tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:/posts Y Combinator Posthaven 2015-08-05T03:43:09Z Y Combinator tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/890239 2015-08-04T23:52:45Z 2015-08-05T03:43:09Z 80,000 Hours (YC S15) Helps Top Graduates Choose Careers That Matter Nowadays, many of the best-performing college graduates don't simply want to go into the most highly-paid jobs -- they want to do things that will make a positive difference in the world. 80,000 Hours is a company in our current class that wants to help top graduates find the kinds of jobs where they can do the most good.

TechCrunch's Anthony Ha explained how 80,000 Hours works in a story published today:

"People in the tech world like to talk about doing great things. But what does that actually mean for your career? If you’re serious about making a positive impact on the world, should you go work for a startup? A nonprofit? Or none of the above?

80,000 Hours is an organization aiming to help with those decisions. It’s a nonprofit in the current class of startups incubated by Y Combinator, but it was founded back in 2011 by Ben Todd (the organization’s executive director) and Will MacAskill (its president).

MacAskill is an associate professor of philosophy at Oxford University, and he said that when they met, Todd was a student wrestling with many of these questions. They ended up forming a discussion group and giving lectures on the topic, then eventually creating 80,000 Hours to spread their ideas. (The name refers to the number of hours in your career.)"

You can read much more in-depth about 80,000 Hours and how it works in TechCrunch here.
Colleen Taylor
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/890213 2015-08-04T22:10:32Z 2015-08-04T22:10:32Z Oolu (YC S15) Supplies Affordable Solar Energy To Off-Grid Villages In West Africa

Though West Africa has some of the best conditions for solar power on the planet, the penetration of solar home systems in the region is extremely low -- and some 150 million people in West Africa are currently without any electricity at all. Families in off-grid West Africa are forced to use expensive, poor quality lanterns and flashlights or dangerous candles and kerosene to light their homes. Often, residents travel many miles just to charge their cell phones.

Oolu is a startup in our current class aiming to change all of this, by renting solar home systems to off-grid families in West Africa at a rate nearly all can afford to pay.

TechCrunch's Christine Magee wrote about Oolu in a story published recently:

"Oolu’s in-home solar system is composed of three adjustable lights and two USB plugs, powered by a battery that holds a charge for up to six hours with maximum output. For a low monthly fee, Oolu will install the system and perform all necessary maintenance, including free battery replacements and system upgrades.

... Oolu’s innovation isn’t the technology behind the solar products that they’re dispensing. The systems are produced by a large manufacturer, and similar products are already being used in areas of East Africa.

Instead, the company’s true feat is setting up a distribution model and payment infrastructure that West African families and community leaders are comfortable with. Oolu has partnered with Orange Money, a Senegalese money transfer company, so that customers can pay the monthly subscription fee from their mobile phones.

'We’re working with Orange Money to bring not only solar, but also mobile payments and mobile banking to millions of rural people,' says [Oolu co-founder Daniel] Rosa. 'People talk about a solar revolution, but really it’s a solar mobile revolution.'"

Read the full story on TechCrunch here.
Colleen Taylor
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/890012 2015-08-04T16:17:27Z 2015-08-04T16:17:27Z Shotput (YC S15) Is Like AWS For Warehousing And Fulfillment

It's become easier for small companies to make and sell physical products in recent years, thanks to innovations such as crowdfunding and 3D printing. But once a product is manufactured, there is still a lot of work to be done -- finding freight services, securing warehouse space, packing and quality assurance. All of this is known as "logistics" in the supply chain world, and finding partners to handle these services can be very difficult and time-intensive for a startup.

Shotput is a company in our current class that makes it easy for companies of any size to find and manage logistics services.

VentureBeat's Ken Yeung wrote about Shotput in a story this week:

"Shotput cofounder James Steinberg describes it as 'Amazon Web Services for fulfillment' in that his service can scale to meet the needs of any company’s products.

Companies that need fulfillment assistance can go to Shotput’s website, enter in their product information–including the weight, size, and amount–and the service will tell you the cost. It’s pay as you go, so there’s no long-term contract. Steinberg claims that his service is better than a typical warehouse as the latter may give you a quote, but once your product arrives, that rate could change and end up costing you more.

Shotput will handle freight to and from the fulfillment center and shipping. Once an order has been placed, the company will pick up your product from the manufacturer and deliver it to the one of its partner warehouses in the U.S. — the closest one to the company’s bulk of customers. The average time for shipping from manufacturer to warehouse and then to customer is approximately 10 days."

Read more about Shotput in VentureBeat here.

Colleen Taylor
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/889683 2015-08-03T22:43:34Z 2015-08-04T12:57:51Z Locent (YC S15) Is An E-Commerce Platform That's Powered Entirely By Text Messages Launching out of our Summer 2015 class, Locent has created a platform that lets brands and individual "influencers" sell things through an easy-to-use, entirely mobile interface.

TechCrunch's Fitz Tepper wrote about Locent and the problems it is solving in a story published recently:

"One of the biggest challenges for online retailers is shepherding customers through a lengthy checkout process. By providing businesses with a custom, text-enabled phone number, Locent turns the checkout process into just a text message.

Here’s how retailers use the [Locent] service: After creating an account and being assigned a custom number, stores can use Locent’s backend to create different items, complete with price, photo, and keyword. When a user texts that keyword to a store’s number, they automatically get a link to a payment form to complete the transaction from their phone.

...Matt Joseph and Ryan MacInnes, co-founders of Locent, explained that their service lets any marketing channel become a one-click point of sale. The company is also looking into using Locent as a donation platform, especially with 2016 presidential candidates as they begin fundraising campaigns."

Read the full story in TechCrunch here.

Colleen Taylor
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/889662 2015-08-03T22:16:48Z 2015-08-04T20:01:27Z GrowSumo (YC S15) Helps Companies Create And Manage Partner Programs Sales partner programs can be hugely beneficial to a company's bottom line. Unfortunately, they can be time- and labor-intensive for companies to establish and maintain -- often prohibitively so for smaller businesses.

GrowSumo is a startup in our current class that makes it easier for companies of all sizes to create their own sales partner programs.

TechCrunch's Anthony Ha recently interviewed co-founder Bryn Jones, who started GrowSumo after seeing how difficult it was to establish sales partnerships at his previous company:

"'In order to scale our business, we needed to manage this complicated partner program… and there was nothing on the market that supported that,' Jones said. 'There were tons of referral marketing tools, like influencer tools, but there wasn’t anything that somebody could build their business around.'

...With GrowSumo, a company can create a page where new partners apply to work with them, then train and reward those partners while tracking their progress from a single dashboard. On the flip side, potential resellers can browse different companies on the GrowSumo platform and find products that their clients might be interested in.

GrowSumo is focused on businesses that are selling products to other businesses (rather than consumers). It’s already working with about 40 companies, including Swiftype, Layer, FreshBooks and Expensify. Jones said that on average, each company works with about 3,000 resale partners — those partners include independent consultants, web developers, human resources representatives and the most popular category, accountants."

Read more about GrowSumo in TechCrunch here.

Colleen Taylor
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/889554 2015-08-03T17:36:31Z 2015-08-03T21:53:17Z Saida (YC S15) Helps People In Emerging Markets Get Credit Through Their Mobile Phones

Saida is a startup in our current class that has created a mobile-baased lending platform targeted at people in emerging markets.

Launching first in Africa, Saida has created a mobile app that connects people with short-term loans that are approved based in part on each person's phone activity.

TechCrunch's Matthew Lynley wrote about Saida:

"Saida can see how a person, for example, uses their prepaid cellphone plan, such as how often they recharge that plan and what proportion of the plan is spent on data services, voice or text messaging. Users give Saida some information that helps handle all the approval for the loan on a mobile device. Software installed on those phones can help give users a 'credit score' of sorts and help them get approved for a loan that can be paid back in 30-60 days.

'Right now most of our customers are people who have a smartphone, who are running their own business or who are employed, and people who basically don’t have a credit card,' [Saida co-founder Kenneth Ngetha] said. 'That’s the three or four pieces of info from our demographic. The information that they’re able to share is how they are using their cellphone plan. That tells us a lot about their income cycle and how much they earn. We also look at how they use their expenditures — if they have any receipts or the type of phones they own.'

Read more about Saida in TechCrunch here.

Colleen Taylor
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/888811 2015-08-03T17:00:04Z 2015-08-05T01:13:56Z Joining A Different YC I’m thrilled to announce that I’m joining Y Combinator full-time. My job is to help our companies make hardware people want faster and better than ever before. Fortunately, our alumni are the best resource in the world for this: they’ve built some of the most innovative startups of the last decade. Coupled with our growing ecosystem of partners, our hardware startups are able to get more done during YC than most companies ever achieve. We have a record 22 companies making physical products in this batch, and you'll use many of these in your home or neighborhood within the next 12 months. 

In biotech, the opportunity may be even greater. Why give half of the money you raise to your university when you can rent lab space for hundreds of dollars a month? We expect to help many more scientists choose entrepreneurial paths. With Elizabeth Iorns and our other scientist-alumni, I'm going to help our biotech startups find the partners and tools they need to make wetware at software-like speeds.

This is a good fit for us because both biotech and hardware are becoming increasingly like software at the earliest stages: you can make things good enough to show potential users faster and more cheaply than ever before. There are real regulatory and logistical differences, but many of these matter only after achieving product-market fit. 

We’re just getting started. The YC you know created a new model for funding early stage startups. The YC I joined is creating a new model for innovation. Over the next year, you’ll see us introduce several features that make YC the best place in the world for people who want to make something new. Over the next decade, you’ll see some of these entrepreneurs create companies at YC that rival Airbnb’s social (and financial) impact.

There’s never been a better time to start a startup, and it’s getting even better. Get started, and tell us about it. If it’s a physical thing, show it to me. We’re at the start of a wave of real-world innovations that will approach that of the IT revolution, and we hope you’ll join us.

Luke Iseman
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/889530 2015-08-03T16:56:56Z 2015-08-04T08:56:44Z Klarismo (YC S15) Uses 3D Scanning To Make A Model Of The Inside Of Your Body Launching out of our current summer class, Klarismo has developed a way to create 3D models of the inside of the human body to help people analyze and track their fitness goals and monitor their overall health.

Existing technologies that analyze body composition are able to tell a person's overall body fat percentage with varying degrees of accuracy. Since Klarismo uses MRI technology to construct a full 3D model of the body, it can provide detailed and highly accurate volumetric measurements of both muscle tissues and fat deposits.

TechCrunch's Matthew Lynley wrote about Klarismo in an article published last week:

"Klarismo is an online service where users are able to take a much deeper look at their body’s internal structure. It takes MRI scans and other kinds of scans that people are getting already and then uses that to build a 3D model of the person. That 3D model is then available online, where users can take a look at how their bodies have changed over time — from muscle growth and fat reduction to other things, like what their spleen looks like.

... [Klarismo CEO Marcus] Foster had ended up in several bicycle accidents and also discovered he had a tumor in his head. That made him question why he wasn’t able to look at a more comprehensive set of data he was generating anyway.

'Typically you get the scan done, a radiologist writes two sentences about it, and then prescribes you some treatment basically,' he said. 'You usually don’t get to interact with the data much, even though there’s amazing data about your body.'

Read the full story on TechCrunch here.

Colleen Taylor
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/889516 2015-08-03T16:14:50Z 2015-08-03T18:50:23Z Startup School Radio, Episode 2: How Justin.tv Became Twitch

In Episode 2 of YC's Startup School Radio, a podcast that features stories and practical advice about starting, funding, and scaling companies, Aaron Harris sat down with entrepreneur, investor, and YC partner Justin Kan, and Mathilde Collin, the founder and CEO of collaborative email and text platform Front.

You can hear the episode in its entirety on SoundCloud here and on iTunes here, and read the full transcript here.

An especially interesting part of Kan's interview details how he and the other founders of Justin.tv decided to focus on two new projects that would become Socialcam, the mobile video platform that was acquired by Autodesk for a reported $60 million, and Twitch, the immensely live game streaming platform that was acquired last year by Amazon for $970 million:

Justin: Then to make a long story short, we were at a point where we were about 25 people. We were thinking, 'What do we do next?' The site had kind of tapped out. It turns out not everything type of content is good live, right? Only certain types of content are really good live, and so we tapped out all of these, all the live content, and we were having trouble continuing to grow. The site was probably about 30 million uniques a month at that point, which is pretty big website, but it wasn't growing. We started working on some new ideas of things that we could potentially be bigger than Justin TV and one of those was one of my co-founders Emmet came and said, 'Hey guys, I think we should work on the gaming section of Justin TV.' The gaming section was people playing video games and other people watching them. At the time, [co-founder] Emmett [Shear] came and said, 'This is the only content that I actually like on our site.'

Aaron: How big was that segment?

Justin: That was 3% of our traffic.

Aaron: Just 3%.

Justin: It was just 3%. It was a couple hundred thousand people a month. And Emmett was like, 'This is the only content that I actually want to watch. Let's focus on this content. Maybe we can be bigger.' The rest of us, so out of the four co-founders, I thought, 'Hey that could be something.' The other two co-founders were very skeptical. At the same time we had this other idea, my other co-founder Michael [Seibel]'s idea, which was, let's work on the mobile part because mobile is growing and there's no good way to get videos off of your phone. He was really selling mobile.

We were at this impasse, right? There were two ideas. We couldn't decide between which one was going to work and so we decided let's do both of these things simultaneously inside our company.

Aaron: That seems like a terrible idea. Like when we talk to startups and they say, 'We want to do two things at once' and they're a small team we say, 'Bad idea.'

Justin: Yes, we definitely tell startups not to do this and I actually think that's right. However, in this case it worked out.

Colleen Taylor
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/888721 2015-07-31T16:47:06Z 2015-08-02T10:00:35Z Partnering With Insight Data Science

At YC, each one of our startups brings in valuable data each day that could be used to make their products better. But quickly-growing startups often don't have the time to focus on parsing that data. Early stage founders are fully immersed in building their core products -- and hiring a full-time data science team is not usually a realistic priority.

That's why we're excited to partner with Insight Data Science, the organization that runs a seven-week intensive fellowship for post-doctoral PhDs looking to make the transition from academia to the data science industry. Through this partnership, Y Combinator companies will get $25,000 in free consulting credit with Insight Fellows to work on tackling important data science and data engineering challenges. The partnership applies to active YC companies and alumni companies at any stage.

It's a win/win matchup: YC startups have a wealth of potentially meaningful data, and Insight has an office full of PhD data scientists ready to work on compelling, high-impact data problems full-time. Also, Insight is itself a YC alum from our Winter 2011 batch.

Over the past nine months, 26 YC companies including Pebble, Coinbase, and URX have collaborated with Insight Fellows to great success -- you can read about some of those case studies here. We're looking forward to many more success stories like these in the future.

If you're a YC company or alum interested in working with the Insight Data Science Fellowship, email yc [at] insightdatascience [dot] com.

Colleen Taylor
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/888719 2015-07-31T16:19:49Z 2015-07-31T16:21:00Z YC Digest - 7/24-7/30 Top Stories from the YC World - July 24-July 30, 2015

YC News
Announcing The YC Startup School Radio Podcast

What Makes Founders Succeed by Jessica Livingston

Private Infrastructure by Aaron Harris

YC S15 Launches
Powered By IBM Watson, ROSS Intelligence Is Like Siri For Legal Knowledge

Foxpass Allows Any Company To Have Advanced Server And Network Security

Chaldal Powers Grocery Delivery For One Of The Densest Countries In The World

Captain401 Makes It Easy For Any Company To Have A 401k Program

Ironclad Is An App That Manages Legal Paperwork For Companies

ScopeAR Helps Fix Complex Mechanical Problems Remotely Using Augmented Reality

Hickory Helps Employees Retain What They Learn During Training

Triplebyte Launches Take-Home Interviews

Mimir Wants To Help Colleges Create Better Software Engineers

Go1Takes The Pain Out Of Company Onboarding And Compliance Training

GetScale Gives Hardware Companies Real-Time Quality Control For Their Factories

Wheely's Makes Beautifully Designed Bicycle-Powered Cafés

teaBOT Makes Customized Cups Of Tea With The Touch Of A Button

YC Alum
Stripe (YC S09), Digital Payments Start-Up, Raises New Funding and Partners With Visa

Smart Spreadsheet Service Blockspring (YC S14) Raises $3.4 Million

Cambly (YC W14), an English-learning app focused on actual conversation, is spreading like wildfire in Asia

Taplytics (YC W14) adds new ‘smart push’ to get the right message to the right person at the right time

PersistIQ (YC S14) Raises $1.7M To Create Smarter Automation For Salespeople

Y Combinator
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/888471 2015-07-31T01:06:08Z 2015-08-03T22:38:58Z Hickory (YC S15) Helps Employees Retain What They Learn During Training

Launching this week out of our current Summer 2015 class, Hickory is a startup that's created an app to help employees remember what they've learned during their initial training.

According to Hickory, some 70% of employee training is forgotten within five days. Hickory has developed an algorithm that can predict when each employee will forget what they've learned, and sends them targeted quizzes and exercises to ensure that their on-the-job knowledge stays fresh and up to date. At the moment, Hickory is targeted primarily at companies with sales and customer service teams.

Business Insider's Nathan McAlone wrote about Hickory in a story published today:

"Hickory breaks the knowledge you have to retain into 'cards' and continually arranges them in the optimal manner, refreshing your brain with small quizzes every day. These quizzes take about 3 minutes per day, or 15-20 minutes over the course of the week, and have proven effective for remember job training details, according to [Hickory founder Brian] Tobal.

So how does Hickory know when you will forget something? Tobal says the program tracks various data points, like how long you spend reading the information, your track record on answering questions related to it, and what you rate your 'confidence level' at."

Read more about Hickory and how it works in Business Insider here.
Colleen Taylor
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/888465 2015-07-31T00:47:05Z 2015-07-31T00:49:35Z ScopeAR (YC S15) Helps Fix Complex Mechanical Problems Remotely Using Augmented Reality

When a piece of complicated mechanical equipment breaks, the expert needed to fix it isn't always located locally.

ScopeAR is a startup in our Summer 2015 batch that uses augmented reality (AR) to dispatch remote experts to consult with field technicians on how best to solve a mechanical issue. Using AR features such as telestration, annotation and 3D models that can overlay and lock directly on to a piece of equipment, RemoteAR provides field technicians with an expert that's essentially looking over their shoulder, giving them guidance each step of the way.

TechCrunch's Greg Kumparak wrote about ScopeAR in an article published today:

"Maybe you’re working on an oil rig, and one of the panels is throwing out errors. 'REPLACE VALVE 6B', reads the screen. You know how to replace a valve! You… just don’t know where said valve is. Your company has experts for this, but they’ve all been called off to other rigs.

...ScopeAR, a company from YC’s Summer 2015 class, wants to help experts be anywhere they need to be via the magic of augmented reality.

The idea behind ScopeAR, over simplified: take a video call, and add the ability to draw on and annotate anything the person on the other end is looking at. As they move their camera, anything you’ve added — arrows, text, custom-made 3D models, etc. — stays locked onto the right place.

Need to know which valve is 'Valve 6B'? Point your camera at that array of valves, and the expert can point right to it."

Read the complete article on TechCrunch here, and participate in the Hacker News discussion here.

Colleen Taylor
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/888414 2015-07-30T22:01:02Z 2015-07-30T22:01:02Z Ironclad (YC S15) Is An App That Manages Legal Paperwork For Companies When companies have to create basic documents such as NDAs and sales contracts, they often task their highly-paid hired lawyers with the job -- even though this is essentially administrative work.

Ironclad is a startup in our current batch that acts as an automated legal assistant, creating standard documents that all companies need. This means that paid lawyers can focus on what they are good at, which is providing legal advice on more complicated matters.

TechCrunch's Fitz Tepper wrote about Ironclad today:

"Jason Boehmig, co-founder of Ironclad, explained that current methods to draft and execute legal documents are extremely fragmented. For example, a startup trying to complete a sales agreement would have to separately move documents between their lawyers, document storage solutions, and e-signature companies.

With Ironclad, this entire process is automated, which lets companies save a bunch of time and money.

Notably, Ironclad isn’t out to replace lawyers. In fact, Boehmig explained that the company’s goal is to become an operational layer for lawyers, essentially consolidating their workflow and giving them superpowers."

Read the full story on TechCrunch here, and participate in the Hacker News discussion here.
Colleen Taylor
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/888316 2015-07-30T17:31:37Z 2015-07-30T17:31:38Z Captain401 (YC S15) Makes It Easy For Any Company To Have A 401k Program The process of setting up a company 401k plan can be daunting for a small business -- so much so that often, it's only larger corporations that offer retirement plans for their workers.

Captain401 is a startup in our current class that makes it easy for a company of any size to set up a 401k program for its employees.

TechCrunch's Matthew Lynley wrote about Captain401 in a story published today:

"The goal of Captain401 is basically to make managing 401ks as simple as other services have done for other functions within companies — and in a more digitally focused manner like Zenefits or Zenpayroll. Captain401 seeks to create a process that avoids funds that have higher fees and fail to beat the market, CEO Roger Lee said. The investing service is automated, helping employees make better decisions about their investments and become more educated about the best choices, he said.

'Incumbents like ADP, John Hanckock, they require tons of paperwork, snail mailing, filling out and signing,' he said. 'Some companies like Fidelity don’t work with small businesses. We think we can do a lot better there, our solution is online and paperless.'"
Read more in-depth about how Captain401 and how it works in TechCrunch here, and see the related Hacker News discussion here.
Colleen Taylor
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/888310 2015-07-30T17:06:57Z 2015-07-31T15:21:00Z Chaldal (YC S15) Powers Grocery Delivery For One Of The Densest Countries In The World

Chaldal is a startup launching out of our current class that's built an on-demand grocery delivery platform that serves Bangladesh, one of the densest countries in the world.

Chaldal's service, which is currently active in the capital city of Dhaka and plans to expand to other cities in the future, offers the product variety of a big box store, compared to the limited selection often offered at Bangladeshi markets, which are typically short on space.

TechCrunch's Catherine Shu wrote about Chaldal in a story published today:

"Chaldal was founded by Waseem Alim, Tejas Viswanath, and Zia Ashraf in 2013. After working in product development for Wikinvest and SigFig, Alim began exploring the possibility of launching a startup in his home country. He was galvanized by the collapse of a garment factory near Dhaka that killed more than 1,100 workers.

'That jarred me and made me think, if capital is being invested in a way where people have to work inside a mousetrap, then I want to see what it takes to really make a living in Bangladesh,' he says.

Consumers in Dhaka often purchase small amounts of groceries, regardless of their income level, because shops don’t have a lot of stock. Chaldal’s current business model centers around warehouses that are relatively small (about 5,000 to 7,000 square feet each), but still enable it to carry much more items than brick-and-mortar retailers. It uses a cloud-based inventory system that allows users to see what items are available in real-time."

Read the full story on TechCrunch here.
Colleen Taylor
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/887931 2015-07-29T19:18:38Z 2015-07-29T19:18:38Z Foxpass (YC S15) Allows Any Company To Have Advanced Server And Network Security Large enterprises can often afford to have tightly-managed network and server security across their workforces. But for many small- and medium-sized companies, network and server security practices are either implemented lightly or not at all. 

Foxpass is a startup in our current batch that's created an easy-to-use platform for any company to ensure that each employee has individual, company-managed credentials which must be used for access.

VentureBeat's Ken Yeung wrote about Foxpass and how it works in a story published today:

"So why Foxpass? In some companies, it’s possible that employees share the same login credentials when it comes to accessing internal systems such as servers and Wi-Fi. Obviously this isn’t a secure setup, but Foxpass thinks it can bring things up to best practices without resorting to drastic changes in the layout and design of the tools.

Sandersen told VentureBeat that Foxpass functions as an authentication server integrated with Google Apps that companies can use to grant employees access to specific systems. Because he’s dealing with early-stage companies and smaller entities, syncing with Google Apps makes sense. Using this as the identity layer, someone in the company, whether in human resources or IT, can grant that employee specific access. Should the employee leave for whatever reason, access can quickly be disabled without having to change passwords en masse."

Read more in-depth about Foxpass in VentureBeat here, and participate in the related Hacker News discussion here. You can also check out Foxpass' demo in its first-ever "Show HN" back in February 2015 here.
Colleen Taylor
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/887531 2015-07-28T21:22:44Z 2015-08-03T21:31:59Z Announcing The YC Startup School Radio Podcast

We're excited to announce Startup School Radio, a podcast that features stories and practical advice about starting, funding, and scaling companies. In each show, host and Y Combinator partner Aaron Harris talks to two key founders or investors to learn how they got started, what went wrong, what surprised them, and what happened as their companies grew.

In episode 1 of Startup School Radio, Harris sits down with Alexis Ohanian, the co-founder of Reddit, and Kaz Netajian, the co-founder of payments startup Kash. You can listen to the entire hour-long show in the SoundCloud widget embedded above, or find all the episodes on iTunes.

One interesting part of Ohanian's segment was the discussion about how Reddit set out to be the "front page of the internet":

Alexis: The really stand out thing is the commenting system, and the voting system that Steve [Huffman] engineered, which we drew heavily from Slashdot influence on. Just this idea of having community self-regulated voting on content, and comments.

And [Paul Graham] just said, 'All right, well, solve that problem. Find the best way to just inform yourself every morning.' And we're going back and forth with ideas. And then he's just like, 'Listen, just build the front page of the internet.' Steve and I looked at each other and we are like, 'Uh, this guy wants to give us money to build the front page of the internet? All right, sucker.'

Aaron: So, that's actually really interesting, because Paul sold his company at Yahoo. He worked at Yahoo for a while, and a lot of ways, in the late 90's and early 2000's, Yahoo was the front page of the internet. There was no such thing as a search engine, really, when Yahoo started. It was an aggregation of useful links.  

Alexis: Yes.

Aaron: Do you think that's part of where that came from?

Alexis: We should have pitched Reddit as Yahoo 2.0. Probably... I still remember the [meeting], because we kept dilly-dallying around this idea of, what it means to have this front page here, and [Paul Graham] was like, 'Look, the news of record, the most important news of the day for the 20th century was essentially the stuff that made it arguably to the front page of like the New York Times.' Some other newspapers might differ, but for the 21st century, the front page of the New York Times meant this is the news.

Online, you have to be content agnostic. Even in 2005, it was clear that the most important relevant news of the day couldn't possibly come from just one source. The best way to get to that would be having a bunch of random people all over the world submitting suggestions for what that might be.

You can read the full transcript from Startup School Radio Episode 1 on Genius here.]]>
Colleen Taylor
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/887519 2015-07-28T20:39:50Z 2015-08-01T17:43:44Z Powered By IBM Watson, ROSS Intelligence (YC S15) Is Like Siri For Legal Knowledge

With each new law that passes or court ruling, the vat of legal knowledge in the world just keeps growing. Even the best legal scholar would have a hard time keeping abreast of it all -- and the current search engines on products like LexisNexis leave a lot to be desired.

ROSS Intelligence is a startup in our current class that is leveraging artificial intelligence to help people power through legal research efficiently and accurately.

TechCrunch's Kim-Mai Cutler wrote about ROSS Intelligence in a story published this week:

"Today, ROSS says that the market size for legal research software is about $8.4 billion per year, given the roughly 1.3 million lawyers in the U.S. and Canada.

'There are thousands of laws are being published each day,' said [ROSS co-founder Andrew] Arruda, who spent several years in legal research. 'But until recently, have our computers have had a very superficial understanding of natural language. ROSS pretty much mimics the human process of reading, identifies patterns in text, and provides contextualized answers with snippets from the document in question.'"

Read more in-depth about ROSS Intelligence and how it works in TechCrunch here.]]>
Colleen Taylor
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/887118 2015-07-27T23:56:20Z 2015-07-28T00:03:31Z Tenant Turner (YC S15) Helps Property Owners Quickly Fill Vacancies With Qualified Renters

Tenant Turner is a startup launching out of our current class with a software platform that helps property owners and property managers quickly and easily find quality tenants to rent out their available units.

According to Tenant Turner, around half of all tenant inquiries don’t meet a rental's minimum requirements. That means that property managers are often distracted with phone calls, emails, and showings that end up going nowhere. Tenant Turner helps cut through the noise, by scheduling showings only with tenant prospects that meet the owner's qualifications -- while still adhering to Fair Housing regulations and other laws.

TechCrunch's Kim-Mai Cutler wrote about how Tenant Turner works in a story today:

"Tenant Turner automatically lists properties on the top 20 listings sits. They also pre-qualify renters by verifying their incomes, pulling their credit reports and background checks and checking their rental history. 

They also ask renters basic questions to filter out candidates who don’t fit, like ones that have pets for no-pet properties. Then they coordinate property viewings, with text and e-mail reminders. Their prices start at $119 per rental listing, gradually go lower based on the number of listing credits purchased."

Read more about Tenant Turner, how it started, and how it fits into larger trends in the real estate market in TechCrunch here.]]>
Colleen Taylor
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/887060 2015-07-27T21:27:03Z 2015-07-28T00:23:49Z Mimir (YC S15) Wants To Help Colleges Create Better Software Engineers Mimir is a startup launching out of our Summer 2015 class that's addressing some of the most common challenges seen by university and college Computer Science programs. Mimir has created a platform that brings the Computer Science classroom online and automates key tasks such as grading and student feedback.

VentureBeat's Ken Yeung wrote about Mimir in a story published today:

"Founded by Prahasith Veluvolu, Jacobi Petrucciani, and Colton Voege, Mimir enables professors to upload assignments each semester that students need to complete. Mimir will handle grading and then log the findings into a separate grade book system like Blackboard. The platform also tracks which students may need more tutoring and those who may be cheating or plagiarizing. Professors can set parameters for students as well as configure projects so the system will know how to grade appropriately.

...For Veluvolu, the founding of the company is specifically something that addressed his pain point: As a computer science student at Purdue University, the speed at which instructors provided feedback was frustrating. In all of his other courses, he said that it was automated and fast, but not in the computer science department — ironically, that one lagged behind."

Read more in-depth about Mimir in VentureBeat here.

Colleen Taylor
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/887019 2015-07-27T19:20:52Z 2015-07-27T19:20:52Z Go1 (YC S15) Takes The Pain Out Of Company Onboarding And Compliance Training
Training courses are something that every company should provide, whether for teaching new team members about company culture, educating customers about how to use a product, or providing required lessons on HR issues such as discrimination and sexual harassment. But anyone who's sat through a corporate training session knows that they can be time-consuming, inefficient, and ineffective.

Launching this week out of our Summer 2015 class, Go1 aims to take the pain and expense out of the training that every company should be doing, by enabling each organization to create its own personalized web-based training portal.

TechCrunch's Christine Magee wrote about Go1 in a story published this morning:

"Founded by an Australian team of educators out of Oxford University, GO1 is applying some of the concepts proven by edtech startups, such as Coursera and Udemy, to employee training.

'For a lot of companies, compliance training is fairly ad-hoc,' says GO1 founder Andrew Barnes, who is a Rhodes scholar finishing up a masters in Education Technology at Oxford. 'It’s a really bad use of people’s time and it creates a sense of resentment toward the company, when really, training should be empowering the staff.'

Organizations using GO1 can customize their own white-labelled training portal by either adding courses from GO1’s marketplace or creating their own with company materials. Instead of a generic 50-slide PowerPoint presentation about why listening is important, a GO1 course might feature a TED Talk by an Army general followed by two multiple-choice questions about how his story applies to your job."
Read the full story, including details on Go1's current clients, in TechCrunch here, and participate in the related Hacker News discussion here.

Colleen Taylor
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/886086 2015-07-24T19:32:23Z 2015-07-24T19:41:03Z GetScale (YC S15) Gives Hardware Companies Real-Time Quality Control For Their Factories

When hardware companies choose to manufacture their devices in third-party factories thousands of miles away, trust is paramount. Unfortunately, that trust often has to be blind. When it comes to identifying the cause of defects in end products, companies and factories often have to take each other at their word, with little hard data or evidence to discover what really went wrong.

GetScale is a company in our current class that helps foster more trust between hardware companies and factories, with a hardware and software solution that provides automated recording and monitoring of factory manufacturing and testing. GetScale's system can be deployed in less than one day, and boasts a 300% decrease in the average number of product defects in its initial trials at Chinese factories.

TechCrunch's Catherine Shu wrote about GetScale in a story published today:

"At first glance, GetScale’s cameras might seem like just another factory surveillance system. The startup, however, wants to make life easier for engineers and assembly-line workers by allowing them to communicate directly and record the entire manufacturing process.

This means hardware companies thousands of miles away from their factories get quality assurance and workers aren’t unfairly blamed for problems... GetScale’s monitoring system lets hardware engineers give step-by-step instructions directly to line workers instead of middlemen, which improves communication and speeds up the production process."

Read more about how GetScale works in TechCrunch here, and participate in the related Hacker News discussion here.
Colleen Taylor
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/886063 2015-07-24T18:30:13Z 2015-07-24T18:30:13Z Compose (YC S11) Acquired By IBM

IBM announced on Thursday its acquisition of YC alum Compose, the company formerly known as MongoHQ that runs a platform for quickly and easily spinning up database servers.

In a blog post published yesterday, Compose's co-founders Kurt Mackey and Jason McKay wrote about the rationale behind the deal:

"As founders, it was the biggest and most important decision we've ever had to make — much more difficult than we ever would have guessed back when we only dreamed of having a successful company. While we are profitable and growing fast, we think now is the right time to team up with a larger company. We will be able to do more, faster, and it's the best way to continue our mission. Also, I'm not going to say the word 'synergy', but synergy.

At IBM, Compose will be part of the Cloud Data Services (CDS) group. It's a great fit. We'll be able to continue building what we think is important, with a brand we really like, and the same team that works so well together. All with the backing of a major company."

Read the full blog post here, and see additional news coverage in TechCrunch here.]]>
Colleen Taylor
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/886056 2015-07-24T18:04:51Z 2015-07-25T02:42:34Z Wheely's (YC S15) Makes Beautifully Designed Bicycle-Powered Cafés

Wheely's is a startup in our current class that makes self-contained, portable cafés that can be moved around by a built-in bicycle.

It's a very unique product with an admirable underlying goal: Wheely's wants to make it much more accessible for people to start and operate their own small food and coffee business. It costs about $3,000 for the newest version of the Wheely's bike, compared with the $800,000 it typically costs to start a Starbucks.

Wheely's is already seeing massive demand for its latest cart. An Indiegogo campaign launched just yesterday has already far surpassed its $50,000 funding goal.

TechCrunch's Kim-Mai Cutler interviewed Wheely's co-founder Tomas Mazetti in a story published about the company this week:

"[Co-founders Tomas] Mazetti, [Maria] De La Croix, and Per Cromwell's passion  is providing the world with an easy, inexpensive way to start a new business that is environmentally sound. They became enamored with the idea of coffee, since it has one of the highest mark-ups of any everyday consumable product.

...[Mazetti] said the big advantage of going with Wheelys versus working for a classic coffee chain was that you get to keep the vast majority of revenues to yourself. If the Wheelys buyer uses the company brand and its suggested product line, then they keep 90 percent of revenue. This is probably bigger than the near-minimum wage a person might earn while working in someone else’s coffee chain."

Read the full story about how Wheely's works and how it was founded in TechCrunch here, and participate in the related Hacker News discussion here.

Colleen Taylor
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/886041 2015-07-24T17:25:12Z 2015-08-05T01:56:52Z teaBOT (YC S15) Makes Customized Cups Of Tea With The Touch Of A Button Launching out of our Summer 2015 class, teaBOT is a startup that's created a robotic machine that makes cups of tea from customized loose leaf blends in seconds.

The concept brings together grab-and-go food with modern robotics: Rather than waiting in line at a cafe to pay for a cup of tea made from off-the-shelf tea bags, teaBOT provides customers with a personalized made-to-order cup at the touch of a button.

TechCrunch's Sarah Buhr tried out the teaBOT and wrote about the company in a story this week:

"The bot will let you mix and match different teas or select from some suggested concoctions on either the teaBOT smartphone app or the provided kiosk tablet to get a super fast hot brew. You can also pay using your Apple Watch, if you want. Once the selections are made, the teaBOT uploads the information and pours in a delicious mix of your own, unique blend in under 30 seconds.

Special lids with a proprietary filtered mouthpiece keep the tea leaves inside the cup while allowing the hot water some room to cool.

Cafes interested in placing a teaBOT within their place of business get a percentage of the revenue and teaBOT will own and operate the kiosks for them, including servicing the machines and replacing supplies and product."

Read more about teaBOT in TechCrunch here, and see it in action in the video below:

Colleen Taylor
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/885617 2015-07-23T21:35:44Z 2015-07-23T21:35:44Z StyleBee (YC S15) Sends Beauty And Grooming Services To You Anytime, Anywhere StyleBee is a startup in our current class that lets people book beauty and grooming services anytime and anywhere. For a flat fee of $50 plus tips, StyleBee sends beauty professionals to clients wherever they are -- be in in their homes, at their offices, or in hotel rooms.

VentureBeat's Ken Yeung wrote about StyleBee in a post today:

"Getting an appointment at a hair salon can be difficult and inconvenient, and that’s why StyleBee came about. Backed by Y Combinator, the Uber for hairstyling defines itself as 'beauty on demand.' Using the iOS app, users can schedule a time when they want a stylist to come to them. Then the service will find the right match and connect both parties.

...Cofounded by Anna Santeramo, StyleBee solves a problem she had when she was working as a corporate attorney. When she needed her hair styled, she couldn’t get an appointment, and when there was a spot available, stylists wanted more money or had some other conditions. 'It wasn’t fair to me,' she said.

Santeramo wanted house calls, which isn’t an option traditional salons offer. The service is not just for hair styling, but also for makeup, massages, and more."
Read more about StyleBee, how it works, and where it's available in VentureBeat here.

Colleen Taylor
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/885557 2015-07-23T19:07:40Z 2015-07-23T19:07:40Z From The Makers Of Font Awesome, Fonticons (YC S15) Helps You Build A Beautiful Website

Launching this week out of our current Summer 2015 class, Fonticons is a subscription service for web icons that helps website developers create the exact look they need, quickly and easily.

TechCrunch's Fitz Tepper wrote about Fonticons in an article published today:

"If you’ve ever developed a website, you’re probably familiar with Font Awesome. The free service lets developers adorn their site with over 500 icons using only a line of CSS, and is used on about 40 million websites including the official website of the White House.

Now, Dave Gandy, the creator of Font Awesome, is launching Fonticons, a subscription service that will take Font Awesome’s original idea to the next level. ...The service will offer the same features as Font Awesome, along with some added benefits for its paid subscribers. These exclusive features will be in the form of three subscription tiers ranging from free to $99 per year."

Read the full story about Fonticons in TechCrunch here, and check out the Hacker News discussion here.]]>
Colleen Taylor
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/885544 2015-07-23T18:02:25Z 2015-07-23T18:30:45Z Leada (YC S15) Helps Professors Teach The Most In-Demand Data Science Skills Most students go to college to get a job, but all too often, graduates don't feel like they've been equipped with the skills they need to get employed in the current job market.

Leada is a startup in our current class that helps college educators teach the most in-demand technical career skills, complementing professors' traditional lessons with effective modern online content. Leada's flagship product focuses on data science and analysis -- one of the most coveted skills for employers today.

VentureBeat's Ken Yeung wrote about Leada in a story published this week:

"Started by Brian Liou and Tristan Tao, both University of California, Berkeley graduates, Leada tackles an issue both founders had: The university hadn’t taught them employable skills in the data science industry, just theories. They tried using Codecademy, but Liou said that it was limited to introducing students to skills. Coursera just didn’t work for them either.

The result is Leada, a Y Combinator-backed program that professors can use to give students actual experience tackling data analysis problems from industry.

...'We believe data science is a fundamental skill for everyone,' he said. 'I really feel that the data science niche will be very large and always think about the pain point we solve being applied to other industries.'"
Read more in-depth about Leada, how it works, and where it's available in VentureBeat here.

Colleen Taylor
tag:blog.ycombinator.com,2013:Post/885530 2015-07-23T17:38:35Z 2015-07-23T17:41:15Z Gigster (YC S15) Hires An Elite Engineering Team For Your Software Project In Minutes Turning an idea into an actual app is an incredibly daunting task. Elite engineering talent is very hard to find -- it often seems that there are far more software projects that people want to make than there are available developers to build them.

Gigster is a startup in our current class that takes the pain out of that process. Gigster promises to find, hire, and manage an elite engineering team for you, effectively steering any software project from start to finish.

As TechCrunch's Josh Constine writes, Gigster is like an "Uber for developers" that takes on all the "dev dirty work" for you:

"Got a startup idea? That and some cash is all you need to get a fully functional app built for you by Gigster. Launching today, Gigster is a full-service development shop, rather than a marketplace where you have to manage the talent you find.

Just go to Gigster’s site, instant message with a sales engineer, tell them what you want built, and in 10 minutes you get a guaranteed quote for what it will cost and how long it will take. Give Gigster the go-ahead, and it will manage an elite set of freelance coders and designers to build your product and give you status reports each week. Once you get your project back, Gigster will even maintain the code, and you can pay to add upgrades or new features.

...Gigster could help entrepreneurs affordably develop a minimum viable product so they can get the funding and attention they need to build a company."

Read the full story, including an interview with Gigster CEO Roger Dickey, in TechCrunch here, and participate in the related Hacker News discussion here.]]>
Colleen Taylor