Y Combinator Now Invests $120k Per Startup, Ends YCVC Program

Rich Uncle PennybagsNew investments by Y Combinator will now each receive $120k directly from Y Combinator.  Y Combinator has also ended the YCVC Program.  YCVC was an $80k convertible note investment available to every YC startup beginning with YC W13.  YCVC replaced the Start Fund, which was a $150k convertible note available since YC W11.  The rumor that YCVC would end was initially reported a month ago by Dan Primack on Fortune.com.  I also have written several posts explaining that Y Combinator’s previous investment terms were increasingly irrational. Continue reading

Dropbox Acquires YC Startups Loom And Hackpad

DropboxDropbox has acquired Hackpad and Loom, two startups both from YC W12.  Loom’s team will work on Dropbox Carousel, according to the announcement on Loom’s company blog.  Hackpad will continue to be supported for both existing and new customers, as indicated in Hackpad’s announcement.  These acquisitions are the third and fourth acquisitions of YC-funded startups by Dropbox, which itself has the highest valuation of any company funded by Y Combinator. Continue reading

Authy Is Two-Factor Authentication For Security Beyond Passwords

authyAuthy enables everybody to have the extra security of two-factor authentication instead of just passwords.  Keeping track of websites that offer two-factor authentication is easy with Authy’s free app on iOS AppStore and Google Play for Android.  Developers can add two-factor authentication using Authy’s free platform.  Mainstream news reports like the recent Heartbleed Bug are reminders that passwords themselves don’t provide much security.  Two-factor authentication is simpler than it sounds.  Many popular websites already support two-factor authentication. Continue reading

Smartwatch+ Wins Pebble App Challenge

pebble-app-challenge-winnerSmartwatch+ has won the Pebble App Challenge.  The contest began with 218 contestants.  Public voting resulted in 16 finalist apps.  Finalists competed throughout this week in a series of bracket-based votes by registered Pebble users.  The final match-up was Smartwatch+ against Glance.  All  sixteen finalists each receive a Pebble Steel.  The developer of Smartwatch+, Robert Hesse, also wins the $5,000 prize.  Here’s some details about Smartwatch+.  The Pebble App Challenge also provides some insight into how people actually use smartwatches. Continue reading

MadeSolid Is Better Materials For 3D Printers

madesolidMadeSolid has a vision to advance the capabilities of 3D printers through better materials.  Existing popular 3D printers like MakerBot utilize fused deposition modeling (FDM), an extrusion process involving heated plastic filament.  Stereolithography (SLA) is a more advanced technology that sculpts by firing a laser on a vat of UV curable liquid resin.  Formlabs Form 1 is one such 3D printer that uses SLA.  MadeSolid formulates and sells new types of consumable materials for creating better projects on both FDM and SLA 3D printers. Continue reading

Pebble App Challenge Finalists Announced

pebble-app-challenge-winnerPebble Smartwatch has announced the sixteen finalist apps in its first-ever Pebble App Challenge.  The developer of each of these apps will receive a Pebble Steel.  These sixteen apps will also compete through the first week of April to determine the winner of the $5,000 prize.  Each app submitted to the contest has its own app details page on the Pebble App Challenge website.  Many of these apps have video demonstrations, which are worth checking out.  Below are details of all sixteen finalist apps. Continue reading

Virtual Reality: Real Products for Cyberspace

virtual_reality_alicia_silverstoneVirtual reality got me interested in technology in the early 1990′s.  Two decades ago, “cyberspace” was still an exciting new concept.  I’ve met several virtual reality pioneers over the years, including VPL Research co-founder Jaron Lanier, hardware hacker Mitch Altman, and cyberpunk sci-fi author Rudy Rucker.  The vision for virtual reality was the ability to put on a pair of stereoscopic glasses and instantly join a realtime tribal jam session with other cybercitizens playing MIDI-powered virtual instruments.  The recent acquisition of Oculus by Facebook breathes new life into virtual reality.  However, 3d glasses themselves are little more than fancy telephones (Eyephones).  SpaceBase, Thalmic Labs MYO Armband, Meta SpaceGlasses, and Casetext are YC companies building solutions with virtual reality applications. Continue reading

YC Startups: Tell Me About Upcoming Events

ycuniverseYCUniversecom, this website’s Twitter account, follows every known YC startup.  Startups frequently mention upcoming events they are either sponsoring or attending.  However, the startups don’t do an effective job of promoting the event.  Mentioning immediately before, or during, the event doesn’t give anybody an opportunity to plan to attend.  Also, tweets limit your audience to people that already follow you and just happen to notice the tweet in their timeline.  My solution: An upcoming events page to list events either hosted by or featuring YC-funded startups. Continue reading