Archive for the ‘yc’ tag
Underscoring the power of both mobile and social right now, imgfave’s app reached the same level of activity as the main website, which gets 30 million monthly page views and 3.3 million monthly unique visitors, just two days after it launched, according to the founder, Gabe Ragland.
As its name implies, imgfave is a simple image-sharing site that focuses on “design, creativity and beautiful things.”
Ragland is an unlikely case, a single founder with no mobile experience working to disrupt the image-sharing space that is dominated by giants like imgur.
He applied to YC with a much larger vision for the site, which he hopes to scale up to in the future; he launched in 2009, building it in one week. He started working on imgfave, which he says is very profitable, full-time a year ago, making the site faster and more accessible, tripling its user base.
Ragland has been focusing on the mobile app and future changes during Y Combinator this summer (he will finish in August).
“That’s largely a testament to how much being in YC motivates you to get stuff done, as well as how powerful it is to be surrounded by a network of incredible smart startup founders in the YC program,” Ragland tells me.
A user-generated image, professing their love for the app (hmm…I wonder what that camera app on the left does)
Ragland says the app is successful because of the small, devoted community that he developed early on.
“The lesson for startup founders is to initially focus on building a small, but very happy community, because that can turn into a powerful marketing engine,” he tells me.
Ragland says he is looking to hire a team soon to help him build “the next largest entertainment and content discovery destination online.”
Imgfave will then undergo a site redesign, especially aimed at mobile and tablets and will launch communities for hundreds of different topics. Ragland hopes to turn the site into a platform for engaging image-sharing communities around a variety of niches.
Y Combinator co-founder Paul Graham tweeted today that YC’s 380 companies (prior to the current batch) have raised $1,048,274,000. Y Combinator, which launched in 2005, takes on two classes of startups per year into their three month program, during which they mentor and connect the founders and invest in the companies.
The total amount of funding raised by the 380 companies prior to the current YC batch is $1,048,274,000.
— Paul Graham (@paulg) July 25, 2012
Even the simplest of mathematicians can look at the two numbers and divide the larger by the smaller and infer that, on average, Y Combinator companies raise more than $2,759,000. But not all YC companies are created equal. Two of Y Combinator’s most notable alums, Dropbox ($257 million) and Airbnb ($120 million), account for almost 36% of the impressive funding total.
When you add in other well-funded companies, like Scribd ($25.8 million), Disqus ($10.5 million), and Posterous ($10.1 million), the total for the remaining 375 Y Combinator companies is still an enormous, but significantly diminished, $624.9 million.
This is the latest eye-popping number from Y Combinator, following Forbes’ report in April that Y Combinator companies were worth a total of $7.78 billion.
Credictive is out to show all the invisible people behind all the content you see online – perhaps it could be be called the platform for the “end credits” of the Internet? The YC-backed startup is headed by serial entrepreneur Ela Madej. We spoke to her during the recent F.ounders conference at the Nasdaq in New York.
Exec, a mobile app that instantly gets people to do your errands, has raised $3.3 million, according to an SEC filing. The company’s co-founder Justin Kan, who is also behind Justin.tv, Twitch.tv and SocialCam, is getting back to us on who invested in this round.
What’s Exec? It’s kind of comparable to TaskRabbit, because you can call on people to run your errands from an app. But Exec doesn’t require a bidding process and it calls up ‘Execs,’ or people to do your tasks, instantaneously. It also has a flat rate of $25 an hour. Exec covers all sorts of errands — deliveries, chores, cleaning, even art. One ‘Exec,’ who cleaned my house once, has also coached YC founders on their pitches for Demo Day. Seriously.
The filing only shows Exec’s team on it, so it’s hard to tell who the firms or angels in the round are. Again, like we said, Kan’s getting back to us within the hour, so hopefully we’ll have an update then.
It looks like the team from Y Combinator-backed Stypi is heading to Salesforce, according to this blog post. UPDATE: We’ve confirmed that Salesforce has acquired Stypi. Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
As we reported last year, Stypi develops lightweight, real-time collaborative text editor. It’s similar in many ways to fellow YC alum Etherpad, which was acquired by Google. You can create documents in Stypi and edit it just as you would any other document, and you can invite new collaborators simply by sending them the URL.
The editor includes key features like a Playback mode, which will let you review how a document came to be, character by character. Stypi also integrated support for some programmer-friendly features, like syntax highlighting.
Stypi’s founders write that they will be working on “collaboration solutions” at Salesforce. Stypi will remain live, and users will have access to the service, says the startup.
We know that Salesforce has been ramping up social and collaboration in all of its products so an an actual acquisition makes sense for the company. It’s unclear yet how and if Stypi’s technology will be incorporated into Salesforce’s product offerings.
Socialcam, the “Instagram for video” iPhone app that spun out of user generated video pioneer Justin.tv last year, has had a pretty crazy past week. A Hacker News post aimed at recruiting engineers for the company said that the app added four million new users over the past weekend alone — I’m hearing rumors that Socialcam’s total user count may have pushed past 10 million — and the company is part of the most hotly pursued YC classes from an investor standpoint. You’d think that Socialcam’s three-person team would be totally overwhelmed.
Well, they probably are — but they’re still apparently shipping lots of app updates. This latest one, made today, has two main tweaks that seem small but helpful. Now when users click on a video it plays right within the app’s main feed rather than sending them to a different viewing window; and videos start loading right when a user hovers over them. Essentially they’re both aimed at making the app faster to use.
When reached by phone this afternoon, Socialcam CEO Michael Siebel confirmed that his company was indeed responsible for the Hacker News post, so the four million user number is actually legit — he declined to give any more detail on Socialcam’s total user numbers, or on its funding situation. (Don’t worry, we’ll keep working on it.) But that’s because according to him, Socialcam’s main focus is not on numbers, but on making sure the users it has attracted stick around for the long term. He was quick to point out, also, that this is the third app update Socialcam has made since YC demo day on March 27. “We’re not just looking for distribution. We want the app to be better for everyone, to make sure that we take all the pain out of both making and watching videos,” Seibel said. “My goal is to make the process of taking and watching videos as easy as it is for photos.”
It’s smart for Socialcam to keep its eye on the ball, being that it is certainly not the only game in town when it comes to the suddenly very hot mobile video space. Since Instagram’s $1 billion sale to Facebook earlier this month, the hunt for a similar app for video has been especially intense — and smartphone users, the media, and of course venture capital investors are all on the trail. Viddy, which is currently at the top spot in the iTunes store, just raised a $6 million round from some super high profile investors; Mobli has also attracted some star-studded investors and users; and other apps such as Tout and Klip are in the mix as well.
It’s fun to watch from an industry perspective, but for users, this environment is especially good news. There are some real technological challenges in making sharing video as accessible as photos, so it’s good to have some earnest energy in the space to hopefully deliver a real solution to the problem.
Check out TechCrunch TV’s interview earlier this month with Socialcam CEO Michael Seibel:
Remember Batch, the photo-sharing app that lets you share iPhone photos on Facebook, Twitter, and via email? Wait, before you roll your eyes - photo-sharing app? Sigh… – let me stick up for Batch: it’s one of the good ones. But today’s update makes Batch even better than before because it addresses one of the major pain points I had in using the app – something that I’ll admit led me to drop it after initial tests – Facebook album support.
Prior to the newly updated version, Batch allowed you to create albums and share them on Facebook, but the photos themselves remained within Batch’s service. When users clicked a shared link, they were taken to Batch, not a Facebook album. But with the update, that has changed. Batch now uploads all of the photos to Facebook for you. And it does so incredibly fast.
I also have to point out that Batch actually lets you name the Facebook albums whatever you want. It doesn’t just lump all the photo uploads into a bucket called “Batch Photos,” or something dumb like that (which I’ve seen other apps do).
The change may finally allow Batch to live up to Mike Arrington’s earlier suggestion that Batch “may be the perfect mobile photo sharing app.” I’ll admit, it definitely had a lot going for it when it launched last fall, but I (like many of Batch users, apparently), found that I still wanted to share photos directly on Facebook. That is, I wanted the photos to reside on Facebook itself, not within a third-party service.
Batch’s lack of support for that particular option, had even allowed newcomers to come in and try to fill that need. For example, with Popset, a new YC-backed mobile app, one of the app’s key selling points was its support for exporting entire albums to Facebook.
Batch’s update now fleshes out what was already a well-built service. Working on top of Facebook’s social graph, the app would automatically match you up with your Facebook friends upon first launch, and with its year-end update, it even took pains to make the entire onboarding experience clever and inviting.
The app also supports thumbs up/down, comments, private sharing, automatic album updates, a news feed of shared photos, and more.
The new version has added support for photo tagging, too, including photo tag notifications, but these appear to work in-app only. I tagged folks in my latest batch, shared to Facebook, but those tags didn’t copy over. Surely that’s coming next, though. (And sorry, I’d link, but my photos are private. Just try it yourself.)
ReadyForZero, an online financial service (and YC alum) focused on addressing a real need – getting people out of debt faster – appears to be working. The company, which is now reporting 13% month-over-month growth, says its users have paid off $12.5 million in debt to date, out of the nearly $200 million worth of debt managed by the service. That number has been growing quickly, too. Just a few weeks ago, it was at $8.5 million, then jumped up to $11 million after the first week of March, and, as of today, reached the $12.5 million mark.
Something which will help that number grow even further is the company’s newly launched Savings Platform, which will show offers to users from ReadyForZero’s financial partners, without sharing users’ personal information with the partners in advance.
“We’ve always wanted our product to eventually be like a marketplace,” explains ReadyForZero CEO and co-founder Rod Ebrahimi, ”people can show their performance over time, and say: ‘Look, I’m doing really well – here’s a real-time snapshot of their finances with respect to my debt and my cash flow…why don’t you offer me a better rate?’”
This new savings platform is the first step towards that goal, says Ebrahimi.
The privacy-focused feature is different from what the big banks are used to (traditionally, they acquire new customers via lead generation). Now, they have to work with ReadyForZero by providing access to their own algorithms and requirements in order for the startup to target users on its end. But for users already wary of having their financial details floating around, there’s a benefit in being able to securely receive these offers and consider them while remaining anonymous.
For example, when suggesting a consolidation loan, ReadyForZero would show the user how much money they would save, what the interest rate would be, how much the monthly payments would be reduced by, and how much quicker you would be able to pay off the debt. Likely, the user would then accept the offer, and only then would the financial institution be introduced to the customer in question.
During the service’s first week in action, customers secured over $100,000 in consolidation loans, Ebrahimi tells us. The first partner in the launch is LendingTree, but discussions are underway now with other banking partners, whose integrations are expected by next quarter. Citi, it should be noted, is a minority stakeholder in ReadyForZero, so it will surely be on board soon.
But perhaps most importantly, for users, ReadyForZero is working. Already $10 million+ in debt ($12.5M as of last night!) has been paid off for startup’s early adopters. But the question for the company now, is how to grow the user base?
After all, telling your friends you’re in a huge amount of debt may hinder word-of-mouth style recommendations.
“It’s not something everyone necessarily wants to tell their friends about,” Ebrahimi admits. The new thinking is that the company may experiment with providing sharing mechanisms for those users who are now about to pay off their entire debt. That’s something people might like to brag about, Ebrahimi thinks.
Also on the near horizon for the startup is a mobile application. The app, launching first on iOS in about a month, will provide users with a read-only look at their financial situation while on the go.
If you don’t think you’re in enough debt to be in need of a service like this, the company has also just launched a tool to convince you otherwise. This credit card debt calculator tells you how much your debt really hurts you in terms you can understand. For example, $10,000 in credit card debt will take over 27 years to pay off, if making minimum payments. And the interest you’re paying equals 2.7 cappuccinos per week, 8.9 tanks of gas per year, or 24 iPhones over the lifetime of the debt. (Ouch). Meanwhile, if you don’t need any convincing, you can just sign up here to try ReadyForZero instead.
And the anti-SOPA rallying of the tech world’s best continues.
Just minutes after Ycombinator’s Paul Graham disclosed that SOPA-friendly companies would be blacklisted from the YC Demo Day, Cheezburger (as in I Can Has Cheeseburger, FAIL Blog, Know Your Meme, etc.) CEO Ben Huh has announced that they will be moving their array of over 1,000 domains away from GoDaddy unless the registrar recants their support of the act.
Will Huh’s threat be enough to make GoDaddy back down? Probably not: GoDaddy is a company with plenty of controversies under its belt, so they’re more than used to taking a bit of heat. With that said, it will raise awareness to the fact that taking your domains (and thus your money) elsewhere is a totally legitimate form of protest — in fact, Huh’s tweet just reminded me that I have (make that had) 2 domains sitting in GoDaddy’s yard. Thanks, Ben!
Talent drain? That’s what they’re saying. The explosion of early stage startups has made it harder for companies to find the best engineers and designers because everyone’s trying to do their own startup. GroupTalent (a startup, of course) wants to be the solution for that.
In an effort to make the process of finding work even less painful than before, today the company is launching a newly revamped website which introduces a matching algorithm that automatically pairs projects and talent together.
GroupTalent doesn’t want to be considered as just another job board or hiring marketplace. Unlike oDesk or Elance, where there’s more emphasis on catering to employers looking for freelancers, at GroupTalent, there’s more of a focus on the talent itself. Most of the startup’s market comes from early stage founders who are looking for gigs to help them extend their runway, says Manuel Media, GroupTalent CEO.
“The majority of our talent base are teams from startups who are bootstrapping,” he says. “Many are funded, many are from accelerator programs such as YC, TechStars, 500 Startups, and then there are those who are just getting started. Most of them are tired of ramen.”
In other words, just because it’s increasingly hard to recruit someone talented willing to work full-time, that doesn’t mean there aren’t talented folks willing to work.
The biggest difference between GroupTalent and other job boards is the curation aspect to the service. Only 20% of all applicants get in, as the company denies those it doesn’t believe meets a certain quality bar. This filtering process is currently done through manual review in combination with some algorithms that rank the applicants based on open source contributions.
To date, GroupTalent has received applications from over 500 developers and designers from 300 teams who have completed $200,0000 worth of projects. Typically, projects submitted range from $10,000 to $100,000.
With today’s addition of the automatic job-matching feature, the company is able to match projects with talent who already know their way around a given problem space.
For now, explains Medina, “the demographic that we’ve found gravitating to our service early on is other startups who want a specialist to knock out an entire app,” he says. “In the future, we believe a good customer segment for us will be larger companies who want to bring in experienced developers to move quickly and build out an idea in the fraction of the time an internal team would take. Sort of startups-for-hire.”
You can check out the new refresh of GroupTalent here.
The first 10 companies to submit projects using the code TALENTCRUNCH will not be charged for the standard match and management fee (a 20% discount).