tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:/posts Y Combinator Posthaven 2014-09-19T03:01:54Z Y Combinator tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/741866 2014-09-15T16:03:07Z 2014-09-17T19:46:50Z YC office hours at Hack the North

Y Combinator partners and alumni will be hosting office hours at Hack the North at the University of Waterloo on Saturday, 9/20 from 2pm-5pm ET. Office hours will be 20 minutes each. 

Sign up for a slot here

If you're selected, we'll reach out with your time slot, who you'll be meeting with, and the location.

Hope to see you there! 

- YC Team
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Y Combinator
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/739814 2014-09-12T16:39:01Z 2014-09-19T03:01:54Z Last day to apply for Startup School Today is the last day to apply for Startup School, which will be hosted in Cupertino, CA on October 11. 

Apply here.

Speakers include:

Ron Conway
Founder and Special Advisor, SV Angel

Jim Goetz
Partner, Sequoia Capital 

Reid Hoffman
Founder and Executive Chairman, LinkedIn

Jan Koum 
Founder and CEO, WhatsApp

Andrew Mason
Founder, Detour and Groupon

Eric Migicovsky
Founder and CEO, Pebble

Hosain Rahman
Founder and CEO, Jawbone

Danae Ringelmann 
Founder and Chief Development Officer, Indiegogo

Emmett Shear
Founder and CEO, Twitch 

Michelle Zatlyn
Founder, CloudFlare

We hope to see you there!
YC Team

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Y Combinator
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/740604 2014-09-12T15:41:36Z 2014-09-14T12:13:45Z New Requests for Startups We've updates some of the RFSes, and also added some new ones:

http://www.ycombinator.com/rfs/

As a reminder, these mostly exist to get you thinking about ideas.  We'll very happily fund startups that have nothing to do with anything on this list.

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Sam Altman
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/738308 2014-09-08T17:23:24Z 2014-09-17T04:37:39Z Exploding Offers Suck Exploding offers suck.  Founders should be able to choose the investor they want to work with, not have to make a decision based on time pressure.

As the world of accelerators gets more and more competitive, we’re seeing more and more exploding offers where an accelerator tries to force a company to make a decision about a funding offer before the company has a chance to finish talking to other accelerators.

This is terrible behavior.  It may be the best thing for accelerators to use time pressure to get founders to accept their offer, but it’s definitely not the best thing for founders. 

I want to make our stance on this public: after we make you an offer, we’ll give you until the beginning of our program to decide (though most companies accept quickly, because you can’t start having office hours with us and participating in other ways until you accept).  We ask companies to be transparent with us about needing more time--we won't rescind our offer.  It’s usually about 45 days from interview to the start of the batch.

Some accelerators use a line about needing to make an announcement about who is in the upcoming batch—which, again, is maybe in the interest of the accelerator but the company should launch when it’s ready.  Sometimes they say they have a fixed amount of desk space, but in practice, if a good company wants to join late, they always make room.

We encourage all other accelerators to join us on this.  It should be an easy yes.  Exploding offers are the wrong thing for founders, and an accelerator that does the wrong thing for founders will not last long.

And founders should think very hard about joining an accelerator that puts forth a short-fuse offer.

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Sam Altman
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/736630 2014-09-04T21:47:36Z 2014-09-18T06:38:19Z YC Investment Policy and Email List We’re making a change to the rule for YC partners making follow-on investments.  Previously, partners could invest in companies after they had either raised $500k or 3 weeks after Demo Day.  This reduced a lot of the conflict and signaling issues, but not enough—partners investing during the batch still caused issues.  So the new rule is that partners can only invest some amount of time after Demo Day (we’ll experiment a little to figure out exactly how long) or as part of a Series A. 

Our hope is that this will further reduce investors looking for signal from YC partners.

We put this policy in place for the summer 2014 batch, and it seems to be working well.

We will continue to make exceptions to the investing rules when a company is running out of money and about to die, but we think they are good and no one else wants to invest.  We may make other exceptions, which uninvolved partners will approve on a case-by-case basis.

While I’m on the topic of reducing conflicts, I also want to talk about our relationship with VCs.  Over the years, we’ve had direct LP (with Sequoia) or LP-like (with Andreessen Horowitz, Maverick Capital, SV Angel, Yuri Milner, General Catalyst, and Khosla Ventures) relationships with several VC firms.  This caused other investors a lot of consternation.

We still like all those firms a lot, and they continue to invest in a lot of our companies.  But they no longer have LP relationships with us, and no information rights or anything like that.  We do still have some VCs come in and meet companies about 10 days before Demo Day so they can get some pitch practice.  We expect to rotate through a list of trusted investors for different batches.

In the interest of a level playing field, we have created a new email distribution list that we will use for all of our companies raising rounds outside of Demo Day (before or after).  We'll use this email list instead of individual introductions so that we don't unintentionally miss an investor who might be really interested in a company.

The rules for membership are simple—5 total investments in YC companies of any size or 2 big ones, a positive reputation among our alumni, and no history of bad behavior like breaking term sheets without great cause, pressuring founders into advisor shares in addition to an investment alongside others in a round, etc.

We will of course continue to make introductions to newer investors not on this list as it makes sense.  In fact, some day, we’d like to have a larger distribution channel for all interested investors that we’d send companies to and integrate with some crowdfunding companies.  But we have to sort through the rules around that first.

In general, we don’t start introducing startups to investors until a maximum of 10 days before Demo Day (and most wait until Demo Day).  We also suggest startups take at least about 10 days to get to know major investors before making a decision.  We appreciate investors cooperating with us on this; it’s in everyone’s best interest for the startups to be able to focus on their product during the YC batch.

This should address all of the issues around investing we’re currently aware of at YC.

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Sam Altman
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/736005 2014-09-03T15:59:53Z 2014-09-09T17:12:30Z Founder Stories: Tracy Young of PlanGrid (YC W12)

PlanGrid founders Tracy Young, Kenny Stone, Ryan Sutton-Gee and Ralph Gootee

Tracy Young is the founder and CEO of PlanGrid, an app that lets construction companies store blueprints and documents on mobile devices. Since going through the YC’s Winter 2012 batch, PlanGrid has grown from a team of 4 to 40 and now hosts over 9 million blueprints in their cloud.

We talked about what it’s like going from construction sites to a startup, losing a co-founder to cancer, and building PlanGrid with her best friends and husband.

Q: How did PlanGrid get started?

A: Ryan Sutton-Gee and I went to Sacramento State where we majored in construction management. After we graduated I went to work for a construction management firm in the Bay Area and Ryan went to Stanford to get his Masters.

We were construction engineers—with hardhats and safety boots—and we were shocked by how inefficient the construction industry was. We were specifically surprised by how bad paper blueprints are. Blueprints are constantly changing so it's difficult to physically ship paper out to every single field worker on the jobsite and ensure they’re looking at the most current information. It's also heavy, cumbersome and expensive, but the biggest problem is accidentally building off outdated drawings which happens often.

Version control of construction data is a huge problem, and there was no software to help manage it. It was so obvious that there shouldn’t be paper blueprints. You should be able to stick them in the cloud and view them on mobile devices.

Ryan and I started working on a blueprint app as a side project. We were two domain experts who didn’t have a technical cofounder, so we convinced our friend, Antoine Hersen, to join us. Antoine agreed to join on the condition that he would be PlanGrid's Chief Mad Scientist. He’d gone to Sacramento State, too, and was based in Chicago working as a high frequency trading engineer.  

I also got my boyfriend at the time, Ralph Gootee, to join us as well. He was a rendering engineer at Pixar Animations.

Q: At what point did you decide to apply to YC?

A: Antoine and Ryan had always wanted to join Y Combinator. They were obsessive about HackerNews—they even got me to read it.

Right before we applied for YC, Antoine was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. At that point Ralph and I decided to quit our jobs. We took a train to Chicago to hang out with Antoine and worked on several projects with him. PlanGrid was just one of them.

We all applied to YC in October of 2011; Antoine was already really sick at that time. I remember how happy it made him when we were accepted. He was able to come to the first YC dinner that winter. He passed away in January 2012 at his home in France.

One of the last gifts Antoine gave to us was recruiting our fifth cofounder, Kenny Stone.  Antoine had told us “Kenny is the best engineer I’ve ever worked with” and without Kenny we would not have been able to build PlanGrid to what it is today.

Q: What is the most important thing you learned from working with Antoine?  

A: Antoine was hacking till the very last minute before he passed away. He cared so much about coding.

He gave me some advice before he left. He told me, “Life is short. Take care of the ones you love. Don’t be afraid to try new things. Never do anything that makes you unhappy.”

There’s not a day that goes by where I don’t think about it.

Q: What has been the most surprising part of starting a startup?

A: For some reason I thought it would get easier. We always knew that while we were at YC it would be non-stop work. But it’s 3 years later and we’re still working constantly. It feels like we’re working more now, even though we have a team of 40 people.

Q: Is there anything that surprised you about YC?

A: I had an idea that everyone would be super brilliant. What I didn’t realize was how nice everyone would be. All the partners are nice, funny, good people.

YC believes in me at times when I don’t even believe in myself. That goes way beyond being nice actually. They truly care about motivating us to do our best.

Q: What was the most useful piece of advice you’ve heard from one of your advisors?

A: Almost every Tuesday night dinner, a speaker would say: “Fire those who deserve to be fired and fire them fast.” At PlanGrid, we've taken this advice to heart, and it's always been the right decision, no matter how emotionally difficult it was.

Q: Is there one particular Tuesday night dinner speaker that stands out in your mind?

Kevin Hale. His Tuesday night dinner talk was so inspiring we asked him to come to PlanGrid to speak again. Everyone knows that Wufoo cares very much about support. They take it to extreme levels. We based our company on that principle as well.

We are really serious about support. There’s a chatbox on our website that we man 12 hours a day, 5 days a week. Our support ticket response time is just a few hours. Everyone at PlanGrid does support and talks to users, including the founders.

Q: What’s been the hardest thing about starting a startup?

A: The hardest part of starting a startup is fixing mistakes fast and adapting.

You’re going to make mistakes. But you have to learn from them and adapt quickly. My cofounders and I have made our share of mistakes, but if we were to hold onto every mistake we would have never moved forward. It's easy to wallow in mistakes and place blame instead of learning from them.

Q: Is there anything you wish you’d known when you’d first started PlanGrid?

A: I’m looking around my office and I’m kicking myself for not buying smaller desks. The secret to space efficiency is small desks.

Also—things aren’t ever that bad. We had a cofounder die. Everything else is so small in comparison.

Even if PlanGrid wasn’t doing well (and we’re doing really well right now!), at the end of the day I have my co-founders and best friends and we’d just go build something else.

Q: What advice would you give for people applying to YC W15?

A: Assuming they have some kind of beta, do whatever it takes to figure out sales by yourself. This is one of the reasons PlanGrid has been so successful.

After YC, we brought on a VP of Sales, but he couldn’t sell the product. At the end of the day, we knew the product best, we knew why it would add so much value to our users. Who better to sell the product than the founding team?

We didn’t want our company run by a salesperson. We went out, talked to users, figured out how and when they would pay us, and got to that point.

It's nice not to have to rely on fundraising to sustain the company. It’s nice to have months where we’re cash flow positive. Figure out how to get to that point with just the founding team. You can't rely on others to sell the product you built.

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Kat Manalac
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/733886 2014-08-29T20:36:09Z 2014-09-04T22:50:56Z BillForward (YC S14) Wants To Change The Way You’re Charged For Subscriptions

Amazon Prime, Netflix, utilities, the New York Times, HBO Go, the gym…

When you stop and think about all the subscriptions you have, the list probably is a bit longer than you thought.

But even as more subscription services become available, from ride shares to make up kits, it seems companies still offer customers limited subscription options due to constraints with their billing systems. Subscriptions rarely take into account how much you actually use them (If they did, most of us would probably be paying a lot more for Netlfix and a lot less for the gym).

Calling themselves “Stripe for subscription billing,” BillForward helps companies create customized billing services. BillForward CEO and co-founder Mark Parry said current subscription billing service software is outdated or difficult to use, and its time consuming and costly for companies to build their own.

Read the full story on TechCrunch
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Y Combinator
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/732075 2014-08-25T18:00:03Z 2014-08-31T18:28:36Z San Francisco Open Exchange (YC S14) Aims To Be The E-Trade Of Bitcoin

Y Combinator-backed startup San Francisco Open Exchange (SFOX) is an online trading platform that helps people find the best bitcoin prices at various exchanges. In other words, it would like to help you buy, sell and invest in bitcoin exchanges kinda like and investor buys and sells stock on E-Trade.

Co-founder Akbar Thobhani left his job at Airbnb to create this platform. However, he soon found that using bitcoin was even more expensive than using credit cards. This is because there’s not a lot of transparency. So he started thinking that if he could find a way to compare prices this would help drive widespread adoption for the bitcoin market.

Read the full story on TechCrunch
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Y Combinator
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/732055 2014-08-25T16:33:23Z 2014-08-30T17:29:59Z Applications for YC W15 are open We are now accepting applications for the Winter 2015 batch. You can apply as a startup or as a non-profit

If you want to apply, submit your application here by 8pm PT on October 14. 

For more information on the process, read How to Successfully Apply to Y Combinator

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Y Combinator
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/729125 2014-08-18T23:40:27Z 2014-08-29T13:26:51Z UPower (YC S14) Is Building Nuclear Batteries

Despite the promise of bountiful, cheap, and clean energy nuclear energy didn’t overtake fossil fuels like everyone expected them to in the middle of the 20th century. Among other things, fear of radiation leaks and waste products that have to be buried for hundreds of years turned the United States away from adopting it for more than a fraction of our energy usage.

Y Combinator batch company UPower Technologies is hoping to change that by offering reactors that cut out those factors at a scale where regulatory issues and billion-dollar construction costs aren’t a problem.

UPower founder and CEO Jacob DeWitte describes the company’s first reactor design as a plug-and-play nuclear thermal battery. The idea is that customers will order a reactor that will be shipped in a container with everything needed on the reaction side and then connected to a power conversion method that makes the most sense for the particular application. Some projects might hook it up to a steam turbine, while others might use it in concert with something much closer to a jet engine.

Read the full story on TechCrunch
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Y Combinator
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/729088 2014-08-18T23:30:02Z 2014-09-04T21:56:19Z Women.com (YC S14) Is A Place Where Women Can Engage In Real Talk Online

From middle school girls’ sleepovers to more codified groups like the “Ladies’ Four O’Clock Club,” women have known for ages that there’s something special about the conversational dynamic that happens when a group of females get together. Above all, when women are in the company of other women that they trust, they often can be completely honest and comfortable in a way that they may not be in more mixed company.

A website called Women.com aims to be the go-to place where women can speak honestly with each other online, deliberately away from the male gender — a sort of Ladies Four O’Clock Club for the online world. The bootstrapped startup, which is co-founded by CEO Susan Johnson and CTO Neal Kemp, is launching this week out of the current class of Y Combinator.

Read the full story on TechCrunch
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Y Combinator
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/729047 2014-08-18T23:00:06Z 2014-08-18T23:00:06Z Zenamins (YC S14) Mails You Personalized Vitamins

40 million Americans take three or more vitamins a day, yet both the pill bottles and the way we buy them haven’t changed in decades. Well they’re about to, thanks to new Y Combinator startup Zen Health and its customized vitamin pack delivery service Zenamins. Punch in what you already take and answer a few questions and Zenamins will send you a personalized pill pack. Staying fit is tough, but Zen Health wants to make the medicine go down easy.

Read the full story on TechCrunch

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Y Combinator
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/729084 2014-08-18T22:30:03Z 2014-08-18T22:30:04Z Doblet (YC S14) Plans To Be Everywhere Your Phone Charger Isn’t

We’ve all been there. You’ve been out all day and suddenly that low battery alert pops up on your phone.

If you’re lucky, the bar you’re at might have the right charger for your phone behind the counter. If you’re not, you’re walking or taking the bus instead of calling a car service.

But with Y Combinator-backed Doblet, you might be able to get a charge even when you don’t have an outlet. The startup is putting portable batteries that charge Android and iPhone 5 phones in bars, restaurants and coffee shops. Users have the option of paying either $3 for a single charge or $30 for an annual subscription to the service and unlimited charges.

Read the full story on TechCrunch

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Y Combinator
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/729041 2014-08-18T22:00:03Z 2014-09-05T02:37:28Z Vatler (YC S14) Wants To Be Your On-Demand Valet

If you drive to work in San Francisco, you probably know how difficult it can be to find an affordable place to park. Unless your office has its own parking, you’re likely paying to leave your car in a garage that’s not terribly close to where you work. And if you happen to work in SOMA, good luck paying less than $35 or $40 during Giants game days.

Vatler hopes to offer an alternative to having to deal with all that. It provides a way for you to order a valet through a mobile app, enabling you to drop your car off in front of your office and then request it whenever you’re ready to leave.

Read the full story on TechCrunch
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Y Combinator
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/729049 2014-08-18T21:30:05Z 2014-08-19T09:13:51Z Hauteday (YC S14), a Gamified Shopping Site, Launches Out of Y Combinator

Out in California, a new site called HauteDay is hoping to gamify shopping to garner enthusiastic followers from a wholly different audience, women above the age of 30 — the kind who shop at Nordstrom and look up to Kate Middleton as a style icon. After a quiet beta phase, the startup will launch Tuesday at the tech accelerator Y Combinator's demo day. 

Read the full story on Fashionista.com]]>
Y Combinator
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/729039 2014-08-18T21:00:04Z 2014-08-18T21:00:05Z uBiome (YC S14) Raises $4.5M From Angel Investors, Andreessen Horowitz To Crowdsource Microbiome Research

Microbiome is the ecosystem of bacteria that lives within us, which outnumber the number of human cells 10-to-1. Microbes in the microbiome perform functions such as digesting food and synthesizing vitamins and have also been linked to human mood and behavior.

Y Combinator-backed biotech startup uBiome wants to generate data and research from results of learning about the microbes in our bodies. The company, which raised $351,193 of its $100,000 Indiegogo campaign last year, offers three different swab site kits, with which people collect a sample, insert it in a tube and ship it back.

uBiome raised $1.5 million from angel investors and $3 million from Andreessen Horowitz.

Read the full story on TechCrunch
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Y Combinator
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/729037 2014-08-18T20:04:13Z 2014-08-18T20:04:14Z Craft Coffee’s (YC S14) Coffee DNA Project Is Designed To Find You The Perfect Cup Of Joe

It’s not easy finding the perfect cup of coffee. There are literally thousands of independent coffee roasters around the United States, and it’s nearly impossible to find one that you’ll love. Even if you do, not many are set up to take online orders. Y Combinator-backed startup Craft Coffee has come up with a way to connect its customers with roasters and beans that they’ll love.

Craft Coffee has been around since 2011, offering up a coffee subscription service designed to help users discover new roasts from around the country. It partners with dozens of different independent roasters to source beans and deliver them to customers that would probably never have heard of them.

The subscription commerce model for coffee by itself isn’t exactly novel. But what is interesting about what Craft Coffee is that it’s used data from all its previous sales, as well as what it knows about different roasters, to create a new discovery model based on what it calls the Coffee DNA project.

Read the full story on TechCrunch
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Y Combinator
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/727931 2014-08-15T20:00:05Z 2014-08-15T20:00:05Z Neptune.io (YC S14) Wants To Help Network Admins Sleep By Fixing Common Issues Automatically

Nearly every network administrator has been on night duty when their pager buzzes or they get a smartphone alert of a network issue, one they’ve fixed a hundred times before, yet still forcing them to get out of bed to deal with it. YC backed startup, Neptune.io wants to change that by providing automated fixes for common networking problems, allowing those on-call admins to sleep just a bit better and only wake up for more serious issues.

Co-founder Kiran Gollu reports he used to work at Amazon Web Services, and he knows a thing or two about being woken several times a night because he’s had to deal with this very issue. “If the disk is full or a process breaks, you have to get out of bed and take a half hour or 45 minutes to fix it,” Gollu explained. “I worked at Amazon for five years. I was waking up and fixing these problems, and it was frustrating to do these things.”

Read the full story on TechCrunch
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Y Combinator
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/727930 2014-08-15T18:43:22Z 2014-08-15T18:43:22Z Zen99 (YC S14) Makes Life Easier For Freelancers With Finance And Insurance Tools

Freelancers and contractors are a rapidly growing part of the workforce. Without benefits, however, many struggle with issues like figuring out how much of their earnings to withhold for taxes and finding insurance providers.

A new startup called Zen99 wants to help contractors with a free service. Backed by Y Combinator, Zen99 lets users sign up for health insurance, track earnings and expenses, and figure out how much to save for taxes on a single dashboard. It also offers advice through online guides at Zen99 University.

Read the full story on TechCrunch
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Y Combinator
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/727853 2014-08-15T16:10:05Z 2014-08-15T16:10:05Z One Codex (YC S14) Wants To Be The Google For Genomic Data

As hospitals and public health organizations switch to using genomic data for testing, searching through genomic data can still take some time. Y Combinator-backed startup, One Codex, wants to help researchers, clinicians and public health officials, who have sequenced more than 100,000 genomes and created petabytes of data, to search this data.

Founded by Nick Greenfield, a former data scientist, and Nik Krumm, who has a PhD in Genome Sciences from the University of Washington, One Codex is a service platform for genomics driven by the genomic sequencing revolution.

Apart from using search technology, the platform also acts as an indexed, curated reference. One Codex, which is currently in open beta, can search its growing database of 30,000 bacteria, viruses and fungi in real time and identify data sets in minutes (millions of DNA base pairs per second).

Read the full story in TechCrunch
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Y Combinator
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/727619 2014-08-14T23:30:02Z 2014-08-15T13:02:24Z Naytev (YC S14) Enhances Social Media Shares To Drive Website Traffic

Digital publishers are increasingly reliant on content shared with social networks like Facebook and Twitter to drive readers to their sites. Naytev hopes to optimize the way content is shared by A/B testing headlines and images that make their way to those networks.

The Y Combinator startup helps digital publishers increase their traffic and engagement by improving the content that readers share on their social networks.

Read the full story on TechCrunch
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Y Combinator
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/727524 2014-08-14T22:30:04Z 2014-08-14T22:30:05Z Bumped From Your Hotel? WalkSource (YC S14) Aims To Find You A Free Room Fast

You’re probably familiar with getting bumped from a flight. But have you ever been “walked” from a hotel?

Like airlines, hotels book more reservations than they can accommodate to ensure they are always operating at maximum capacity. But sometimes they overbook and have to “walk” their customers — transfer them to another hotel.

When Brett Leonard was working at a hotel in San Francisco, he often spent hours trying to find other hotels to walk customers to. He said they would become disgruntled and angry when it would take him hours to find them alternative hotels, sometimes as far away as Napa and Walnut Creek.

“This happens all the time,” Leonard’s partner Vladimir Blumen said. “When you run a really large hotel, it’s part of running this business.”

That’s why Leonard and Blumen joined Max Izmaylov and Jakub Vysoky to create WalkSource.

Read the full story on TechCrunch
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Y Combinator
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/727514 2014-08-14T21:30:04Z 2014-08-14T21:30:05Z Onename.io (YC S14) Aims To Streamline Bitcoin Transactions

If you wanted to send me bitcoin right now you could either type in ‘1JPrpxRagtzuzY4KWCNV2hBhybqyaTrVwA’ or just look for “johnbiggs” on Onename. That’s what two Princeton grads are hoping you’ll do, anyway.

Onename.io was founded by Muneeb Ali and Ryan Shea, two engineers who thought they could fix bitcoin transactions. The goal is simple: to offer a single page that allows you to send and receive money from other bitcoin users. Instead of QR codes and long wallet addresses, the pair want to offer a verified “name” page where users can click a single button and a name that you can type into a wallet application instead of a string of gibberish.

Read the full story on TechCrunch

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Y Combinator
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/727503 2014-08-14T20:40:27Z 2014-08-14T21:44:21Z Backpack (YC S14) Connects You With Travelers So You Can Purchase Items In Other Countries

Imagine if a certain type of medication you needed wasn’t available in your country and was expensive to ship or acquire. Many people rely on friends or relatives traveling to these countries to bring back items that cannot be purchased in their country, whether it’s jamon or an iPhone. Backpack connects users with travelers who can bring desired products back at discounted prices.

Backpack, a Y Combinator-backed startup, is a peer-to-peer marketplace that connects shoppers and travelers to empower consumers to buy overseas products at a discount. Shoppers get access to foreign products by paying travelers coming to their country a fee to purchase and deliver the items.

Read the full story on TechCrunch
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Y Combinator
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/727442 2014-08-14T18:39:42Z 2014-08-14T18:51:49Z ShipBob (YC S14) Helps Small Business Owners Avoid Post Office Purgatory

Unless you are a philatelist or have a strong tolerance for boredom, standing in post office lines is a pain. This is especially true if you have to do it over and over and over again for your job. ShipBob, a startup backed by Y Combinator, wants to help small business owners and online sellers with a service that not only takes items to the post office, but also handles packaging and tracking.

Before starting ShipBob, which is currently available in Chicago and plans to launch in San Francisco next, founders Dhruv Saxena and Divey Gulati ran a small e-commerce company called SnailMailPics, which meant they spent a lot of time preparing packages and waiting in the post office.

Read the full story on TechCrunch
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Y Combinator
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/727410 2014-08-14T17:20:10Z 2014-08-14T17:20:11Z Y Combinator And Mithril Invest In Helion (YC S14), A Nuclear Fusion Startup

Building a nuclear fusion reactor that can generate more energy than is put in to make it work is one of the biggest challenges facing engineers today. Like quantum computing, decades of research have mostly resulted in proofs of concept, not hardware that can be rolled out commercially.

So it came as a surprise to hear that Y Combinator and Mithril Capital Management are investing $1.5 million in Helion Energy, a Redmond, Washingon-based startup that says it has a plan to build a fusion reactor that breaks even on energy input and output, a challenge whose solution has been considered decades away for, well, decades. Helion CEO David Kirtley says that his company can do it in three.

Read the full story on TechCrunch
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tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/726944 2014-08-13T21:00:10Z 2014-08-17T17:46:22Z VizeraLabs (YC S14) Projects New Materials Onto Any Surface

Let’s say you’re at a furniture store and see a couch you like. It has the number of seats you need for your living room and the cushions are comfortable. But the model in the store is cotton, and that just won’t do — you wanted leather. How are you supposed to know if you like how it looks in person?

At stores with Y Combinator-backed VizeraLabs’s projector installed, you can see what every fabric looks like on a display model instantly. The company wants to replace the books full of different fabrics you can look through at furniture retailers with a projector paired with Microsoft’s Kinect hardware and pretty much any device that can connect to its growing database of materials and patterns in the cloud.

Read the full story on TechCrunch]]>
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tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/726909 2014-08-13T20:00:01Z 2014-08-15T01:02:40Z Shout (YC S14) Is A Real-Time Classifieds App That Lets You Exchange Anything

Craigslist has come to be known as a modern take on the classifieds section of a newspaper, but Zachariah Reitano and Henri Stern want to go further and provide a real-time exchange service. That’s where Shout comes in.

Shout is a real-time classifieds that lets individuals exchange anything with others on the service. The iOS app lets users offer up something for sale, such as a ticket or a reservation, or make a request, such as a delivery. “Shouts” are linked to a location, a price and a short description and can either be free or cost a specific amount.

Read the full story on TechCrunch

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tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/726906 2014-08-13T19:00:03Z 2014-08-13T20:45:25Z Local Lift (YC S14) Is A Kickstarter For Local Businesses

Kickstarter, Indiegogo and other crowdfunding platforms have been a big hit with product makers and creative types, but a new company called Local Lift wants to now bring the power of crowdfunding to those in the local, small business community, too.

With the Local Lift platform, business owners are able to raise funds directly from their customer base and the community at large by running 30-day campaigns for small amounts of funding, usually averaging around $7,000-$8,000, based on early trials.

The idea for the startup comes from a team with financial and business backgrounds, including former Harvard Business School grads, Broderick McClinton, who previously worked at BlackRock and spent time in New Orleans working on economic development issues; and Eric Sonnier, previously of Deloitte and mobile ad startup MdotM. Meanwhile, CTO Matt Christen’s background involves development work on high-frequency trading platforms.

Read the full story on TechCrunch
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Y Combinator
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/726899 2014-08-13T18:17:54Z 2014-09-15T21:06:36Z Startup School 2014 applications are open Applications for Startup School 2014 are now open. Apply here

The deadline to apply is September 12.

Startup School Silicon Valley
October 11, 2014
Cupertino, CA

Startup School is Y Combinator's free to attend, one day conference where you'll hear stories and practical advice from founders and investors. They'll tell you how they got started, what went wrong, what surprised them, and what happened as their companies grew. 

We hope to see you there! 

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Y Combinator