tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:/posts Y Combinator Posthaven 2015-08-29T09:04:00Z Y Combinator tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/898819 2015-08-28T20:30:03Z 2015-08-29T09:04:00Z Startup School Radio: Bannerman CEO Johnny Chin On Getting Into The Minds Of Your Users

In Episode 7 of YC's Startup School Radio, our host Aaron Harris first sat down with Kevin Hale, the YC partner and co-founder of Wufoo (W06), the online form building platform that was acquired by SurveyMonkey in 2011. In the second half, he talked to Johnny Chin, the co-founder and CEO of Bannerman, the company that provides on-demand security staff and bouncers.

You can listen to the full hour-long episode on SoundCloud here or on iTunes here, and read the full transcript on Genius here.

One piece of startup advice we often give at Y Combinator is to build something that people want and that solves a problem -- ideally, one that you personally have. One interesting part of Chin's interview is when he talked about building Bannerman, even though he personally did not have experience with hiring security services. So get into the minds of his potential users, Chin tried to meet in person with as many of them as he could, knocking on the doors of bars and restaurants and talking to the owners about their needs:

Aaron: So on the one hand, it sounds like you followed this core precept, which is so important, of talking to your users and finding out what they need. On the other hand, you weren't really building something for yourself anymore. Was that hard to reconcile or hard to get around? Or did it just make so much sense that, okay, of course that's what we go and do?

Johnny: That's a great question. I tried to, I guess I would consider myself a "method actor." I really wanted to get into the mind of the user. I used to go, it's a funny story actually, friends of mine who knew me before Bannerman called me Jonathan. And then I started going by Johnny. And I took on this sort of pseudo name of Johnny: He's the general manager of the bar, he's too busy to sit down at his computer, he's always on the go, he doesn't have time to book security. And so I tried to really get into this mindset, of Johnny, Johnny, Johnny. What does Johnny need, where does Johnny want that call to action button? And so that, I guess that kinda...

Aaron: Did you start dressing differently, talking differently, you know, all that?

Johnny: Oh no, I very much dress like a techie. I'm in a hoodie every single day of the week.

Aaron: So you kind of inhabit this mindset of someone who will need to hire a security professional, and you start talking to them all the time. What were these features that you started adding, that you realized that people really needed?

Johnny: Surprisingly, it's actually taking away features. That is really the most important thing. To take away features, and when a user doesn't complain, then you're on to something. Earlier on, with my four failed companies, it was always about adding more, adding more, adding more. 'Let's add this social hook' or 'Let's add this button here.' But it turns out with Bannerman, we did the exact opposite. And that proved to be quite interesting.

Colleen Taylor
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/898747 2015-08-28T16:15:36Z 2015-08-28T16:15:37Z Applications For YC W16 Are Now Open We are now accepting applications for the Winter 2016 batch, which will take place from January through March 2016 in Mountain View, CA. You can apply as a startup or as a non-profit.

To apply, submit your application here by 8pm PT on October 13, 2015.

For more information on the process, read:

Colleen Taylor
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/898746 2015-08-28T16:12:45Z 2015-08-28T16:12:45Z YC Digest - August 21-August 27 Top Stories from the YC World - August 21-August 27, 2015

YC News
Applications for YC W16 are now open

YC stats

A new role for Qasar

YC Startup School Radio: Thumbtack's Marco Zappacosta On The Always-Changing Job Of A CEO

YC Startup School Radio: Shoptiques CEO Olga Vidisheva On The Challenge Of Hiring Great People

Sam Altman and Jessica Livingston explain Y Combinator’s success

Financial Misstatements by Sam Altman

CodeNow (YC W14) just launched a learn to code video series by students for students

Dodge Kickstarter Fees And Take Crowdfunding On Your Site With Celery Launch (YC S12)

Tenjin (YC S14) helps developers identify ad campaigns with the best ROI

YC Alum
BlackRock, The World's Largest Asset Management Firm, Acquires FutureAdvisor (YC S10)

Lugg, An App For On-Demand, Short-Distance Moves, Raises $3.8 Million

Y Combinator
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/898400 2015-08-27T17:53:32Z 2015-08-27T17:53:32Z Lugg (YC S15) Is Like Uber But For Moving Stuff, Not People, Around Town
Lugg is a company that launched this month out of our Summer 2015 class that wants to take away that pain, with an on-demand platform for easily moving larger items, such as furniture, around town. As Drew Prindle at Digital Trends wrote, it's like Uber, but for moving stuff.

This week, Sarah Perez wrote about Lugg and its new $3.8 million seed funding round in an article published in TechCrunch:

"First launched in the San Francisco Bay Area in early 2015, the idea for Lugg came from Jordan Brown, who previously worked at a healthcare startup, but found himself facing the problem Lugg aims to solve first-hand. Many of us, both with and without cars, can also relate. We often have to make special, and sometimes expensive, delivery arrangements for our bigger purchases that don’t fit in standard-sized vehicles, or we have to hunt down someone who has a truck and convince them to help us.

Other times, we simply miss out on deals – such as in the case of larger, secondhand items like those you find at garage sales or in classified ads, for example.

Lugg offers an alternative by connecting you with local movers who will meet you at a pick-up site in around 20 minutes with their own vehicle equipped to handle your item. To use Lugg, consumers simply snap a photo of the item with the Lugg mobile app, enter their location and the destination. Similar to Uber, payment is handled in the app itself."

Read the full story here.
Colleen Taylor
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/898107 2015-08-27T01:18:42Z 2015-08-28T16:00:40Z YC Startup School Radio: Thumbtack's Marco Zappacosta On The Always-Changing Job Of A CEO

In the sixth episode of YC's Startup School Radio, YC partner Aaron Harris sat down with Marco Zappacosta, the co-founder and CEO of services marketplace Thumbtack, and Sanjay Dastoor, the co-founder and CEO of electric skateboard company and YC W12 alum Boosted Boards.

You can listen to the full hour-long episode on SoundCloud here or on iTunes here, and read the full transcript on Genius here.

In one salient bit of Zappacosta's interview, he talked about how his job as CEO has continually changed as Thumbtack has grown since it was founded in 2009 to have hundreds of staff around the world:

Aaron: Has your job shifted from being focused on the supply and demand to being CEO of how many people you have working for you now?

Marco: So in the U.S., we have 300 people and...

Aaron: That's wild.

Marco: And so, I think my job has always been to focus on whatever is existential, whatever risk or problem is existential to us. And in the early days, it was absolutely building the network. If we couldn't do that, nothing else mattered. Then, there came a day where we had to really refine the product experience to make sure that we were the best way to hire, and that took us a while to us to figure out and that was my focus. And then, we had to think about and figure out how to make money. And so I was very focused, and worked with the team to sort of put the business model in place that we now have.

And today, the biggest challenge is scaling the organization. We have a ton of tactical and strategic sort of issues to solve, but the way that we're going to solve those is hiring more great people and organizing and empowering them, and so that takes the bulk of my time today.

Aaron: I don't think I've ever heard it framed quite that way: The CEO's job is to focus on the existential threat right to the business. I think the way most people have sort of framed the CEO's job is, to hire, set vision, and make sure there's money in the bank, or something like that. And that's kind of true, but it's an approximation. And really, what that's saying is, it's [to focus on] the thing that could kill your company at each stage.

Marco: I think that's what deserves your attention. That's what scares me in the morning when I wake up. So it's naturally what I'm sort of thinking about, and trying to help with and work on.
Colleen Taylor
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/897971 2015-08-26T18:09:52Z 2015-08-27T05:38:59Z BlackRock, The World's Largest Asset Management Firm, Acquires FutureAdvisor (YC S10)

FutureAdvisor, the automated wealth management and financial advisory platform, announced today that it has been acquired by global asset management firm BlackRock. FutureAdvisor, which was co-founded by CEO Bo Lu and CTO Jon Xu, launched out of YC's Summer 2010 class. FutureAdvisor currently has more than $600 million in assets under management.

In an interview with the Financial Times about the acquisition, Frank Porcelli, the head of BlackRock's US wealth advisory unit, said that technology like FutureAdvisor's could represent the future of asset management:

"I have two 20-something boys and I don’t know, in an age of texts and chat, that they are going to sit down with a financial adviser. They might prefer digital advice.
Wherever the advice market goes, BlackRock wants to be there, and one thing we know is that five and 10 years from now, there will be more people using digital advice platforms than do today."

In a company blog post announcing the deal, Lu wrote:

"The entire FutureAdvisor team and I are extraordinarily excited to bring BlackRock’s world-class institutional investment and risk management capabilities to bear in helping you reach your unique financial goals. BlackRock has dedicated enormous effort over the years to improving financial outcomes through its leading active and passive investment offerings as well as innovative retirement planning tools including their CoRI Retirement Indexes. We look forward to integrating and delivering this expertise both directly to clients such as you as we’ve done to date, as well as in partnership with financial institutions in the months to come.

There will be no change in the mission of the FutureAdvisor you trust today. Our brand, our culture, and our people will work to serve you and improve your digital experience every day just as we all did before the acquisition. We will keep our independent offices in the heart of San Francisco. The knowledgeable and caring staff you’ve interacted with to date will remain, and become more numerous with time."

Congratulations to Bo and Jon, and the whole FutureAdvisor team!

Colleen Taylor
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/897945 2015-08-26T16:53:13Z 2015-08-28T16:58:27Z YC stats We get asked (a lot) for statistics on the YC portfolio about valuation and fundraising.  Although these are very imperfect indicators of success, here they are.

All of these companies actually went through a YC batch and got their start with us (e.g. we do not include Quora).

Also, the YC application for the next batch opens tomorrow! :)

Total "valuation" of all YC companies: >$65 billion

Total money raised by all YC companies: >$7 billion

Number of YC companies worth more than $1 billion: 8 [1]

Number of YC companies worth more than $100 million: >40

Number of companies funded by YC so far: ~940

Number of companies funded by YC that have dissolved: 177

Number of companies in the last batch: 107

Number of hardware + biotech + healthcare companies in the last batch: 32

Number of companies we offered to fund yesterday for the first YC Fellowship: 33

[1] This includes Twitch, which Amazon bought for ~970MM plus an earn-out.

Sam Altman
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/897939 2015-08-26T16:38:32Z 2015-08-27T01:48:02Z A new role for Qasar I'm delighted to announce that Qasar Younis will be YC's first COO. Qasar will help scale our organization and operations as we tackle bigger and more ambitious projects--we've grown quite a bit in the past few years and now have a lot to do on the operations side. Along with his new responsibilities as COO, Qasar will primarily continue to invest in and advise companies.

Qasar first joined YC as a founder and CEO of TalkBin, which was part of the Winter 2011 class. TalkBin was acquired by Google where he went on to lead business-facing products inside of Google Maps including google.com/business. He joined YC as a part-time partner in 2013 and full time in the 2014. Qasar has been in operational roles most of his career and we are all excited to see what he can do at YC.

Fortune wrote about this here.
Sam Altman
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/897726 2015-08-26T01:24:22Z 2015-08-26T18:48:04Z Circle Medical (YC S15) Sends A Primary Care Doctor To You At Home Or At Work, On Demand

Circle Medical is a company that's launched out of our Summer 2015 class that wants to make it easy for patients to get the routine primary care they need in a way that fits in with their lives. A patient simply downloads the Circle Medical app, scans their insurance card, picks a doctor and books an appointment the doctor to visit them at home or at work.

TechCrunch's Fitz Tepper wrote about Circle Medical in a story published earlier this month:

"While other doctor-on-demand startups have existed for a while, Circle Medical’s goal is to provide a service that can used as a regular part of your life, not just in emergencies or last-minute situations.

To achieve this, the startup focuses on two pain points that traditionally keep patients tied town to a physical practice.

First, Circle Medical is considered in-network for over 97 percent of patients in California who have private insurance. This means a visit normally costs no more than your regular doctor, and often less.

The second unique aspect of Circle Medical is that all of its doctors are full time. This means you can pick a doctor and have them become your new primary care physician."

Read the full story here, and see the Hacker News discussion here.
Colleen Taylor
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/897707 2015-08-25T23:26:47Z 2015-08-28T05:06:45Z jEugene (YC S15) Automatically Combs Through Legal Documents And Finds Mistakes When it comes to legal documents, you can never be too careful -- any small mistake or oversight could result in hefty costs. And at the moment, numerous legal documents involving hundreds of billions of dollars are created each year and subjected to only human review.

jEugene is a startup that launched this month out of our Summer 2015 class that automatically scans legal documents and detects difficult-to-spot errors. Notably, jEugene detects definitional errors, which are among the most common yet hardest to catch drafting mistakes lawyers make.

TechCrunch's Mike Butcher wrote about jEugene in a story published earlier this month:

"For years, software engineers have enjoyed the assistance of quality assurance software when writing computer code. Lawyers, however, are generally stuck with Microsoft Word. Yikes! So automated, intelligent reviewing of legal contracts by software should be the future. That’s where jEugene, a new YC startup as part of this summer’s batch, comes in.

This startup helps the drafters of legal documents catch mistakes that could be fatal to such documents’ validity or enforceability.

The original idea of Harry Zhou, who, as a first-year lawyer, was tasked with proofing a 250-page contract and wanted more than his supervising lawyer’s assurance that 'you did great,' jEugene scans through a legal document and highlights in text potential drafting mistakes in the document."

Read the full story on TechCrunch here.

Colleen Taylor
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/897658 2015-08-25T21:02:23Z 2015-08-25T21:10:06Z YC Startup School Radio: Shoptiques CEO Olga Vidisheva On The Challenge Of Hiring Great People

In Episode 5 of YC Startup School Radio, our host Aaron Harris sat down with David Tisch and Alan Tisch, the co-founders of mobile shopping app Spring, and Olga Vidisheva, the founder and CEO of e-commerce platform and YC W12 alum Shoptiques.

You can listen to the full hour-long episode on SoundCloud here or on iTunes here, and read the full transcript on Genius here.

In one interesting portion of Vidisheva's interview, she talked about how unexpectedly challenging she found it as a startup founder to find top-tier talent to hire:

Aaron: What's the thing that surprised you most in building Shoptiques? Is there anything you didn't expect when you started?

Olga: So, I [previously] worked at Goldman Sachs. I loved Goldman, and I think that the beauty of Goldman is that the people are so smart. I didn't realize how hard it is to actually hire smart people. I thought that everybody would be very driven and motivated off the get-go. I think it's because I was coming from Wellesley, going to Harvard, going to Goldman, and going to Y Combinator, where everybody was like, "Let's work hard." And then going around and being around people, you're like, "Oh my God. I guess not everybody's that driven and motivated." So I didn't realize how important and how hard hiring is. But now I learned my lesson, so.

Aaron: So now you only hire the best and the people who are gonna perform.

Olga: I think I always hired the best, but I didn't realize how hard it is to find the best, you know?

Aaron: Right. Yeah, especially as a small company. I mean, hiring as a small company, you're hiring against Google when it comes to engineering and you're hiring against, I don't know, like the largest companies in the world because they're the ones with budgets.

Olga: But to be honest, I also don't want people that maybe worked at Google, because they might just want to build this little thing. I want people who are thinking about the customer, who are thinking about the product all the time.

So finding the people that have the same mentality as you, because those are the people that are making millions of decisions about your product every single second, so you want to find people that think like you and finding that person is so hard.

Colleen Taylor
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/897559 2015-08-25T15:56:51Z 2015-08-26T16:28:23Z Nebia (YC S15) Promises The Best Shower You'll Ever Take, While Using 70% Less Water

A good shower can be refreshing and satisfying in a very singular way. Nebia, a startup that launched this month out of our Summer 2015 class, has created a device that promises to deliver that and more: dramatically improving on the traditional shower experience, while also cutting down significantly on water use.

Nebia has created a showerhead that atomizes water into millions of tiny droplets, covering 10 times more surface area than a regular shower. Nebia's patent-pending technology, called H2MICRO, means that more water comes into contact with your body, while at the same time, the device uses far less water than a typical showerhead -- providing a water savings of about 70 percent.

Earlier this month Nebia launched a Kickstarter campaign pre-selling its devices for its first shipment next spring, and has already fielded incredible demand. After only 12 days, more than 7,000 backers have pledged more than $2.5 million to Nebia, far exceeding the company's $100,000 goal.

Read more about Nebia in the New York Times, Wired, Time, Buzzfeed, VentureBeat, TechCrunch, and FastCoDesign.

Colleen Taylor
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/896299 2015-08-21T16:03:22Z 2015-08-21T16:03:22Z YC Digest - 8/14-8/20 Top Stories from the YC World - August 14-August 20, 2015

From Demo Day
Congratulations To The YC Summer 2015 Class

Illustrated Guide to Y Combinator's Demo Day S2015

Nine Years of Demo Days: How YC has changed by Jared Friedman (Scribd, YC S06)

50 Startups That Launched At Y Combinator Summer 2015 Demo Day 1

52 Startups That Launched At Y Combinator Summer 2015 Demo Day 2

YC tackles HR: Prominent accelerator's startups focus on hiring, diversity and tech pipeline

Y Combinator Gets Hardcore About Hardware

Silicon Valley's top startup factory has a clever way to make sure investors follow through on 'handshake' deals

The Post-YC Slump by Sam Altman

YC S15 Launches
appCanary Makes Sure Your Company Is Safe From Security Vulnerabilities

Circle Medical Brings A Full Service Medical Practice To You

Drip Capital Provides Small Businesses With Working Capital, Loans

Instawork Is The LinkedIn For Recruiting And Hiring At Small Businesses

jEugene Detects Errors In Legal Documents, Saving Time And Money

Ohm - A Smarter Car Battery

Tesorio wants to help suppliers, vendors & freelancers get paid faster

TetraScience Sends Data From Scientific Instruments Directly To The Web

The Ticket Fairy Helps Event Organizers Fill More Seats

Traversal Networks Wants To Be Your Company’s Cyber Security Department

Xendit Is Bringing Peer-To-Peer Mobile Money Transfers To Indonesia

YC Alum
Right Company, Wrong Name - how Campus Job (YC W15) came up with its new name WayUp

Congratulations to YC alum Jessica Mah (Indinero, YC S10) for being featured on the cover of Inc.

LawDingo (YC W13) Adds Accountants, Doctors And Therapists To Its Platform For Remote Consultations

How ZeroCater (YC W11)  reached $100M in sales with just $1.5M in funding

A Female Founder at Y Combinator: My Experience by Julia Kurnia of Zidisha (YC W14)

Y Combinator
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/895918 2015-08-20T20:59:42Z 2015-08-24T11:56:31Z Congratulations To The YC Summer 2015 Class

This week we held Demo Day for our Summer 2015 class at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California. It was the 21st Demo Day event in Y Combinator's history, with a total of 102 pitches spread across two days. Below is a list of the 99 companies that presented on the record, in the order in which they pitched onstage.

Congratulations to all of the S15 founders!

80,000 Hours
Breakout Room
Instant eSports
New Story Charity
Heroic Labs
Shred Video
The Ticket Fairy
Plate Joy]]>
Colleen Taylor
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/894862 2015-08-18T00:05:01Z 2015-08-18T00:05:01Z TetraScience (YC S15) Sends Data From Scientific Instruments Directly To The Web
TetraScience is a company in our current Summer 2015 class that's shifting that entire process to the cloud, by connecting scientific instruments directly to the web. TetraScience has developed a system that uses both hardware and software that allows researchers to remotely monitor and control their instruments, and automatically logs their data in the cloud.

TechCrunch's Mike Butcher wrote about TetraScience in an article published this past week:
"Here’s how it works. TetraScience Link, the hardware module, is like an Apple TV. A researcher can buy a Link, plug their scientific instrument in to it, and connect to the web via Wifi or Ethernet. Once online, a researcher can log in to their TetraScience account, enter their credentials, and activate their newly purchased Link. This process takes less than 5 minutes. On this dashboard, the researcher can monitor that instrument in real-time and control its behavior. Furthermore, the researcher can also set thresholds for alarms/alerts (e.g. hazardous overheating) and notifications (e.g. e-mail, SMS). Since the instrument is connected to the web, the data produced by the device is automatically stored in the cloud. Like with Facebook, they provide researchers with a timeline of experiments/events that occur with the experiments (e.g. the user and timestamp for starting/stopping an experiment).

They assured me they have several layers of security, so the results can’t be hacked into."

Read the full story on TechCrunch here.]]>
Colleen Taylor
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/894835 2015-08-17T23:17:28Z 2015-08-17T23:17:28Z The Ticket Fairy (YC S15) Helps Event Organizers Fill More Seats Organizers for events such as music festivals operate on a high risk business model, paying upfront costs of potentially millions of dollars that must be recovered from ticket sales. When too many tickets go unsold, these costs aren't recouped, resulting in a painful net loss for the event organizer.

The Ticket Fairy is a startup in our current Summer 2015 class that runs a complete event marketing platform that helps event organizers quickly and efficiently reach more attendees to fill up empty seats. Event organizers on average see an average 25 percent lift in ticket sales when using The Ticket Fairy.

TechCrunch's Josh Constine wrote about the Ticket Fairy in a story published today:

"If you convince all your friends to go to a concert, shouldn’t the promoter give you a discount? Now they can with The Ticket Fairy, a full-stack events marketing and analytics suite coming out of stealth from Y Combinator today.

The Ticket Fairy’s goal is to make sure all its clients’ events sell out. Promoters let The Ticket Fairy sell their tickets, run their analytics, and handle ad buying in exchange for a fee on each ticket sold.

The startup sells 100% of an event’s inventory when it can, but sometimes exclusivity contracts with ticketers like TicketMaster mean it can only sell the 20% that a promoter has the right to distribute on its own. Eventually, though, co-founders Ritesh and Jigar Patel say The Ticket Fairy hopes to earn promoters so much money that they ditch their contracts and sell everything through its platform."

Read the full story in TechCrunch here.

Colleen Taylor
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/894801 2015-08-17T21:40:40Z 2015-08-17T21:40:40Z Xendit (YC S15) Is Bringing Peer-To-Peer Mobile Money Transfers To Indonesia In Indonesia, 25 percent of the population currently has a smartphone, and smartphone penetration is growing by 20 percent year-over-year. But 80 percent of the population remains unbanked. 

Xendit is a startup launching out of our current class that's bringing trusted mobile financial services to a country where banks have yet to prove their relevance to the majority of the population. Built for both Android and iOS, Xendit's app allows users to send or request money with just four taps of the phone.

TechCrunch's Matthew Lynley wrote about Xendit in a story published today:

"The company is billing itself as a more private money-transfer service that’ll beat companies like Venmo to the market in Southeast Asia. Users can transfer money within private groups, as well as chat, but it’s not about making those transactions public, co-founder Moses Lo said. Since starting the beta a few months ago, the company has 13,000 people using the service.

Users load money onto Xendit and they can send and request money from friends in the service or through phone numbers. The company not only has to work with Indonesian banks, but also ATM networks, Lo said.

'In Southeast Asia, it’s the perfect storm,' Lo said. 'One is a huge population with technology, two is nascent financial services, and third is it’s one of the most viral regions. In Indonesia, there’s [greater than 100 percent] penetration for phones. These people don’t have a bank account, penetration credit card is 3 percent, but there’s a huge population with technology.'"

Read the full story on TechCrunch here.

Colleen Taylor
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/894791 2015-08-17T21:07:06Z 2015-08-17T21:11:09Z Instawork (YC S15) Is The LinkedIn For Recruiting And Hiring At Small Businesses Sites such as LinkedIn have captured a big part of the hiring and recruiting market for higher-end white collar jobs. But these platforms have largely missed the majority of Americans who work hourly or part-time positions. Often, small businesses find new candidates through word of mouth, or by hanging a help wanted sign in the window.

Instawork is a company launching out of our current class with an online platform that connects small businesses with qualified job candidates within 24 hours.

Business Insider's Celena Chong wrote about Instawork in a story published today:

"Why can [Instawork co-founders Sumir] Meghani and [Saureen] Shah tout such a rapid turnaround? Ultra-responsive tech is their answer. Everything is automated: matching up schedules, automatically verifying references, and parsing only the most important parts of a resume to send out to recruiters. 

If a family coffee shop owner wished to have more baristas on deck, all they would have to do is go online, fill in the bare basics of the job in a few lines and click 'find me candidates.' The process takes around one minute."

Read the full story on Business Insider here.
Colleen Taylor
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/894780 2015-08-17T20:33:17Z 2015-08-17T20:41:11Z Drip Capital (YC S15) Lends Small Businesses The Money They Need To Grow Historically, small business lending has been dominated by local community banks, who often have a long and tedious process for approving loans with less than favorable terms to the business owner.

Launching this week out of our Summer 2015 class, Drip Capital is building an online solution to offer timely and founder-friendly small business loans nationwide. 

Drip Capital evaluates its loans by looking at the orders that small businesses have yet to fulfill, and providing the money needed to fulfill them. As an example: When one upstart potato chip manufacturer got a big break by landing placement in Whole Foods, Drip provided the capital to help the manufacturer deliver on the order. 

TechCrunch's Kim-Mai Cutler wrote about Drip Capital in a story published this week:
"Drip Capital’s two founders Pushkar Mukewar and Neil Kothari, have experience in both the tech and financial worlds after managing debt portfolios at Capital One, Goldman Sachs and BlackRock. They met at Wharton.

Drip evaluates small businesses based on their live working orders from customers. They’re focused on the 5 million business-to-business focused companies in the United States, and are giving loans that they expect to be repaid in 1 to 4 months.

'Banks have an almost one-size-fits-all product,' said co-founder Neil Kothari. 'But there’s a pretty substantial difference in how banks cater to larger clients versus smaller clients.'"

Read the full story on TechCrunch here.
Colleen Taylor
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/894757 2015-08-17T19:41:16Z 2015-08-18T03:43:30Z Auro Robotics (YC S15) Makes Autonomous Shuttles For Getting Around On Campus Current shuttle prototype from Auro Robotics founded by Nalin Gupta Jit Ray Chowdhury and Srinivas Reddy

Self-driving cars have a lot of potential, but due to regulatory hurdles and public safety concerns, it's likely to be at least another decade or more before they become truly mainstream.

Auro Robotics is a company in our current batch that is looking to launch fully functioning autonomous vehicles much sooner, by building them specifically for contained areas and campus environments. By targeting private areas such as colleges and amusement parks, Auro Robotics avoids many of the issues that are currently keeping self-driving cars from being more widely adopted.

Auro Robotics is currently operating pilots at five college universities, and plans to launch into other verticals in the coming months.

TechCrunch's Lucas Matney wrote about Auro Robotics in an article published this week:

"'The unique advantage this strategy gives us is that we are able to mobilize the shuttles now instead of waiting for the next five or ten years for laws to get through,' Auro Robotics CEO Nalin Gupta said.

Gupta told me that the main challenge in designing an autonomous vehicle for this sort of area is building one that can smartly and safely navigate heavy pedestrian traffic, something he said their team has been finessing for some time.

The team actually creates a three-dimensional map of the environments that they’re deploying the shuttles in, so that the vehicles can be as responsive and aware of their surroundings as possible."

Read the full story on TechCrunch here, and participate in the Hacker News discussion here.

Colleen Taylor
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/894639 2015-08-17T17:27:37Z 2015-08-17T19:09:12Z appCanary (YC S15) Makes Sure Your Company Is Safe From Security Vulnerabilities

With each day come multiple new zero-days, or potential software security exploits, putting companies running even slightly out-of-date software perpetually at the risk of being hacked. But keeping on top of the latest security vulnerabilities is a full-time job that can take up valuable engineering resources. And many companies, especially startups, don't have those kinds of resources or headcount to spare.

appCanary is a company launching out of our current Summer 2015 class that can help with all that. Founded by former security consultants Phillip Mendonça-Vieira and Max Veytsman, appCanary has built a service to allow operations teams of all sizes to make intelligent decisions about how to secure their infrastructure and the threats that affect them, without having to constantly monitor the ever-expanding infosec landscape themselves.

To start using appCanary, a company simply has to install appCanary's agent on their servers, a process which takes just a few minutes. appCanary then assesses all of the company's software inventories, and keeps running tabs on all of the latest security vulnerabilities that could impact the company's software infrastructure. appCanary provides real-time notifications to let the company know whenever its infrastructure might be vulnerable.

appCanary's pricing starts at $29 per month for companies with up to five servers, and increases on a sliding scale based on the number of servers a company has to monitor. More than 40 companies are currently using appCanary in its pilot program, many of them growing tech companies and startups. "appCanary is for anyone who is writing lots of custom software available on the Internet," Veytsman says. 

Read more about appCanary here.

Colleen Taylor
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/894327 2015-08-16T19:50:28Z 2015-08-16T19:50:28Z L. (YC S15) Is A Condom Subscription Service To Make Safe Sex A Global Human Right Most of the major condom brands are marketed with a sense of aggressive masculinity: Take the Trojan Man, for example.

L. is a startup launching out of our Summer 2015 class that's making condoms with both men and women in mind. L. makes discreet, stylishly designed all-natural and vegan-friendly condoms that prioritize women's comfort. L. has a quickly growing e-commerce subscription service, and its products are also on sale in more than 1,000 brick and mortar stores including CVS, Target, and Whole Foods.

Also, L.'s business model comes with an important perk: For every condom purchased here in the United States, L. sends one to a developing country in need. L.'s larger aim is to make safe, healthy, female-friendly sex a global human right.

TechCrunch's Sarah Buhr wrote about L. this past week:

"L. founder Talia Frenkel was a busy photojournalist, documenting the latest floods, fires and other natural disasters for the United Nations and the Red Cross when she was sent to photograph women and girls dying of HIV/AIDS in Africa in 2008. This sexually transmitted disease is the No. 1 killer of women of reproductive age on a global scale, according to the World Health Organization.

That sobering statistic stirred something inside of Frenkel. 'I didn’t realize the No. 1 killer of women was completely preventable and I think that really inspired me to action,' she told TechCrunch.

Frenkel bootstrapped L. more than a year and a half ago with the goal to save these women from a disease they didn’t have to get with the proper use of contraceptives. She does this with a one-to-one purchase model. One L. condom is donated to a woman in Uganda for every condom ordered through the L. platform.

L. deploys the condoms through a network of more than 2,000 female entrepreneurs working on the ground in Uganda. The women sell the condoms at a low cost, thus creating a long-term and sustainable business that can empower these women and help educate others on the proper use of the condoms."

Read the full story on TechCrunch here.

Colleen Taylor
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/894325 2015-08-16T19:16:08Z 2015-08-16T19:16:08Z PlateJoy (YC S15) Delivers Fresh Food To Help You Meet Your Weight Loss And Health Goals Launching this week as part of our Summer 2015 class, PlateJoy is a delivery service focused on providing customized, local, healthy ingredients for meals tailored to each individual's weight loss and lifestyle goals. 

PlateJoy has been providing a meal planning and fresh food delivery service since 2013. While in YC over the past several months, the company has renewed its focus more specifically on providing foods and meal plans that fit each customer's lifestyle and fitness plans.

VentureBeat's Ken Yeung wrote about PlateJoy and its new features in a story this past week:

"Starting today, it’s all about a directional focus towards weight loss and health. Users can log in and fill out an online questionnaire to receive personalized deliveries. It’s going to ask what your goals are, if you have any specific diet you’re undertaking, is there a specific weight you’re targeting, and more. Then, you decide when you want the ingredients delivered.

Are you looking for food that’s low in carbohydrates? Perhaps gluten free? Vegan? Kid friendly? All of these options and more are catered to by PlateJoy.

The packages delivered by the company will have fresh ingredients, delivered locally from Whole Foods, and with just enough packaging to ensure that there’s no waste.

PlateJoy also uses a waste-reduction algorithm that will analyze ingredients across all the order’s recipes in order to prevent ordering more than needed for all your meals. There’s also a digital pantry that will let you know what you have in the kitchen, how much, and whether or not it’s still good."

Read the full story on VentureBeat here, and read PlateJoy co-founder Christina Bognet's Medium post about her 50 pound weight loss that inspired her to start the company here.

Colleen Taylor
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/894051 2015-08-15T20:31:35Z 2015-08-20T07:35:33Z Branch8 (YC S15) Helps Merchants Sell Across Asia's Many E-Commerce Platforms
In the United States, the e-commerce market is largely dominated by a few key players. But in Asia, there are multiple online marketplaces and no clear dominant leader. Merchants looking to optimize their sales in Asia need to list their products across multiple sites, which is a lot of work and maintenance.

Branch8 is a company that takes care of all that work. Launching this week out of our Summer 2015 class, Branch8 has built a platform that helps sellers easily list and manage products on the wide variety of e-commerce marketplaces in Asia.

TechCrunch's Jon Russell wrote about Branch8 in an article published this week:
"Branch8, which is based in Hong Kong, is part of Y Combinator's current Summer 2015 class. It opened the doors to its service on an invite-only basis back in May, but today it is now publicly available to all merchants. Chan told TechCrunch that, right now, Branch8 has nearly 1,000 sellers (and over 600,000 products) who are processing over $1 million in sales per month on its platform.

Beyond consolidating the basic processes beyond selling via multiple services — Amazon, Lazada, Rakuten, eBay and Jumia are among the initial platforms supported — Branch8 also provides analytics to track traffic, it automates price checking and product migration, and connects to third-party logistics services. Those value-adds, [Branch8 CEO Elton] Chan said, are where it believes it can really stand out for merchants.

'Our differentiator is analytics,' he told TechCrunch in an interview. 'Few tools track traffic via SKU. While our price tracking tool and the convenience of migrating to new platforms, this process is very manual, are specifically designed to meet merchants’ pain-points.'"

Read the full story on TechCrunch here, and additional coverage on Tech In Asia here.

Colleen Taylor
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/893792 2015-08-14T22:52:15Z 2015-08-14T22:52:16Z SourceDNA (YC S15) Helps Developers Make Their Apps Faster, Better, And More Secure There are a number of tools out there aimed at helping developers improve their apps. But for the most part, they're focused on detecting crashes or performance problems after they occur.

SourceDNA is a startup in our current class that has created a private app review service called Searchlight that helps developers improve their code and address security flaws before they cause problems for users. Searchlight also provides proactive monitoring, continually scanning iOS and Android apps and generating intelligence from an index of millions of binaries to keep developers updated on new potential issues.

VentureBeat's Ken Yeung wrote about SourceDNA and Searchlight this week:

"Available in both free and paid versions, Searchlight gives developers a better look into what could potentially go wrong with their app.

SourceDNA chief executive Nate Lawson cited an example of Searchlight’s potential: when Google replaced OpenSSL in Android M, there was a private API in use that wasn’t intended for use by apps. Apps using this API ran the risk of eventually crashing as a result. Lawson provided VentureBeat with a partial list of apps that are affected: UC Browser (over 100 million installs), Waze (at least 50 million installs), HBO Go (more than 5 million installs), and Modern War (more than 10 million installs). More than 3,000 people signed up for Searchlight after the company published details about this issue.

The point here is that Searchlight allows developers to proactively improve their apps without worrying about problems that may crop up in the future, freeing them to concentrate on providing the best user experience possible."

You can read the entire VentureBeat article here, and see the related discussion on Hacker News here.

Colleen Taylor
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/893771 2015-08-14T21:48:58Z 2015-08-14T22:24:13Z Xfers (YC S15) Wants To Be The Go-To Payment Platform For South East Asia Collecting payments and making online purchases in South East Asia can be challenging, as credit card penetration in the region is relatively low, with many consumers preferring to use cash.

Xfers is a startup launching out of our current Summer 2015 that aims to solve these problems, providing businesses in South East Asia with the ability to collect both credit card and internet banking payments, and letting customers make purchases online using only their phone number.

At the moment, Xfers is launched in Singapore, and plans to expand to other locations throughout South East Asia in the coming months.

Tech In Asia's Michael Tegos wrote about Xfers in a recent post:

"Xfers founders Victor Liew, Wenbin Tay, and Tianwei Liu wanted to tackle this area after experiencing first hand the difficulties of such transactions. The two NUS (National University of Singapore) graduates were working in Silicon Valley, at Quora and Amazon. Part of a large community of Singaporean engineers working in California’s Bay Area, they were frequently asked by friends back home for items that were easier to find in the US.

But when payment time came along, there would be all sorts of problems. They’d have to chase people for payment, relay their bank account information, manually log in to their account every time to see if the payment came through, and manually keep track of who sent them what.

Like many a startup, Xfers was born after someone said, 'There has to be a better way!'"

Read the full story on Tech In Asia here.

Colleen Taylor
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/893735 2015-08-14T18:58:25Z 2015-08-18T04:29:09Z Markhor (YC S15) Makes Handcrafted Luxury Shoes For Half The Price Of Top Brands

More than $15 billion worth of luxury shoes are purchased worldwide each year. But often, the bulk of that money goes to the brand middlemen, while the actual craftsmen live on less than $5 a day.

Markhor is a company in our current Summer 2015 class that's disrupting that system. Markhor contracts directly with the same craftsmen who make shoes for some of the top European brands, pays them up to 5 times more, cuts out the middlemen, and passes on 50% in savings to the final customer.

TechCrunch's Christine Magee wrote about Markhor in a story published this week:
"When you purchase a pair of Markhor shoes, you are immediately looped into the production, and you receive periodic updates about the craftsman’s progress. When the shoes arrive, included in the box is a profile of the craftsman responsible, [Markhor co-founder Waqas] Ali says, which also tells you how much he makes.'People like to know that these shoes are not made by a child or a pregnant woman in China,' says Ali. 'When you’re buying high-end shoes from big brands, there are so many layers that you don’t know where the shoes are made.'

Ali says that Markhor is currently working with 75 craftsmen in Pakistan, and plans to scale up as needed.

'There are thousands of craftsmen like this in Pakistan, and if you include India and Africa, where we plan to expand our production, there are millions,' he says."

Read the full story about Markhor in TechCrunch here.

Colleen Taylor
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/893729 2015-08-14T18:14:44Z 2015-08-14T18:15:47Z YC Digest - 8/7-8/13 Top Stories from the YC World - August 7-August 13, 2015

YC News
A Conversation With Y Combinator’s President Sam Altman

Startup School Radio: Campus Job's Co-Founders On Leaving Google And McKinsey For Startup Life

Presumption of Stupidity by Aaron Harris

Projects and Companies by Sam Altman

YC S15 Launches
Auro Robotics Is Testing A Driverless Shuttle System On College Campuses

bitcodin Encodes Videos 100X Faster, At Netflix-Grade Streaming Quality

Branch8 Lets Merchants Sell Via Multiple E-Commerce Sites With Fewer Headaches

Convox Makes It Easier For Companies To Use AWS

L. Condoms Provides Safe Sex, On-Demand

Markhor Takes The Middleman Out Of Designer Shoemaking

MicroHealth Helps Manage Treatment For Patients With Chronic Illnesses

Nebia, a Shower Head Start-Up, Receives Funding From Timothy Cook of Apple

Ohm Is Making A Lighter, Longer-Lasting, And Better-Performing Car Battery

OnboardIQ Helps Companies Screen And Hire Their Workforces

Plate IQ Helps Restaurants Bring Their Finances Into The Digital Age

PlateJoy shifts direction to now provide you with food that’ll keep you to your diet

Prayas AnalyticsPowers A/B Testing For Brick And Mortar Stores

Scentbird Is A Subscription Sampling Of Luxury Fragrances For Women & Men

Second Measure Lets Investors Know How Private And Public Companies Are Really Doing

SourceDNA launches Searchlight, a developer tool to find coding problems in any app

Sywork Is The Twitch For Illustrators And Artists

Tesorio wants to help small businesses and freelancers get paid faster

VOIQ Provides Companies With Call Center Services On-Demand

Xfers: These entrepreneurs will leave Bay Area, return to Singapore to simplify C2C payments

YC Alum Updates
Video Syndication Platform AllScreen (YC W10) Has Been Acquired By Zealot Networks

Automate Ads (YC W15) Raises $1M To Put Your Digital Ad Campaigns On Autopilot

Y Combinator
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/893720 2015-08-14T17:40:49Z 2015-08-19T14:05:26Z OnboardIQ (YC S15) Helps Companies Screen And Hire Their Workforces
OnboardIQ is a company in our current class that provides tools for operations and recruiting teams to build and manage a workforce, automating the screening and hiring workflow. The result is that companies can spend significantly less time and money on the hiring process, while keeping quality standards high.

Business Insider's Nathan McAlone wrote about OnboardIQ in a story published this week:
"'Sharing economy workers switch jobs, and work multiple jobs in a given week or even day,' [OnboardIQ co-founder Keith Ryu] says. The high turnover means that sharing economy companies have to be constantly bringing workers into the fold. This can be an immense burden, especially for a small company. OnboardIQ wants to make easier.

...OnboardIQ’s system automates scheduling phone interviews and orientations. It moves applicants through a series of 'stages,' reminding them of their various commitments primarily via SMS, which Ryu has found more effective than email. Among the over 100,000 steps OnboardIQ claims it automates are background checks and document collection — I9 forms, contracts, etc.

...When Ryu talks of expansion, he speaks of moving outside the 'on-demand' niche. Those companies — like heavyweights Shyp and Munchery  — have so far been OnboardIQ’s bread and butter, but there is no reason why the service couldn’t work equally well for any company with a large and transitory workforce."

Read the full story on Business Insider here.

Colleen Taylor
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/893710 2015-08-14T17:08:05Z 2015-08-14T17:08:05Z Bizzy (YC S15) Helps E-Commerce Brands Send Fewer, Better Emails E-commerce brands don't actually want to annoy you with their frequent mass email campaigns -- though that's often the effect.

Bizzy is a company in our current class that helps e-commerce companies send fewer, better, more effective emails, without the need for a big budget or a marketing department. Bizzy's platform determines if and when to send an email to a certain person, depending on the likelihood that they will make a purchase, and formulates the most effective message to target the customer's habits.

Bizzy's clients boast as much as 1200% better sales than they had with other email marketing platforms, while sending 60 percent fewer emails.

TechCrunch's Jordan Crook wrote about Bizzy in a story published this week:

"The process starts when the ecommerce brand plugs in the customer database to Bizzy. From there, Bizzy puts those customers into various buckets, ranging from folks who signed up to be on the email list but have never purchased to folks who made a purchase yesterday to people who haven’t made a purchase in a few months.

Based on their various buckets, customers receive different campaign emails with copy that fits their customer life cycle. Bizzy generates the copy for their clients, giving them the ability to edit that in any way or send it off as is."

Read the full story on TechCrunch here.

Colleen Taylor