Startup accelerator Y Combinator is holding its summer 2013 demo day where 49 companies will launch their product in front of members of the tech community, investors, and the media. Held at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, the batch is a diverse one, especially after the 17 Demo Day events. Here’s a live blog of the event.
“The most awesome stage”
Last year, Facebook's VP of Design thought the TNW Conference main stage was the best she'd ever been on.
Calling itself the Yammer for the mobile workforce, GoComm came about when founder Travis Dredd encountered difficulty when serving as Chief of Staff for the Democratic National Convention. When last-minute venue change was needed, it proved to be a painful process. The service aims to make things transparent and has been profitable after signing its first contract worth $150,000 per year. It’s looking out at major events and working industries in construction, security, hotels, and others.
Calling itself the “Mint.com for legal bills”, SimpleLegal will take the paper documents law firms give you and analyzes it to help you save money. In the five weeks since it launched, it has grown 50 percent each week with customers including Sequoia Capital, Stripe, Pebble, MobileWorks, inDinero, and others.
A crowdfunding platform for real estate. The company thinks that this platform is needed because the time is now with the passage of the American Jobs Act and the success of other platforms like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and others. Since its launch, it has gained 500 accredited investors and has raised $550,000 towards a $1.35 billion market.
A mobile A/B testing service aimed at helping marketers change their company’s app without needing to speak with a developer. So far, users have downloaded the company’s SDK more than 1,000 times and is installed on over 1 million devices. It counts dozens of customers, including those in Fortune 500 companies.
WatchSend is a service that lets developers see videos of their users interacting with their apps. It’s taking on Mixpanel and other analytics services as it looks to aid developers in being proactive in enhancing and fixing problems in their apps. Since launching two weeks ago, the company says that it has been used by businesses like Klip, Streak, SendHub, Finish, Scoopkit, Universal Music Group, and others, with 1,000 recordingsgenerated per day.
A iPhone case that allows for interchangeable backplates for the mobile device. So far, it’s sold $2.25 million to date and looking to sell $7.5 million in 2013 — all with one product. The company thinks that it’s appealing because it’s functional in that it can replace your wallet or can be personalized to meet your needs. It bills itself as a billboard for brands. Epic Meal Time, a popular YouTube channel with 5.5 million subscribers has been using it.
The company has signed a deal with Zazzle allowing users to customize their backplates by the end of the month. It’s targeting a market with a price of $40 per case, with 740 million potential customers.
Aiming to be the “Yelp for Latin America”, Glio thinks that it has a niche to help people in the region search and find information on the Internet. The company says that it has been growing 40 percent month over month over the past 24 months, with 100,000 people using the service. Glio seeks to conquer the Internet throughout Latin America in many verticals.
A review service that makes it a comparison service. The site has been built around the “x versus y” mechanics. Any user can create a comparison and can vote and leave comments justifying their action. It has more than 6,000 users in the past 45 days. Toutpost thinks that finding reviews for a particular product is fragmented, meaning that they can be found on Yelp, Google, Bing, and other websites. It wants to centralize it under one roof and bring high-quality reviews to the surface to help consumers while also sharing it with merchants.
Toutpost aims to aggregate all of the reviews and be the de facto owner of people’s thoughts on the Internet.
This startup says that it has figured out how to bring $6 organic meals in 10 minutes. It says it’s the Uber of Food and launched 7 weeks ago with a $2 million run rate. It is seeing 112% growth by controlling the entire process by writing the code, make the food, and do the delivery themselves. SpoonRocket touts that in Berkeley, it has done more business in one day than GrubHub has done in a month. It’s looking for a $600 million run rate.
Prim is in the laundry business. Americans have a lot of dirty laundry where people have spent $15 billion in related services. This startup allows people to order online, get door to door delivery, and cleaning. It is taking on the local businesses, calling it a fragmented market that is unable to handle the scale of the online audience. Prim has grown to $7,000 in recurring monthly revenue in under two months. Average subscriber pays the company $80 per month and looks to add dry cleaning service in the future.
It has a 65 percent retention rate with customers.
7 Cups of Tea
A support group for your needs. The company says that it will match you up with an active listener that has been vetted so that they’re empathetic, non-judgemental, free/inexpensive, and convenient. In cases of emotional or psychological issues, customers don’t have to talk to their family or go through expensive therapy. Often times, people are not looking for a diagnosis, but rather a person to talk to.
The company takes a 40 percent cut on all transactions. It is doing more than 1,800 calls each week — a 40 percent growth rate week over week.
Don’t worry about conveying a status message during your site’s downtime. StatusPage not only lets you tell your customers why your site is down, but also targets the appropriate message to specific users. Since launching six months ago, it has seen 20 percent weekly revenue growth with $8,500 in recurring revenue. It’s being used by Citrix, Parse, New Relic, Podio, etc.
A variation of Git specifically for documents, the service aims to take this technology, simplify it, and use it for documents. Kivo is making it so Excel, PowerPoint, and Word are collaborative services, perhaps akin to Google Docs or what Quip currently offers. Basically, the company is bringing versioning control into document software. It launched its first product a few weeks ago and is being used by Deloitte, Accenture, SVB, Macy’s, GlaxoSmithKline, and others.
Admittedly a “weird idea” by the founders, it’s a service aiming to “eat up the immigration lawyer”. For tech companies, dealing with immigration is a tough, time-consuming, and difficult challenge. Teleborder has figured a way to make dealing with immigration issues simple. Companies log into the service and tell it who they want to bring over and Teleborder handles the rest. It charges $5,000 per application and with 900,000 applications per year in the US, it’s a $4.5 billion market alone.
With Teleborder, employees won’t have to worry about physical boundaries. Companies can use the service to find the best people.
A service looking to build Google Wave — well, using a part of it. It is targeting hackers from the get-go and has signed up 7,000 developers so far. With a freemium model, Floobits offers users a native text editor to work on code with other developers simultaneously.
EasyPost aims to help make shipping easier for e-commerce. It says that users prefer its solution because its API gives access to carrier rates and requires no additional development. In the last seven months, it has grown 179 percent month over month with 70,000 shipments. It is being used by Many Labs, Automatic, and others. In the US, shipping is a $26 billion industry and EasyPost charges 5 percent.
A startup looking to build simple API for commercial banking. It believes that it can help financial institutions to create their own development community. Banks are looking to make more money — the existing model isn’t possible due to new financial regulations and are turning to transactional revenue. Technology is something that banks lack and it’s said that they need to have someone that is well integrated with various APIs. Standard Treasury is in contract negotiations with 16 banks for 3 year contracts.
12:06 pm PST: We’re taking a bit of a break for lunch, but will be back for the second set of startups.
1:32 pm PST: We’re back and about to get ready for the second batch of companies to present. It turns out that Demo Day is a star-studded affair with folks like former Washington, DC mayor Adrian Fenty, MC Hammer, NFL legendary quarterback Joe Montana, Ashton Kutcher, and former NASA astronaut Mark Kelly in attendance.
Amulyte is a service designed to help senior citizens to be used in an emergency. It transmits locations and situation to family and friends through an online portal. This pendant object includes a speaker and microphone to help loved ones communicate with someone for assistance. It uses mobile, GPS and WiFi, and accelerometer.
Senior citizens will most likely find Amulyte to be useful both inside and outside of the home. The founders say that existing similar products just work inside the home, which is not really helpful when a majority of falls occur outside of someone’s residence.
A device costs $149 and a first version has already been built. It is working with a retirement home on a pilot program.
Calling itself the Netflix for women’s fashion, Le Tote will send a monthly box with various apparel and accessories. Already it is doing $70,000 in revenue, with 30 percent month-over-month growth and a 93 percent retention rate.
So why are customers interested in the product? The company says that it gives women what they want at a lower cost.
➤ Le Tote
Ixi-Play is a robot buddy meant for young kids to help with learning. With childcare experts suggesting that young kids shouldn’t have that much screen exposure, the question then becomes what do parents buy them to play with? Ixi-Play is that potential solution. It costs $299 and has an app store run on Android.
The device has been tested with 125 children in Europe and in the US with at least five different robots to play with.
Butter Systems looks to take on the paper restaurant menu — customers can order food and drink simply through the use of a tablet positioned at a table. In a test restaurant, it’s seeing a 13 percent boost in average check size and already 11 more deployments are planned. The menu is fully customizable and plug and play.
The service can let restaurant customers translate the menu into their native language as well.
A capital equipment marketplace, Asseta looks to help build a single place where people and companies can exchange goods, and it’s starting with the high tech market. Manufacturers aren’t inclined to put inventory on the web themselves. So far, in the past three months, it has collected 28,000 listings, with $212,000 in sales. It charges a 5 percent commission for everything sold on the site.
Hum aims to solve a major business problem: too much email and enables users to work in a collaborative fashion. It takes chats and organizes it by topic. People can be notified through @mentions. PDFs and files can be attached as well. All chats are synced across all devices. As you use Hum, the company says that you’ll use your inbox less and less.
True Link Financial aims to keep senior citizens safe from fraudulent charges. It allows its customers to use the money, but offers protections from any irregular activity. It calls itself the “scam-blocking card for grannies” and it is looking to other verticals, including college students and small businesses.
A web marketing service for local businesses, LocalOn says it’s figured a way to sell to these businesses to get them on the Internet. It acquires SMBs from newspapers and businesses associations. Customers will receive a dashboard where they can manage their website, social media, and advertisements. LocalOn has grown 30 percent month over month for the past 16 months and is aiming for $5 million in revenue by next year.
The market is filled with 20,000 associations that reach out to 9 million businesses.
Weilos is launching as a weight loss coaching service that helps people shed unwanted pounds thanks to people that have gone through the process themselves. It leverages peer coaching and has created ways to help people become an effective coach.
Creating a new generation of hearing aids, SoundFocus looks to take on hearing loss. the market is filled with 600 million that suffer from this issue, but 550 million don’t have the device. Why? Because it’s expensive, come with a stigma, and tough to get a diagnosis. SoundFocus says that it solves all of these concerns using intelligent software and low cost hardware.
Since its launch in the app store, SoundFocus’s product takes music and tunes it to your hearing device. Since then, it has become popular. Not content with that, the company is going after headphones and other accessories.
SoundFocus’s device will cost $70 and is considerably cheaper when you stack it up against a $2,000 unit that most people typically have.
Webflow seeks to rid the world of web developers — okay, not literally, but the company is launching a service that caters towards designers. Currently, designers that craft work for multiple devices, the hard part is taking it to a developer and having them to code it. With Webflow, it takes the design and pushes it to the Web and mobile devices easily. So far, in two weeks, it has accrued 25,000 users, many that spend three hours a day.
Calling itself the Stripe for printing, Lob offers an API to help you bring printing into the technology space. With cloud-printing, users can take care of anything ink can touch, including documents, photos, posters, mugs, and checks. In two months of existence, Lob says that it has seen 200 percent weekly revenue growth. The founders come from Amazon Web Services and Microsoft.
Estimote is a powerful and tiny sensor to help you locate people precisely down to the inches. The idea is that if you happen to be at IKEA shopping, you see a chair, take out your phone, and it will display what you’re looking at, thanks to a beacon positioned nearby that knows your location. It’s done through Bluetooth low energy. Estimote is building a wireless network of sensors that will transmit location to various devices and developers are using it through it’s SDK.
A food delivery service, DoorDash aims to take on Seamless, GrubHub, TaskRabbit, and Postmates. The company says that it not only helps with lead generation, but also delivery — something that it claims “no one in this space” does. When an order is made in the system, it’s processed through an iPad installed in the restaurant. The delivery driver uses a logistics system that DoorDash created itself.
There have been 3,500 deliveries today with an average time of 44 minutes. It’s weekly orders have grown 31 percent and has generated $1.5 million in annualized restaurant sales.
One Month Rails
One Month Rails is a coding service that teaches you to become a developer in one month’s time. So far it’s grown 120 percent each month with up to $40,000 generated just last month alone. In the next six months, it’s going to release new classes, focusing on Ruby, Lean Marketing, HTML/CSS, and APIs. The company aims to take on the likes of Khan Academy and Codecademy.
Looking to help immigrants to send money back to their loved ones in Latin America. Currently, when people get money sent to them, they have to deal with difficult logistics, threat of theft, and taxation by courier services like Western Union. With Regalii’s service, the remittance is done through SMS. So far, it is growing 67 percent week over week with 1,100 customers in one month and that’s with one neighborhood.
Regalii has set contracts with 7200 locations in 8 countries and every retailer pays the company a fee of $4. Customers pay $3 per transaction to use the service.
Meta has taken a 3D machine that takes a hologram and allows you to shape things with your hand. It’s akin to Google Glass, but lets you virtually create objects and then have it created through the use of a printer like a Makerbot. The device uses augmented reality and uses industry experts like Steve Mann (inventor of wearable computing) and Steve Feiner (pioneer of augmented reality). The company has soled $500,000 of devices sold each week.
2:31 pm PST: It’s time for a 15 minute break. We’ll be back to wrap up the last batch of startups.
2:50 pm PST: And we’re back for the last set of companies.
Dubbing themselves the “Uber for flowers”, BloomThat will deliver flowers in under 90 minutes. The company tested a hypothesis whether people would send flowers more if it was as easy as sending a text. It’s targeting an $8 billion market. BloomThat is looking to grow nationwide in the US and is taking on existing competitors like 1-800-Flowers.
The company says that customers are getting better flowers, faster delivery and retailers are getting more business. The service is live in San Francisco.
Crowdery is a service that does A/B testing for physical products. It aims to solve a problem the founders had — finding out what products will sell well when dealing with their first venture, a backpacking company. It looked at Kickstarter when it comes to the power of pre-orders to help validate demand. Crowdery takes consumer preferences on brand samples and offers predictive analytics to help make production decisions.
There are 150 brands already using Crowdery and it’s growing 50 percent week-over-week. It’s charging a 30 percent commission for its service.
Datarank is taking on social media analytics and finding ways to give brands better customer intelligence. It’s already being used by many companies including Clorox and Walmart, and each one is paying them $5,000 a month with a $500,000 run rate.
Reebee takes flyers (not coupons) and brings it to the mobile device. The idea is that with digital flyers, it will motivate customers to go into a particular store. The North American market is $3 billion and so far, the company has seen 48 percent monthly growth and is being used by The Home Depot, Metro, Lowes, and other retail giants.
The company hopes that in the future, it will be able to offer up flyers personalized to the customer since it’s all managed electronically.
A hiring service that is competing against Coderwall, Geeklist, and other developer recruiting services, Hackermeter tests potential hires to assess their skill sets against the right jobs and companies. It has partnered with 14 companies like Mixpanel, Asana, Square, Hearsay Social, and others, with 30 more waiting to join.
Hackermeter will make $10,000 to $20,000 per hire.
Using data analytics, Panorama Education aims to improve schools. It’s already in 3,600 schools with all annual paying contracts. Organizations like Teach for America, KIPP, and others are participating and is seeing $500,000 in annual revenue. 41 states have added long-term mandates to use data and Panorama aims to take advantage of it.
The company is in 225 districts and is on track to pass $1 million in annual recurring revenue by September. It charges $10 per student per month.
Casetext is a legal service that aims to challenge LexisNexis and Westlaw. The founders are lawyers who recently were editors of the Stanford and Harvard Law Review publications. So far, it has seen annotations on its website grow 33 percent week over week. The service has seen users like Supreme Court litigators, prominent professors, big law firms, and more.
The service charges $100 per month to the US’s 1.2 million lawyers.
Calling itself a global Bitcoin exchange, Buttercoin will send money across borders instantly for free. It says its technology is fast and it operates legally in every country it operates in. The company will make money by charging customers to convert currency out of Bitcoin. It hopes to be in nine countries in six months, including Canada, New Zealand, and the US.
CoreOS is a server software that takes what Google offers and packages it as a Linux OS. It put out its developer alpha a few weeks ago and seen tremendous growth.
A “try it before you buy it” service for consumer electronics, Lumoid ships items to users through a subscription format. If customers don’t like it, the data is used to prevent shipping similar items to that user. The company is starting in the $2 billion photography market and will expand to other sectors. In the past 8 weeks since it launched, Lumoid has seen a 30 percent conversion rate, an 18 percent repeat rate, and 5,000 customers on its wait list.
A precise measurement service for phones, Senic wants to tackle the $46 billion a year industry. Its first measurement is linear distance. The company has done the smallest and smartest laser distance meter and when a measurement is determined, it can be passed along to smartphones or collaborated on through the company’s web portal.
3:20pm PST: The last three companies are all “off the record” so there aren’t going to be any notes from those companies.
3:30pm PST: And that’s a wrap!
Photo credit: Paul Miller