Joe Ariel of Goldbely (YC W13) interviewed in Forbes — democratizing the food industry

Joe Ariel is a New York City transplant who opened up shop in San Francisco with his startup Goldbely. The idea is simple: a food delivery service.

That's not new, of course. But the company distinguishes itself by finding locally sourced gourmet foods from around the country and delivering them to a person's doorstep. And not just so-called gourmet food, either: Think cannolis from Carlo's Bake Shop -- of "Cake Boss" fame -- in New Jersey, sourdough bread from Boudin in the Bay Area, Blue Bell ice cream from Texas, or a pastrami and corned beef sandwich from Katz's Delicatessen in New York City.

Ariel, 37, wants to help local purveyors gain a national audience. He calls it "democratizing the food industry." And lest you think he is just one more in a long line of trendy food entrepreneurs, Ariel insists that he dislikes the pretension of the word "foodie" (preferring to call himself a "food explorer") and simply wants to share the best that America has to offer.

Ariel is a serial entrepreneur -- he was once the CEO of Delivery.com and Eats.com -- and holds a bachelor's degree in economics from Vanderbilt University. He spoke with us.

Read all 10 questions at Forbes

Grouper (YC W12) launches its social club in the UK — now available in London

From Tab.co.uk

Feeling spontaneous? Pick two of your mates and get on Grouper, a new “social club” that matches you and two of your wingmen or wingwomen with another trio of the opposite sex for a night out on the town.

After launching in New York in the summer of 2011 and expanding into 25 cities across the U.S., Grouper is now in the UK, gaining fans and swift momentum across the different neighbourhoods of London. To date, we have proudly hosted tens of thousands of nights out and hangovers worldwide.

Matterport (YC W12) in the San Jose Mercury News: A New 3D Modeling System

Matterport in the San Jose Mercury News:

The next time you move, you may be able to give friends and family members a virtual tour of your new house, thanks to new technology from a Silicon Valley startup.

Mountain View-based Matterport on Thursday is set to begin offering for sale a camera and a service that can create 3-D models of interior spaces or outdoor scenes.

At $4,500, the camera is not priced for consumers. But Matterport hopes it will appeal to professional photographers, real estate companies and other businesses that could use it on websites targeted at consumers. In the near future, when smartphones have 3-D cameras built into them, consumers might be able to upload their pictures to Matterport's service directly.

"It will be like taking a movie," said Bill Brown, Matterport's CEO. "You can capture a place and explore it later."

Sendhub (YC W12) launches iOS 7 app, with improved call notifications and Groups

From the SendHub blog

Today we’re excited to announce the newly re-designed SendHub app for iOS 7.  It’s available for iPhone and iPod Touch, it’s free, and you can download it here.  At SendHub, we strive to make business communications fast and simple. Our latest iOS 7 update brings simplifications to our user interface, making it even easier to communicate with your customers and coworkers.

What’s New

    • A fresh, brand new iOS 7 style design
    • Easier to use, more accessible Groups
    • Improved call notifications, so you never miss an important call
    • A unified Contacts list which lists your Favorites at the top
    • Improvements in speed and reliability

We’re excited to share the new app update with our thousands of customers who have come to trust SendHub for their telephony. We hope you enjoy the new iOS 7 app!

Cloudant (YC S08) acquired by IBM to bolster their cloud computing offerings vs Amazon

Klint Finley at Wired writes:

In yet another sign that IBM is serious about competing with Amazon and Google in the world of cloud computing, Big Blue has acquired Cloudant, a company offering an online database service meant for storing massive amounts of information.

Over the last 15 years, as their web empires grew, Amazon and Google designed brand new database systems capable of spreading information across thousands of computer servers, and these systems have completely changed the way other businesses store, retrieve, and analyze data. The two net giants now offer these systems to the rest of the world through various cloud services, and after publishing papers describing the way their systems operate, they’ve fueled the rise of many similar tools, known collectively as “NoSQL” databases.

Cloudant’s service was built using one of these NoSQL databases, a tool called CouchDB. The service is designed for businesses that run mobile apps and other software that, behind the scenes, involves storing and processing massive amounts of data. The company’s technology operates much like Amazon’s DynamoDB and SimpleDB services, and it provides IBM with another means of directly competing with Amazon.

Sign up for early access to Buttercoin (YC S12) — a new, easy and trustworthy USD-Bitcoin exchange

A new start-up based in Palo Alto, California is hoping to make a splash in bitcoin trading. They’re Buttercoin, and this venture capitalist-backed service has just launched early access to their platform.

The soft launch of Buttercoin comes just hours following Mt. Gox’s filing for bankruptcy protection, signaling that better things are on the horizon for traders.

Read more at newsbtc

Sign up for early access — Buttercoin 

Meta SpaceGlasses (YC S13) covered in Sydney Morning Herald, releases new prototype video of hand tracking

An Australian and Israeli who met in a university maths class in Sydney are taking on Google with augmented reality glasses they say is the computer of the future.

Google computer engineers on salaries of $US250,000 ($279,673) think the project is so exciting that they've left the tech giant to work at the start-up for less pay, lured by stock options that could net them a windfall if the company is acquired or lists publicly. Former NASA and Microsoft employees have also joined the project.

...

Looking like a cross between ski goggles and Ray-Bans, Meta SpaceGlasses allow wearers to see and interact with virtual objects in 3D space with their hands. Wearers can see the non-existent objects thanks to tiny projectors in the glasses, while sensors detect hands and allow interaction.

"The easiest way to think of it is if you've seen the movie Iron Man," says Sand. "He walks around the room and there are holograms and he can pick them up and grab them and manipulate them. That's what we're building. And it's all in a pair of glasses."

Read more in the Sydney Morning Herald

Summon (YC W12) is the first transportation app fully licensed as a TNC in California

From the Summon / InstantCab blog:

Today, Summon has become the first Transportation Network Company (TNC) to receive apermit from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) allowing it to operate in California.

On-demand transportation apps form a new, exciting, and growing industry. California was the first state in the nation to pave the way for legalization of these types of apps, and Summon was the first company to meet each of California’s requirements and obtain an operating permit. Last September, the CPUC issued a decision requiring TNCs to obtain insurance to protect riders and members of the public in the event of an incident, conduct stringent background checks on drivers, have driver vehicles inspected, and complete several other safety-related steps to operate in California. 

Sonalight (YC W12) team relaunches as a new mobile analytics service Amplitude

Amplitude, a Y Combinator-backed mobile analytics service aiming to take on the likes of Flurry and Mixpanel by offering advanced features at more competitive prices, is officially making its public debut today ahead of YC’s Demo Day. And the company has actually gone through this process before, as it turns out – it’s the same team from the text-by-voice Android app Sonalight, which was in the YC Winter 2012 cohort.

Explains Amplitude co-founder Spenser Skates, Sonalight did “decently” well, reaching hundreds of thousands of downloads, and some number of paying customers, but it never really became a mainstream success. However, the team, as a part of the process of building their own mobile app, had also spent a lot of time creating their own tools for analytics in order to examine their data in custom ways.

Other developers in Y Combinator were soon asking for that same product, after getting a look. So the team pivoted from Sonalight, and built what’s now called Amplitude.

Read on TechCrunch

Crowdtilt (YC W12) launches open source customizable crowdfunding platform, now CrowdtiltOpen

Fresh off its $23 million in Series B funding from Andreessen Horowitz and others, crowdfunding platform Crowdtilt is opening up its open source, white-label platform CrowdtiltOpen to all interested business users as of today. This product, previously called Crowdhoster, has been rebranded and relaunched with several more features designed for those who want to better customize and self-host their own fundraising campaigns.

The company initially launched Crowdhoster, which is built using the Crowdtilt API, into private beta last August. To date, it has seen hundreds of projects on its platform, some of the more notable being that of YC-backed nutritional substitute startup, Soylent, which raised over $2.1 million; a software company GNS3 which raised $300,000+; and a health crowdfunding campaign called the Immunity Project, which raised over $450,000.

When discussing Crowdtilt’s funding in December, CEO James Beshara explained that he saw a lot of similarities between it and WordPress, calling it the “WordPress of crowdfunding,” in fact, as businesses could add their own branding, logo, and even modify the open sourced code. (Also of note: WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg happens to be a Crowdtilt investor.)

Today, rebranded to “CrowdtiltOpen,” the tool offers an expanded feature set which includes recurring billing, direct payments (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, Amex), full customization or a choice from provided themes, analytics integration (e.g. Google, AdRoll, Optimizely, etc.), reward tiers, no time limitations, PCI compliance, support for non-profits soliciting donations, multiple campaigns, and as, noted above, bitcoin integration. And it’s still open sourced.

Read on TechCrunch