Y Combinator Backs Its Next Nonprofit, Coding Education Program CodeNow (YC W14)

"CodeNow is announcing that it has joined incubator Y Combinator — a move that founder and CEO Ryan Seashore said will help with the programming education nonprofit’s ambitious plans for growth.

CodeNow aims to teach programming basics to high schoolers, particularly girls, ethnic minorities, and other underrepresented groups. It launched in Washington, D.C. in 2011 before expanding to New York City and San Francisco last year." 

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42 (YC W14), An Online Platform Bringing Big Data To Brick-And-Mortar Retailers, Makes Its Debut

"Y Combinator-backed online retailer platform and former TechCrunch Disrupt participant42, is today making its official debut. The company, founded only a year ago, is working to turn raw point-of-sale data into actionable insights for brick-and-mortar businesses that can help them boost their sales.

This includes details about a store’s best customers or which products are top sellers, among other things.

The data is something that retailers have access to, but may have a hard time making sense of on their own. Or they may have limited resources to do the kind of analysis that allows them to draw the insights 42′s software-based solution can provide. Retailers might try importing their own data into Excel, which can crash and cause headaches, for example. Meanwhile, their other options for this kind of analysis have traditionally been more expensive, custom software integrations."

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Superhost (YC W14) Is A Property Management Service For Airbnb Listings

"Airbnb is officially no longer just a cute way to make some extra cash by renting out a spare room in your apartment. It’s a big business now. And like most other big businesses, it’s entered a period where managed services have emerged to support super users on the platform.

Enter Superhost, which has quietly emerged as a property management service for Airbnb hosts.

Superhost reduces the pain associated with managing your Airbnb listing — like updating your listing’s calendar and responding to guest emails, as well as setting up cleaning services for your listing in between guest stays. That’s important because the faster a host responds to a guest request, the more likely they are to stay at a certain place. And cleanliness is increasingly becoming an important part of boosting ratings of your listing." 

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Ambition (YC W14) Offers A Fantasy Football-Style Approach To Motivating Sales Teams

"Ambition says it’s taking the process of tracking and motivating sales teams beyond white boards and gongs.

The startup, which is part of the current class at incubator Y Combinator, launched its product last August, but has been “flying under the radar” in the press until now, said co-founder Travis Truett. He compared Ambition’s approach to fantasy football — he’s hoping Ambition users will be excited to log in every day and see how their team is doing.

Unlike fantasy football, however, Ambition isn’t tracking professional athletes competing against each other in imaginary matches. (At least, that’s how I remember fantasy football — it’s been a long time since someone strong-armed me into participating.) Instead, it looks at the performance of different sales teams within the company, allowing them to compete for limited “seasons”, with rewards for the winners.

Each team member is assigned an “ambition” score. The specific metrics that are used to calculate the score can be customized for each company and each position, so Truett suggested that it’s a way to compare people who are doing different positions."

Benchling (YC S12) Is Modernizing Software For Biotech Labs

"After the last two decades of consumer Internet and mobile innovation, is biotech or bioinformatics the next wave?

There are a handful of San Francisco-based startups that cross the bridge between the worlds of biotechnology and computer science.

Benchling is one of them.

Backed with about $900,000 from YCombinator, SV Angel, Founders Fund’s angel investing fund, Draper Associates and other angels, the company offers DNA editing and analysis software to biotech labs and researchers. With the entire team coming from MIT with skills in both computer science and biology, they’re competing against older, more cumbersome software solutions in the space."

An AT&T For Dentistry? Y Combinator-Backed Weave (YC W14) Launches To Bring Modern Telecom To SMBs

"Today, with access to the cloud and affordable SaaS-based solutions fast increasing, small businesses are adopting the kind of services and tools that were once reserved for their enterprise counterparts in droves. It’s happening across the board, from business apps, securitya and CRM to BI, accounting and telecommunications. Y Combinator-backed Weave is one of a growing set of companies looking to capitalize on this trend and bring modern software and services to the millions of small businesses that have traditionally been underserved by big players."

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ZenPayroll (YC W12) raises $20 million from Kleiner, General Catalyst

"ZenPayroll, whose service helps small business run their payrolls over the web, is a tiny startup in a field dominated by giants like ADP (ADP), Paychex (PAYX), and Intuit (INTU).

Yet in the past five months alone, ZenPayroll has gone from processing paychecks at a rate of $100 million to $400 million annually. The staggering growth suggests there is plenty of demand among small businesses for its easy-to-use payroll services.

The growth is also a reason why investors like Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and General Catalyst Partners are sinking $20 million into ZenPayroll."

Read the full story on Fortune

Kimono (YC W14) Is A Smarter Web Scraper That Lets You “API-ify” The Web, No Code Required

"A new Y Combinator-backed startup called Kimono wants to make it easier to access data from the unstructured web with a point-and-click tool that can extract information from webpages that don’t have an API available. And for non-developers, Kimono plans to eventually allow anyone track data without needing to understand APIs at all.

This sort of smarter “web scraper” idea has been tried before, and has always struggled to find more than a niche audience. Previous attempts with similar services like Dapper or Needlebase, for example, foldedYahoo Pipes still chugs along, but it’s fair to say that the service has long since been a priority for its parent company.

But Kimono’s founders believe that the issue at hand is largely timing."

Eventjoy (YC W14) Is A One-Stop Shop For Organizing Events

"Y Combinator-backed Eventjoy, a service that makes it easier to organize events using online and mobile tools, is officially making its debut today, offering support for online ticketing, event websites, mobile event apps, Twitter walls, and more. The company, previously known as EXMO, had in the past been more focused on its mobile application for event organizers, but is now working to offer a complete solution that can handle everything from accepting payments to polling users after the event has wrapped."

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Abacus (YC W14) Wants To Make Expense Reports Obsolete

"Expense reports are a special kind of hell. Employees are often stuck wondering when, if ever, they will get reimbursed. Managers and accountants, on the other hand, have to deal with extra paperwork and making sure that every meal, bar tab, and taxi fare was actually business-related. Y Combinator-backed startup Abacus wants to keep everyone from murdering each other with an app that ”kills the expense report” instead."