tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:/posts Y Combinator Posthaven 2016-05-03T15:35:26Z Y Combinator tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/1039077 2016-04-22T21:37:56Z 2016-04-28T17:00:53Z Restocks (YC W16) Helps You Track and Buy the Most Coveted, Hard-To-Find Products

As more and more brands release products with extremely limited availability, consumers have resorted to camping out, spending hours in digital queues, or paying upwards of 400% over retail for coveted items like limited edition sneakers and apparel.

Restocks is a company that launched out of our Winter 2016 class that does all the hard work of finding he most in-demand items, with a subscription service which alerts users of the availability of popular but hard-to-find products. Restocks has created the first central place where stock information is stored and pushed out to the people who care most about it, with software that tracks 45,000 products in real time.

TechCrunch's Matthew Panzarino wrote an in-depth review of Restocks this week:

"Over the past couple of months, I’ve purchased more items through Restocks than any other mobile commerce app aside from Amazon. And I’d wager that aside from a couple of statistical outliers each of those purchases were for more money on average.

Restocks is the answer to a simple question: What if you could target the world’s most ravenous purchasers at the exact moment they’re most likely to buy some of the world’s most sought after products?

Restocks is app that drives purchasing via push notifications when highly anticipated shoes and streetwear brands (for now) release or re-stock items. It’s also cost me hundreds of dollars over the few weeks I’ve been testing it. From limited release Nike shoes to boutique brands like Supreme, Reigning Champ, Concepts and Kith — each purchase is a push notification and a couple of taps away.

Restocks is on my home screen. Amazon isn’t even home screen worthy."

Read the full article here, and check out Restocks here.

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Y Combinator
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/1023533 2016-04-01T17:50:18Z 2016-05-03T15:35:26Z Y Sequoia Combination Today, Y Combinator announced its intent to acquire Sequoia Capital. This deal is still pending regulatory review and a successful pitch by Sequoia managing partner Doug Leone on YC Summer 2016 Demo Day. We’re not disclosing the financial terms, but Sequoia's ownership of YC-backed companies will pass to us, so I’ll just say we're once again the largest outside shareholders in Airbnb, Dropbox, and Stripe.

Sequoia Capital has had an Incredible Journey being the leader in venture capital investing in Silicon Valley for most of the last 40 years.  They have partnered with iconic companies like Apple, Google, Yahoo, PayPal, YouTube, LinkedIn, and WhatsApp.

The acquisition will enable our firms to realize a number of operational synergies. We have a blog and Sequoia doesn’t. Sequoia’s day-long Monday partner meetings will be replaced with Tuesday night dinners. And now YC companies will automatically receive a Sequoia term sheet to negotiate better terms from other firms. Sequoia will become the new YCVC group*, where they will take a hands-on role of turning YC’s best companies into enduring franchises, which they have been doing anyway.

The combined entity will officially be called “Sequoia Combinator”, but will do business as “YC”, as brevity is very important to both organizations. The new YC logo will be changed from orange to green as it is the color of sequoia leaves and money. Sir Michael Moritz will become chairman and also return to his journalistic roots as editor of Hacker News. Sequoia will help launch YC China, YC India, and YC Israel, and YC Forestry, which will be focused on preservation of sequoia trees worldwide.

Alfred Lin from Sequoia adds “YC is a perfect match for Sequoia because YC has been such a great source of deal flow for us. We don’t have to beg to invest in them anymore.”

Justin Kan from YC adds “Sequoia has so many partners on the Midas List and we’re really looking forward to learning from real investors.”

We are so excited for the future!

 

*Sequoia LPs will have 30 days to export their data.

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Sam Altman
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/1022957 2016-03-31T19:40:18Z 2016-05-03T09:00:57Z First Fellowship Virtual Demo Day Congratulations to the Fellowship teams who presented at the first Fellowship Virtual Demo Day! 

Find out more about the F2 Fellowship companies here: 

Awesound - AdWords for podcasts

BillionToOne - Fetal genetic testing in India

Bulletin - Airbnb for Retail

Cerplus - B2B marketplace for surplus produce

ConnectHealth - Telemedicine and prescription delivery in Africa

Ctzen - 311 for the developing world

GTRACK Technologies - Nanoparticle tracers for fracking

HDP Health - Helping clinical trials find patients using AI

Ilium VR - Rifle controller for virtual reality

Instrumentl - Concierge service for research

Mentat - Concierge service for jobseekers

Müvr Labs - Fitbit for your knees

OMG Digital- Buzzfeed for Africa

Palaround - Tinder for private networks

Pramp - P2P practice for livecoding interviews

Queen B Robotics - Drones for virtual reality content

Rent Scene - Apartment hunters for busy people

Sage - Uber for eldercare workers

SmartSite - Automated health monitoring for construction sites

Spotbot - Track website changes in Slack

Squire - OpenTable for barbershops

Suto - Personalized product recommendations on demand

Sway - Chatbot for company finances

The Flex Company - Menstrual product for mess-free period sex

Zube - Project management for Github issues

If you're an accredited investor who would like access to the Fellowship's Virtual Demo Day contact fellowship@ycombinator.com.


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Y Combinator
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/1021758 2016-03-29T23:45:09Z 2016-05-03T09:01:42Z Goodybag (YC W16) Simplifies Catering for Enterprises

Anyone who has used a catering service for meetings or corporate gatherings can explain how frustrating the entire process is. What seems like a simple task actually involves searching through various vendors, determining dietary restrictions, planning logistics, and invoicing the order.

Goodybag is a company launching out of our Winter 2016 class that streamlines the corporate meal-ordering process. Anyone can log onto the site and browse through local caterers before ordering online. In addition to ease of use, Goodybag also offers live customer support. Unlike other on-demand food delivery services, Goodybag does not actually deliver anything. Rather, it is a self-serve marketplace that allows companies to compare and book meals for specific events. Because of this, Goodybag can scale rapidly without being lost in unit economics.

The three behind Goodybag are Jay Panchal, Om Panchal, and Jag Santha. Jay Panchal and Jag Santha met in college at Georgia Institute of Technology while studying Systems Engineering. Om Panchal, Jay's brother, studied Biology at Southwestern University. 

Goodybag has done over $5.5M in orders from just the Austin, Houston, Seattle, and Nashville area.  

Learn more about Goodybag here.

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Steven Chan
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/1021089 2016-03-28T19:45:27Z 2016-03-31T18:11:48Z OctaveWealth (YC S12) is a Full Service 401(k) for SMBs

Administering 401(k) plans can be quite confusing for small and medium sized enterprises, which still use paper-based solutions. Online 401(k) providers integrate with digital payroll but fail to provide investment expertise. Companies then have to rely on additional third-party providers for investment management and record keeping. These providers often tack on additional fees that range from 0.30% to 1% of assets. High fees and increasing legislation and litigation over plan costs are some of the top reasons companies switch 401(k) providers.

OctaveWealth is a company that launched out of our Spring 2012 class that provides a transparent, full service 401(k) with no asset-based fees. Its technology provides third-party administration, record keeping, and investment management. Every 401(k) plan includes a series of investment portfolios that employees can invest in with a single click. Each portfolio is diversified across 50 global equities and fixed income markets, individually designed for an employee’s risk tolerance, and built using the same quantitative investment process as the world’s largest asset managers.

By giving employees a set of managed portfolios to invest in, OctaveWealth makes it easier for them to invest immediately upon enrollment. By complimenting this with a variety of risk profiles, this solution increases the likelihood of employee investment. Furthermore, advanced users can access custom portfolios and choose any funds or individual stocks. On average, each employee saves 75% of the total cost in the first 5 years alone, which can grow to more than 95% over time.

Dharmesh Malam and Rikin Shah, co-founders of OctaveWealth, met 13 years ago at Imperial College in London. The two previously founded BigCalc, a big data startup that helped algorithmic trading firms reduce risk by running trading simulations 100x faster. Before that, Malam worked on software at Blackrock and Fidelity while Shah worked on quantitative trading at UBS.  

The company launched in private beta late last year and the number of employees on their platform has been growing 20% week over week.

Learn more about OctaveWealth here.]]>
Steven Chan
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/1019195 2016-03-24T19:23:33Z 2016-04-04T10:05:22Z Justin Time Justin Kan is going to be the new spokesman for YC and handle the PR requests we get.

You should probably follow him on Snapchat (username: justinkan).

On a more serious note, I'm always impressed with how well-spoken Justin is, and how well he is able to connect with both reporters and founders.

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Sam Altman
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/1018793 2016-03-24T01:36:51Z 2016-03-31T23:35:53Z Gecko Robotics (YC W16) Builds Robots to Automate Infrastructure Inspections
Gecko Robotics is a company launching out of our Winter 2016 class that develops and operates robots to automate infrastructure inspections. Today, Gecko is focusing on power plant inspections.

Plants are required to shut down at least once a year to check for damage to their boilers. To do these inspections, crews install 150 foot tall scaffolds and climb up the walls in search of damaged areas in need of repair. These inspections are slow, inaccurate and dangerous. A typical inspection takes several days, and every hour a power plant is down costs tens of thousands of dollars -- in aggregate, power plant shutdowns cost power plants some $12 billion a year.

The Gecko solution is to send certified inspectors robots into these confined, dirty, and dangerous places.

TechCrunch's Sarah Buhr interviewed Gecko for a story published this week:

"Gecko’s proprietary magnetic adhesion technology works much like the sticky foot of a gecko, allowing its robots to crawl up walls to inspect for damage along the way.

A human would normally be the checker, but that presents an often dangerous situation. According to Gecko, most plants must shut down at least once a year to check for damage to the boiler. To do these inspections crews install 150-foot scaffolds and climb up the walls in search of areas in need of repair. On top of that, inspections can take up to seven days, with plants losing up to $1 million per day, says Gecko.

But for $50,000 to $100,000 Gecko deploys robots to do the work of human inspectors, saving time and money in the process."

Read the full story and see a video of the Gecko machine here.

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Y Combinator
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/1018126 2016-03-22T20:15:56Z 2016-03-22T21:35:33Z NURX (YC W16) Prescribes and Delivers Medications On-Demand, To Your Door NURX is a company launching out of our Winter 2016 class that aims to reduce the barriers to getting medications such as birth control for everyone, regardless of where they live.

NURX prescribes and delivers medication without you ever having to set foot in a doctor’s office. The company is starting by prescribing and delivering birth control and emergency contraceptives, and next plans to expand to offer HIV prevention medications Truvada and PReP.

7x7 Magazine wrote about NURX in a story published earlier this year:

"If you're a woman living in the United States, you already know that getting your hands on birth control can be a complex and expensive process. A new SF-based app called Nurx is offering a digital solution to getting your b.c. on time and at an affordable price. 

Founded by Hans Gangeskar and Dr. Edvard Engesaeth, Nurx is the newest white glove service to offer home delivery in the Bay Area. But instead of clothes or food, Nurx is offering to deliver the ring/pill/patch straight to your door in less than 48 hours. Plus, it's free to use with insurance. 

'Research shows that the easier and more affordable birth control is, the more women will use it. Women should not have to jump through unnecessary hoops, just to access birth control,' said Dr. Edvard Engesaeth, co-founder of Nurx.

Here's how it works: You choose your preferred brand of birth control, answer a few questions, enter your insurance information, and place your order all on the website. A Nurx physician will review your order and write your prescription, and the medication is delivered to you at no cost, if you have insurance. If you don't have insurance, the prescription and delivery are still free, and the medication itself starts at $15. It's that easy."

Read more about NURX in 7x7, CNN, and Elle, and visit their website at Nurx.co.

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Y Combinator
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/1018107 2016-03-22T19:19:05Z 2016-04-07T19:50:05Z TRAC (YC W16) Brings Race Timing and Analytics Into the 21st Century

Over 26,000 running races occur within the United States each year, and worldwide, road races generate an estimated $8 billion annually in fees. However, this fast-growing segment of the sports industry has missed out on advances in innovation that have begun to transform other parts of the entertainment and wellness industries.

TRAC is a company launching out of our Winter 2016 class that wants to finally bring race timing and analysis into the 21st century, with a proprietary, flexible, on-demand race timing solution.

Deborah Gage at the Wall Street Journal wrote a story about TRAC this week:

"In a sparsely furnished apartment in Mountain View, Calif., Griffin Kelly and Elliot Hevel, both 24 and shoeless, are working on their first startup --Timing and Racing Around the Clock Inc., which makes a timing device, TRAC, that measures runners’ speed.

Both are runners who graduated from Northwestern University in 2013 with masters’ degrees in engineering. They have made a software-powered device that can be mounted on a tripod and operated by a smartphone, remotely if necessary, reading runners’ RFID chips as they cross the finish line and at various points along a race to calculate their times."

Read the full story here.

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Y Combinator
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/1017690 2016-03-22T00:05:53Z 2016-03-29T17:06:24Z Boom (YC W16) is Building an Affordable Supersonic Aircraft
Boom is a company launching out of our Winter 2016 class that is building a 40-seat supersonic plane for business travel. The current prototype has a maximum speed of Mach 2.2, making it the fastest passenger aircraft. 

Ashlee Vance wrote a story on Boom for Bloomberg Business:

“The Boom engineers say new materials and software made a Concorde replacement viable only in the last 10 years. Their plane will be built using a carbon-fiber composite instead of aluminum, making it lighter and able to travel faster. (Because of the heat generated by intense friction, aluminum softens at speeds higher than Mach 2.) Boom’s software can also run millions of computer simulations a day on its designs, so the startup doesn’t have to spend months tweaking things in wind tunnels.

According to the simulations, Boom’s design is quieter and 30 percent more efficient than the Concorde was. Its 40 seats will be split into two single-seat rows, so everybody has a window and an aisle. To reduce weight, the seats are of the standard domestic first-class variety, so no laydown beds. To cut flight time, Boom’s plane will cruise at 60,000 feet, where passengers will be able to see the curvature of the earth, while going 2.6 times faster than other passenger planes. Scholl says about 500 routes fit the craft’s market, including a five-hour trip from San Francisco to Tokyo and a six-hour flight from Los Angeles to Sydney.”

Read the full story here.

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Steven Chan
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/1017516 2016-03-21T18:45:36Z 2016-03-21T18:45:36Z Perlstein Lab (YC W16) Automates Drug Discovery for Rare Diseases

Major pharmaceutical companies rarely focus on orphan diseases, conditions that affect less than 200,000 people nationwide. While many are complex, around 4,000 orphan diseases are caused by only one mutation in a single gene.

Perlstein Lab is a company launching out of our Winter 2016 class that has built an automated drug discovery platform for all rare diseases. It screens for model compounds that can reverse a disease in simple model organisms like yeast cells and nematodes. If a compound is found, this drug candidate can then be tested with patients. 

Jay Donovan wrote a story about Perlstein Lab on TechCrunch:

“First of all, it is important to know that, according to Perlstein, there are about 7000 diseases classified as rare and 95% of these have no FDA approved cure. This is PLab’s area of focus. This is a much different model than Big Pharma which usually focuses on more common illnesses where the research ROI stands to be much greater.

Of these 7000 rare diseases, about half are caused by a single broken gene. These are usually inherited diseases and affect children.

PLab focuses on single broken gene diseases initially because they are obviously less complex and easier to approach. Using a molecular apparatus known as a CRISPR—which Perlstein likened to a command line editor for animal genomes—PLab alters the genome of test animals (yeasts, flies, worms, fish and sometimes mice) to mimic the broken gene disorder…to essentially, make them ill. Because many of these animal are small, even microscopic, PLab can have large numbers of them to test against. 

Then, using an automated platform, they apply thousands of chemical compounds to these animals to see which compounds are effective at reversing or bypassing the loss of the broken gene’s function.”

Read the full story here and learn more about Perlstein Lab through their blog.

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Steven Chan
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/1017503 2016-03-21T18:24:31Z 2016-03-21T20:58:14Z StrongIntro (YC W16) Boosts Employee Referrals for Finding and Hiring Engineers Recruiting is hard, especially for technical employees. Everyone in the startup world knows that.

The best way to tackle this problem is to tap into the personal networks of your existing team members. In fact, employee referrals are often referred to as "hiring gold" because they build culture, retention, and engagement, all at a cheaper cost and faster-to-hire rate than alternative recruiting pipelines. The problem is, most companies don’t have the bandwidth or resources to create a robust referral program that competes with larger industry players.

StrongIntro is a company in our Winter 2016 class that wants to be a startup’s secret weapon, helping them bring in employee referrals and hire as effectively as top companies.

StrongIntro hosts a sourcing party at a startup's office, and uses its software to parse staffers' social connections to intelligently identify engineers and enable employees to easily recommend connections. This approach sources between 50 to 100 warm candidates for every five employees. StrongIntro also provides a dedicated recruiter to help build the key components of a successful referral program, including customized outreach, education of employees, and implementing best practices.

Using StrongIntro has zero upfront costs  -- they only take a performance fee if one of their referrals is hired.

StrongIntro has funding from the Thiel Fellowship, YC Fellowship, and YC Core, and has already helped companies like Segment, Raise.me, and Teespring discover and engage hundreds of new candidates. For more information or to book a sourcing session see http://www.strongintro.com.

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Y Combinator
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/1015557 2016-03-21T17:42:05Z 2016-03-21T17:42:06Z Q&A with YC/Imagine K12's Geoff Ralston and Tim Brady Geoff Ralston and Tim Brady, YC partners and Imagine K12 founders, hosted a Twitter chat and AMA on r/entrepreneur last week to answer questions from edtech startups applying to YC. Here are the highlights below:

1. The criteria for being accepted into YC or IK12 haven't changed.


2. We work with edtech startups that are considering all kinds of revenue models: freemium, direct-to-schools, parents, or otherwise.


3. We work with edtech startups that serve the entire spectrum of the learning process (pre-K, K-12, post-secondary, life-long learning) and any geographical market (US and International). 

5. And some final application tips.

For a more comprehensive look at the conversations, visit the archived Twitter chat and Reddit AMA.

The application deadline for the Summer 2016 batch is March 24. Apply now.

Good luck edtech applicants, hope to see you at interviews!

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Y Combinator
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/1017457 2016-03-21T17:39:01Z 2016-03-21T17:39:01Z Chatfuel (YC W16) Builds Chatbots to Help Companies Engage with their Users Businesses and media organizations want to be where their users are. In the past, they'd often do this by building a website or an app, but there are big problems with both of these approaches: With websites, re-engagement with users is very difficult; and there is so much friction around app installation it's difficult to acquire users. So today, many companies are realizing that bots on messaging platforms are the fastest and simplest way to engage with users.

Chatfuel is a company in our Winter 2016 class that has built a self-service platform that lets companies create these kinds of chatbots in minutes. 

Jon Russell of TechCrunch recently wrote a story about Chatfuel:

"Chat has become the center of the smartphone universe, so it makes sense that bots are being used to deliver information in a convenient and engaging manner. But how do brands or media companies get started and create a bot? That’s where Chatfuel, a company that’s currently going through Y Combinator, is looking to make its mark.

The company is currently focused primarily on Telegram, which is the only chat app to open its bots to all. It has created bots for the likes of Forbes and TechCrunch — hey, that’s us! — but, beyond focusing on media, it has a self-service platform anyone can use. Thus far, that’s been used to make over 120,000 bots which serve over five million users.

It’s more than just basic bots that simply send information to users based on offering them two kinds of responses. Chatfuel is a little more intelligent. Its bots serve up news, lets users narrow down on topics, and even just ask questions about items or people in the news."

Read the full story here.

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Y Combinator
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/1017452 2016-03-21T17:17:22Z 2016-03-21T18:01:18Z Secful (YC W16) Prevents API Attacks Automatically and in Real-Time

In recent years, it's become clear that APIs are very vulnerable to security breaches. Facebook, Snapchat, Marriott, Delmarva Power, TurboTax, and Twitter are just a small portion of the growing list of companies that have been breached through their API. Research indicates that 84% of all cyber-attacks are happening at the application layer, rendering companies' existing network security protections insufficient.

Secful is a company launching out of our Winter 2016 class that prevents API attacks, automatically and hands-free. Secful secures enterprises' APIs by detecting and profiling attackers in real-time and creating custom-tailored protection against them.

Every attack begins with the same phase: Reconnaissance. During this time, an attacker understands how the API should be used. Afterwards, the attacker actively researchers a company's endpoints for vulnerabilities. Usually these trial-and-error attempts go unnoticed until a breach actually occurs. Until now.

Secful tracks all of the attacker's activity from the very beginning, and creates a profile that contains an up-to-the-minute attack timeline, along with essential information to prevent the attack. Most importantly, Secful highlights the most dangerous potential attacks so that companies can handle them first.

Find out more about Secful and request a demo at Secful.com, and check out the video below.

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Y Combinator
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/1016173 2016-03-19T00:20:13Z 2016-04-14T17:06:20Z Kisan Network (YC W16) is an Online Marketplace for Indian Agriculture

Kisan Network is a startup in our Winter 2016 class that enables farmers in rural India to sell their produce directly to institutional buyers, such as producers of packaged foods -- bypassing the traditional network of opaque local negotiations and middlemen who often take outsize commissions.

With the rise of affordable smartphones and data connectivity in rural India, farmers have realized that the internet provides a platform to get information from beyond their local community. Kisan Network aims to be the go-to web platform for the farming industry in rural India.

In a few seconds, a farmer can open Kisan Network’s Android application, take a picture of his or her crop and post details about the harvest and its next availability. Buyers on the platform can browse available options on the app or web, and pay the farmer via Kisan Network at the time of delivery.

Jonathan Shieber recently interviewed Kisan's founders and profiled the company in an in-depth story for TechCrunch:

"With a market size of roughly $260 billion for agriculture and ag-related services, it’s little wonder that the national breadbasket for 1.2 billion people and a regional food exporter to another 3 billion people on the Asian continent would be of interest to investors.

Kisan Network wants to be the logistics provider and central marketplace for a large percentage of all of that produce. Already the world’s largest producer of milk and spices, the possessor of the largest herd of buffaloes in the world and the largest area of wheat, rice, and cotton cultivation, India’s position could rival the U.S. as the world’s breadbasket should the right incentives fall into place.

And it’s a market that’s ripe for disruption given the historic information imbalance between buyers and sellers. That’s a problem technology has been solving for generations. Aditya [Agarwalla, Kisan Network's co-founder] was so convinced of the company’s viability, and the need for its service, that he’s dropped out of Princeton to build the business."

Read the full story on TechCrunch here.
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Y Combinator
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/1016156 2016-03-18T23:22:53Z 2016-05-03T09:02:58Z Meter Feeder (YC W16) Replaces Parking Meters with a Mobile App

Meter Feeder is a company launching out of our Winter 2016 class that replaces the hassles of traditional parking meters by allowing people to pay with their smart phones.

To use Meter Feeder, all you have to do is enter your license plate and tap a button to pay with Apple Pay, Android Pay, or a credit card. Notifications tell users when they have 5 minutes left, so they can add more time if needed.

Current competitors in this space only solve half of the problem: They either offer tools for traffic officers, or payment processing for parkers. Meter Feeder is the first to offer both -- and this means huge cost savings for government.

TechCrunch's Josh Constine wrote about Meter Feeder in a story this week:

"More big cities are switching to credit and mobile-enabled meters that aren’t nearly as awful as the old coin-only ones. Companies like PayByPhone, Pango and ParkMobile make the payment systems, while t2, Duncan and United Parking Safety handle enforcement. But many smaller cities often can’t afford these intensive hardware updates.

For example, a town with 250 spots would have to pay around $100,000 to revamp their meters, says [Meter Feeder co-founder Dan] Lopretto. But it would cost merely $3,000 to enable Meter Feeder. The only thing the cities pay for are the enforcement kits, which come out to about $1,500 each for the 7-inch tablet, printer, paper and Internet connectivity.

Big cities could see cost savings too. San Francisco is now using automatic license plate scanners that can cost tens of thousands of dollars each, and still take five seconds per plate scanned. Punching in the first few characters of a license plate with Meter Feeder takes the same amount of time, but is way cheaper."

Read the full story on TechCrunch here.

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Y Combinator
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/1016151 2016-03-18T23:11:43Z 2016-03-18T23:11:43Z mRelief (YC W16) Helps Low-Income Americans Easily Find and Access Social Services
An estimated 46.7 million people are living in poverty in the United States. And each year, an average of 11.8 million of them leave almost $20 billion dollars of SNAP (food assistance) benefits for which they're eligible on the table. Often, these people don't realize which social services they are eligible to receive, and thus don't take full advantage of them.

mRelief is a non-profit launching out of our Winter 2016 batch that provides knowledge and power to this group of people. mRelief has built a platform that enables low-income Americans to discover and check their eligibility for social services both online and through text-messaging.

The company focuses on SMS in addition to web because 36 percent of Americans still do not have smartphones -- and low-income Americans send and receive 2 times more text messages than other groups. 

TechCrunch's Jon Shieber wrote about mRelief and its founders in a story published today:
"No organization exemplifies [the] notion of harnessing private industry tools for public good more than mRelief, a non-profit launching in the latest Y-Combinator batch of companies.

Founded by two friends who met at a coding bootcamp in Chicago, mRelief epitomizes the notion that technology can help to address the problems that are born from the bureaucratic worst tendencies of government assistance.

...Since they’ve joined Y Combinator the mRelief service has been posting impressive numbers. The service has seen 90% growth week-on-week, with 2,000 eligibility screening checklists completed in the last week alone, according to data provided by mRelief’s founders."
Read the full story in TechCrunch here.
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Y Combinator
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/1016123 2016-03-18T22:13:38Z 2016-03-21T22:18:38Z iSono Health (YC W16) is Building an Affordable At-Home Ultrasound for Breast Health Monitoring

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer related deaths in women. One in eight women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in their lifetime. While mammograms are the current standard of care, they do have significant limitations. Mammograms fail to detect breast cancer in women with dense breast tissue, who are already at higher risk for breast cancer. Furthermore, insurance companies typically do not cover the cost of exams for women under 50.

iSono Health is a company launching out of our Winter 2016 class that wants to empower women to take charge of their health through proactive, at-home screenings. Their first product is an affordable and automated ultrasound device that only takes 2 minutes to use. This device captures 3D ultrasound images that can later be accessed through its secure app.

Using a machine-learning algorithm that track changes over time, iSono Health can detect abnormal growths at their earliest stages. If the app detects any abnormalities, it automatically shares the images with a radiologist, who then provides feedback directly to the user. With gradual monitoring, users have access to accurate and actionable data that can potentially save lives.

Both co-founders, Dr. Maryam Ziaei and Dr. Shadi Saberi, had close family members and friends battle breast cancer. As a result, they wanted to build an affordable solution that helps detect breast cancer early on. Dr. Ziaei graduated from Stanford University with a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and developed sensors for consumer electronics. Dr. Saberi graduated with a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon and worked at Broadcom since 2012, developing circuits and systems.

iSono Health will be launching a crowdfunding campaign soon. Sign up for updates here.

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Steven Chan
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/1016049 2016-03-18T18:54:06Z 2016-03-18T21:08:43Z Soundboks (YC W16) is Making the World’s Loudest Battery-Powered Speaker Soundboks is a company in our Winter 2016 class that has created the first and only portable speaker capable of throwing a real party. It is shockproof, weatherproof, and temperature resistant.

Stanley Goodner wrote about Soundboks in Gizmag:

“For pool events, camping, or backyard cookouts, boombox-sized speakers can be found supplying ample amounts of audio. We've reviewed the audiophile-grade Nano HiFi NH1 as well as the rugged JBL Xtreme, both of which delivered appreciably well. But they likely pale in comparison to the Soundboks, which houses a pair each of 96 dB low-frequency drivers, 98 dB high-frequency dynamic drivers, sound pressure level (SPL) speaker units, and 42 W digital amps.

Soundboks uses custom-designed amplifiers that help to enhance battery life while optimizing sound for outdoor usage. With its dual-phase boost function, this speaker is designed to generate up to maximum 119 dB of sound. The volume dial – quite literally – turns to an 11 for an experience similar to that of a live concert.”

Read the full story here and learn more about Soundboks from their Kickstarter campaign

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Steven Chan
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/1015610 2016-03-18T01:05:16Z 2016-03-25T11:05:24Z OSVehicle (YC W16) Lets You Create Custom Electric Vehicles

Traditionally, manufacturing or even prototyping new vehicular models meant high barriers to entry due to the exorbitant costs of Research and Development. This meant that new vehicles were only available to big name brands like Ford or Chrysler who could afford to invest the time and money.

OSVehicle is a company launching out of our Winter 2016 class that allows anyone to create customized electric vehicles using their open source platform and modular technology, Tabby Evo. By reducing R&D costs and eliminating the need for a factory, OSVehicle enables smaller companies and even individuals to build a fully working prototype in less than an hour. The lifetime of the product is also extended as users can replace, adapt, and upgrade different components.

Normally, manufacturing a similar prototype cost around $100k, not including the R&D costs, but OSVehicle delivers the same product at a third of the price. Based on previous projects, this ready-to-use technology saves companies about 3 years in R&D and roughly $2M.

The two co-founders of OSVehicle are Italian-born Tin Hang Liu and Yuki Liu. The two previously worked at Italchina, their family company that helped Italian enterprises enter the Chinese market.

Learn more about OSVehicle here or check out their video here.

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Steven Chan
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/1015524 2016-03-17T21:53:25Z 2016-03-18T01:33:01Z PhysioHealth (YC W16) Rewards Employees for Staying Healthy

Human Resources invest an enormous amount of energy and resources into employee health initiatives given that prolonged sitting is associated with a 40% increase in mortality. However, their efforts are often ineffective because the goals are set by HR staff rather than employees. The goals end up being too broad, and fail to take into account individual variability and employee motivation. As such, employees feel that the expected goals are too daunting or even discriminatory. This wasted effort accumulates as employers traditionally spends $150 to $200 in cash incentives per employee.

PhysioHealth is a company in our Winter 2016 class that allows employees to take ownership of their health while reducing costs for employers. PhysioHealth is an app that introduces 1 minute workouts throughout the day to help prevent back pain and mental stress. PhysioHealth goes a step beyond current apps by providing coaching in a consumer-centric way while gathering data. The app alerts you when you’ve been sitting or standing for too long, and delivers instructional stretching and breathing exercises. But staying active outside the office is also important. PhysioHealth integrates with AppleHealth, GoogleFit, Fitbit, Jawbone, Runkeeper, Swarm and more to suggest new places to exercise or when it’s time for vaccinations.

PhysioHealth offers a rewards network with brands at no additional cost. This complements and increases ROI on cost-heavy wellness programs already in use. They recently ran a pilot and saw a 27% increase in productivity, 23% decrease in lower back pains, and a 54% increase in staying active during the day.

Firdevs and Melike Abacioglu are the two Turkish sisters behind PhysioHealth. They both hold MBAs from Harvard, and are former financial investors & strategy consultants who have experienced the effects of working long hours. While they have worked for and consulted Fortune 500 companies, Melike and Firdevs want to draw attention to employee health and productivity. They currently work with a multi-disciplinary team of psychologists, gamers, dietitians, orthopaedic surgeons, physiotherapists and yoga experts.

PhysioHealth is available in the US and in Europe.

Learn more about PhysioHealth here.]]>
Steven Chan
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/1015429 2016-03-17T17:54:30Z 2016-03-22T06:20:29Z Castle (YC W16) Analyzes User Data to Stop Hackers

Quickly growing startups often do not have the resources to prioritize security at the same level as more established tech firms. But regardless of a company's size, loss of user data is a top risk to any digital service -- particularly for startups in the finance, health, or B2B spaces.

Castle is a company launching out of our Winter 2016 class that provides top-level security monitoring so that apps, no matter what their size, can protect their users' data.

Castle's technology looks at user behavior to identify who is likely to have their account compromised. Developers simply drop in a line of code into any website or mobile app, and Castle will look for suspicious login patterns without bothering the legitimate user, nor the site administrator. Castle's fully-automated anti-hijack engine identifies potential account compromises based on where the user logs in from and how they navigate the site.

Since its launch last month, Castle now has more than 150 live deployments. Find out more about Castle and its technology at castle.io.

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Y Combinator
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/1015412 2016-03-17T17:28:28Z 2016-03-24T03:16:13Z Airmada (YC W16) Helps Companies Make the Most Out of Automated Drones
It is widely agreed that the drone services industry is exploding. The elephant in the room of this economy, however, is that enterprise drone operations as they're done today cannot scale -- and thus are frequently more expensive than competing alternatives. The drone flight itself is already fully autonomous, but it is only a small part of the process.

Airmada is a company in our Winter 2016 class that has created a platform to help companies handle some of the difficult to manage details around commercial drone use. Airmada builds and deploys drone terminals on customers' sites that drastically reduce the cost of operating drones.

TechCrunch's Jay Donovan wrote about Airmada in a story published today:

"There are many problems that are currently holding back commercial use of drones. You have to know how to fly them or set up autonomous flight. You have to transport them to the right location where they are needed. You need qualified inspection and maintenance.

Despite these barriers, there are many companies still in need of drones for everything from precision agriculture, to aerial photography to small maritime deliveries.

[Airmada founders Dan] Danay and [Boris] Lipchin are aiming at all of these categories with their offering, however maritime deliveries are especially ripe for disruption, according to the duo."

Read the full story on TechCrunch here.

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Y Combinator
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/1015033 2016-03-17T01:15:53Z 2016-03-23T03:37:41Z CareSkore (YC W16) Helps Healthcare Organizations Assess Risk to Deliver Better Patient Care Hospitals and healthcare providers are held accountable for the quality of care they provide by the Affordable Care Act. They are penalized for re-admissions, over-utilizations of services, and hospital acquired conditions like pneumonia or surgical site infections. If a patient is readmitted within 30-days after being discharged, hospitals risk having their reimbursement reduced or nullified. Healthcare organizations waste over $180 billion every year due to a poor understanding of their patients’ clinical risks. This risk profiling is typically done by insurance companies, who are often slow and have poor results because they only use claims data.

CareSkore is a company launching out of our current Winter 2016 class that mitigates that risk through individualized, disease-specific workflows and patient care plans. Through a combination of clinical, lab, demographic, and behavioral data from hospitals, CareSkore’s algorithm provides ongoing, real-time, and highly precise predictions for every admitted patient. These predictions are all fully automated and thus create highly customized action plans.

One of the co-founders and Chief Medical Officer of CareSkore is Dr. Puneet Dhillon Grewal, MD. She is also an Internal Medicine physician and Cardiologist. She is currently a Cardiology Fellow at Rosalind Franklin University of Medical Sciences, where she also completed her residency. The other co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of CareSkore is Jaspinder Grewal. He is a computer engineer and holds an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. He has 13 years of experience working with large health systems, managing technology, and operations.

Currently, CareSkore is available to hospitals, health systems, and integrated delivery networks in the United States. They have also been getting international interest from Europe and Asia.

Learn more about CareSkore here.]]>
Steven Chan
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/1015025 2016-03-17T01:00:12Z 2016-03-25T01:38:11Z WorldCover (YC W16) is Peer-to-Peer Funded Crop Insurance in the Developing World

Right now, farmers in Africa and in much of the developing world who get hit by drought lose more than just their income -- they lose the ability to pay for school fees for their children and provide complete meals for their family.

Unlike in the United States and other parts of the developed world, there is little to no social safety net to fall back on when the rains don’t come. When the rains do come, they are erratic and hard to predict, as climate change is causing extreme weather in many places, especially sub-Saharan Africa. The mere threat of drought makes traditional lending firms see farmers as risky borrowers, and causes them to under-invest in their farms. Making matters worse, traditional insurance is generally not available to these farmers.

WorldCover is a company launching out of our Winter 2016 class that provides a new solution to these issues, with a peer-to-peer funded lending platform that provides customers in developing countries with insurance against natural disasters, and gives investors diversified returns and direct social impact. WorldCover's unique funding and pricing model allows them to underwrite farmers in the developing world profitably and confidently.

WorldCover has first launched its business model in Ghana in West Africa, a population of 27 million people. 95% of Ghana’s agriculture population are smallholder farmers, with less than 5 hectares of land -- exactly the kind of market that has been under-served by existing insurance providers.

Based on its success thus far in Ghana, WorldCover expects that its model could expand to work across the entire developing world, where 500 million smallholder farming households feed 80% of the population. Ultimately, this approach could scale far beyond drought insurance, to provide protection against other risks.

Find out more about WorldCover by visiting their website here.


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Y Combinator
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/1014985 2016-03-16T23:27:52Z 2016-03-18T15:08:52Z GetAccept (YC W16) Helps Salespeople Close More Deals
GetAccept is a company launching out of our Winter 2016 class that helps salespeople take full advantage of their sales opportunities and close more deals cleanly and quickly, with a workflow that helps them design, track and market sales documents through to the point that they're e-signed on the dotted line.

VentureBeat's Ken Yeung wrote about GetAccept in a post published today:
"Sixty percent of proposals never get signed, according to [GetAccept] cofounder Mathias Thulin. He attributes it to a lack of structured workflow for salespeople: 'They don’t know where to follow up or are lazy.' GetAccept aims to automate the process to convert more missed opportunities into signed deals. It incorporates different behavioral decisions you’ve made to push the deal forward, such as sending your sale an email or SMS reminder, along with retargeting display campaigns.

A messaging service is also included, giving salespeople another way to communicate with their leads. The idea is to continue building trust from the point between when a quote is sent over to when the deal is actually signed."

Read the full story and see screenshots of GetAccept in action here.
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Y Combinator
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/1014882 2016-03-16T21:32:30Z 2016-03-16T22:49:12Z StealthWorker (YC W16) is a Marketplace for Talented Cybersecurity Specialists The rising trend of hacking has resulted in damaged brands, fraud, and theft of personal identifiable information (PII). The need for cybersecurity professionals has drastically increased, with over a million cybersecurity jobs still unfilled. Unfortunately, there are not enough qualified people (CISSPs) to meet that demand. Therefore, finding and hiring qualified experts can be time-consuming and costly.

StealthWorker is a company launching out of our current Winter 2016 class that tackles this issue by connecting businesses with qualified cybersecurity specialists on its marketplace. Founder, Dr. Ken Baylor knows how hard it is to find competent security staff after serving as a CISO for over 10 years. Previously, he has led security teams at Symantec, Pivotal Software, Wells Fargo, and McAfee. In addition to holding a CISSP, Dr. Baylor also holds a law degree, MBA, and Ph.D.

Instead of moving cybersecurity experts from one full-time job to the next, StealthWorker allows companies to hire specialists for specific tasks like penetration testing (pen testing). Pen testing is when a third-party acts as a hacker and attempts to compromise a server to steal data. By eliminating a lengthy hiring process, CISSPs are operational within weeks and can add immediate value. This solution drastically reduces the cost of hiring a security team while maximizing a security expert’s efficiency.

StealthWorker is launching in the United States, Europe, and Asia.

Learn more about StealthWorker here.]]>
Steven Chan
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/1014883 2016-03-16T21:20:39Z 2016-03-18T14:30:39Z Sharethebus (YC W16) Makes It Incredibly Easy to Organize a Charter Bus Trip

They may not get the same glory that the car does, but buses are an important vehicle in American culture. After all, buses are what people rely on for transportation to many defining moments: political rallies, championship games, music festivals, school outings, group travel to new places. Every year, the charter bus industry moves more than one billion people across the U.S., Canada, and Europe, generating upwards of $16 billion.

Yet, unlike cars, there have been no major technological advancements for organizing a bus trip. Features such as splitting a fare, watching a vehicle arrive in real time, or receiving a notification when there’s a change in travel itinerary do not exist in the bus industry, which is currently still run on pen and paper and legacy systems.

Sharethebus is a company in our Winter 2016 class that is finally bringing the bus industry into the digital age, making it quick and easy to organize a charter bus trip anytime, anywhere.

For passengers, Sharethebus lets its users quickly set up a bus trip and split the bill between any number of riders. SMS notifications are sent to travelers when the bus is on its way, arriving, and if the departure location is changed; and to provide expert help at any stage of the process.

For event organizers, Sharethebus provides a specialized dashboard to gauge demand for rides from various locations, and set up multiple bus trips to and from the event. It's an ideal way for organizers of everything from music festivals to corporate conferences to bring in more people and foster stronger community bonds among attendees.

Sharethebus is connected to a strong supplier network of bus companies across North America, whose buses spend an estimated 70% of their lifespan unused. These companies are eager to make their fleets more efficient and become more accessible and appreciated by a new generation of consumers. With its partners, Sharethebus has redesigned the entire customer journey from booking a bus online, to managing passengers, schedules, payments, and improving on a trip’s execution.

In just 12 months of operations, Sharethebus has moved more than 50,000 people across 1,000 bus trips, and served more than 200 North American cities. Since launch, Sharethebus has maintained 25% month-over-month growth and worked in collaboration with large event partners including music festivals, colleges, student associations, and conferences.

Sharethebus was founded in by Wolf Kohlberg and Kyle Boulay. Wolf is a bus industry expert who founded a travel agency at 16 in Germany where he organized thousands of bus trips. After moving to North America, he partnered with Kyle Boulay, a designer turned developer who had built strong friendships on past bus trips to music events and was frustrated by the lack of simple solutions for organizing more.

Read more about Sharethebus in Betakit and TechVibes.

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Y Combinator
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/1014404 2016-03-16T01:46:10Z 2016-03-26T06:47:37Z PaveIQ (YC W16) Takes the Technical Work Out of Google Analytics

Google Analytics can be confusing for small and medium-sized businesses without a dedicated analytics team. Often times non-technical users are overwhelmed with their dashboard and have no idea of what it all means. Moreover, tracking critical things like conversions require technical support. As a result, companies struggle and give up or end up losing money on ineffective marketing strategies.

PaveIQ is a company launching out of our current Winter 2016 class that helps businesses make the most out of Google Analytics. Frustrated with setting up analytics for his own website, ex-Googler Jash Patel started PaveIQ along with his co-founder Eric Ho.

To make things easy, PaveIQ sets up Google Analytics, analyzes the data, and returns specific insights designed to increase revenue and improve marketing strategies. These reports inform users which marketing and advertising efforts are working, which are not working, and ways to improve.

Current analytics solutions available are only built for technical users but PaveIQ does all the legwork with just a few buttons, removing any need for technical knowledge or support. Business plans start at $49/month.

Learn more about PaveIQ here.]]>
Steven Chan