalist and cofounder of Sun Microsystems, provided Ravisankar with $3 million. InterviewStreet collects money in several ways from companies looking to hire. Some pay a $3,000 to $5,000 monthly subscription fee for access to InterviewStreet’s coder database; others buy talent a la carte, paying InterviewStreet $10,000 per hire, a bargain compared to conventional recruiters’ fees of $30,000 or more. Companies can also sponsor their own contests, known as Code?Sprints, which bring marketing cachet as well as new hires.

InterviewStreet has expanded to 17 people, 6 of whom work in a bare-bones office in Mountain View, Calif., with the rest in Bangalore, led by cofounder Hari Karunanidhi, Ravisankar’s college buddy. Competitive coders are their tribe. As a boy Ravisankar won candies and other treats from his parents by posing logic problems that his father couldn’t solve. Even today he and cofounder Karunanidhi set aside a few hours on Sundays for one-on-one coding competitions. “I’m the better programmer,” Karunanidhi says. “It’s only because I don’t have enough time to stay sharp,” Ravisankar replies.

InterviewStreet was the ticket out of Siberia for Yakunin, the programmer from Ekaterinburg. He wowed the hiring engineers at Quora, a knowledge-sharing website in Mountain View, Calif., by being the only person out of more than 700 respondents to win a perfect score on a CodeSprint challenge it sponsored. Often the best coders aren’t eager to apply for a job. They just want to prove their mettle against all comers. Mindful of this dynamic, InterviewStreet moved the bulk of its contests to a website called HackerRank, where most entrants log in with pseudonymous user names. Job hunters authorize the site to reveal their real names to potential employers.

CrowdMed (YC W13) raises $1.1M, launches crowdsourced medical diagnosis

Y Combinator-backed startup CrowdMed hopes to use the wisdom of the crowds to speed up and lower the cost of diagnosing rare medical conditions. By crowdsourcing medical data and applying some patented predictive technology, the company believes it can help users identify illnesses that had otherwise baffled medical professionals.

CrowdMed is designed to help users who have been unable to get help within the current health system. Because doctors can’t always track the thousands of rare diseases that are out there, patients may find themselves going to dozens of physicians and specialists and still not know what is wrong with them. Rather than continue to spend thousands or tens of thousands of dollars on tests and hospital visits, CrowdMed provides an alternative path to uncovering rare illnesses.

Read the full article on Techcrunch

Solve or submit a case for diagnosis at Crowdmed

OKCupid partners with Coinbase (YC S12) to become the latest Web service to support Bitcoin

The world and his brother — well…the media, at least — has gone Bitcoin crazy in recent times, and the latest company to cash in on that attentionride that wave is dating site OKCupid, which is now accepting payments in the digital currency.

The newest addition to the growing list of companies to support Bitcoin — which includes RedditMegaWordPress.comExpensifyNamecheapthe Internet Archive, and countless others – the dating site has partnered with Y-Combinator-backed Coinbase, a platform for buying and selling the digital currency, to expand its payment options.

Read the full article on TheNextWeb

Buy, store, and accept Bitcoin using Coinbase

FlightCar (YC W13) raises $5.5M from General Catalyst, Softbank, Brian Chesky, Ryan Seacrest, to bring P2P Airport Car Rental everywhere

Seeking to disrupt the $10 billion airport car rental businessFlightCar, a sort of Airbnb for airport rentals, allows travelers leaving town to make their cars available for those who are visiting. The startup, which launched its service at San Francisco International Airport just a few months ago, is hoping to open for business in a number of other markets over the course of the rest of the year. To do that, it has raised a $5.5 million Series A round, with a number of high-profile investors, including General Catalyst, Softbank Capital, Airbnb founder and CEO Brian Chesky, as well as Ryan Seacrest’s Seacrest Global Group.

Other investors in the round include Hipmunk founder Alexis Ohanian, Posterous founder Garry Tan, Auctomatic founder Harj Taggar, Justin.TV founder Emmett Shear, former Expedia CEO Erik Blachford, First Round Capital, and Andreessen Horowitz. The new funding comes on top of $590,000 in seed funding from Y Combinator and SV Angel that it had received prior to its initial launch.

FlightCar’s service works like this: Travelers drop their vehicles off at one of the FlightCar lots at an airport where they are available. Incoming visitors can then rent these vehicles at lower rates than they would find at airport rental chains. If a car is rented, the vehicle’s owner is compensated with gas cards equal to up to $10 for each day a car is rented. If not, the vehicle’s owner gets free parking, which by itself could save them up to $18 a day in long-term parking.

Read the full article on Techcrunch

Try Flightcar at SFO (rent or park), with many more locations coming

SendHub (YC W12) launches the best phone service for businesses on iOS and Android, supports call, text, call transfer, and group messages

SendHub, the Y Combinator-backed call and messaging solution targeting business users and other organizations, is today extending its platform to include support for Android. The company had previously rolled out support for iPhone almost a year ago, promising that an Android option was on the roadmap.

Like the iOS version, the new app also includes support for calling and texting over Wi-Fi, 3G, 4G or cellular voice networks, support for group messages, the ability to add auto-responders and contacts, and more. In addition, it includes support for call transfers – a feature which is currently in the Apple App Store review process, expected to launch in a week or so.

The call transfer feature, like many the company has added in recent months, is designed with the needs of businesses in mind.

SendHub, for those unfamiliar, is something like a more feature-rich alternative to something like Google Voice. While previously targeting both individuals and businesses, it went after the business market more directly with the launch of its SendHub Manger at the beginning of the year. From an online platform, organizations using Manager can access a dashboard where they can create, move, or delete lines for their staff, as well as backup and export the company’s text-based communications.

Read the full article on Techcrunch

Try Sendhub for your business phone system

ReelSurfer (YC S12) gets a makeover, adds NY Times and ESPN

Y Combinator grad ReelSurfer is an instant video editor, born out of its founders frustration of trying to find clips, quotes and scenes from their favorite movies on YouTube and other video sites. The process is probably familiar to you: Search for clip, don’t find it; if you do find it, it’s part of a larger clip, so you have to download, convert and clip the video yourself.

So, ReelSurfer developed the tools to let you clip any video from any website and share it with your “homies” and “homedawgs” over the Facebooks, Twitters and more. Or at least that’s the eventual goal. In truth, ReelSurfer’s design has been less-than-perfect and it hasn’t really allowed you to clip any video. Yes, YouTube has a lot of videos. Like a lot. But that’s not the only media player out there.

Today, ReelSurfer has officially unveiled a redesigned interface, which looks a whole helluva lot better and makes it easier to navigate and makes its URL search box even more prominent — as it should be.

Read the full article on Techcrunch

Kippt (YC S12), an Evernote for the Web, launches new API and App Gallery

Kippt, which lets you collect and share content from across the web, is looking to attract developers with a brand-new API and gallery of apps.

The two-person startup has relied on outside developers to have a mobile presence on iOS, Android and Windows Phone. Kippt just relocated back to San Francisco from Helsinki, almost a year after graduating from YCombinator’s summer batch.

“An API is not only good for us, but it’s good for our users,” said Karri Saarinen, who co-founded Kippt and leads design. “There are some companies that fear this kind of openness will somehow harm the company, but we feel it brings value.”

He pointed to more than a dozen third-party apps that bring Kippt to the iPhone, or turn it into an elegant mobile reading list. Popular reading app Pocket added support for Kippt recently too. Saarinen said that some developers have already organized hack days around the API.

Read the full article on Techcrunch