Backlift (YC W12) launches a back-end service for front-end developers, works great with Dropbox, Backbone, and Angular

Backlift, a Y Combinator-backed startup that’s launching today, describes itself as a back-end service for front-end developers. The service takes all of the work of setting up a server environment out of the equation and just lets front-end developers focus on their work. All a user needs is a Dropbox account – Backlift uses Dropbox as a file syncing service – and a text editor. With Backlift, a developer doesn’t need to know how to set up Rails,Django or node.js to get started.

Read the full article on Techcrunch

ZenPayroll (YC W12) launches ZenPayroll for Accountants, making it easy for them to manage all their clients from one dashboard

YC-backed ZenPayroll, the startup that offers an easy to use, cloud-based payroll application, is debuting a new product today—ZenPayroll for Accountants.

ZenPayroll, which has a list of all-star investors, is disrupting a space that incumbents like ADP and Paychex have dominated for some time. The startup offers a much simpler, cloud-based way to automate all payroll tax calculations and payments, as well as provide direct deposit to employees. And the application allows for filing of all payroll-related government documents paperlessly.

With the initial product, ZenPayroll was aiming at small businesses and companies who use ADP. With the launch of ZenPayroll for Accountants, the startup is hoping to attract independent accountants, bookkeepers and CPAs who manage a number of small businesses.

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Optimizely (YC W10) raises $28M from Benchmark Capital, growing over 400% a year

Many congrats to the Optimizely team!

    • Raised $28 million led by Benchmark Capital with participation by Bain Capital Ventures, Battery Ventures, InterWest Partners, and Google Ventures.
    • Annual revenue growth rate over 400% and revenue run rate in double digit millions.
    • Expanding to 9 languages representing 36 countries.
    • Signed 56,000 sq ft lease at a beautiful new San Francisco office with room to grow to 450 people.
    • Big investment in making website personalization as easy and fun as we’ve made A/B testing.
    • We’re just getting started.

Read the full article on the Optimizely blog

Tastemaker (YC S12) launches a personalized interior design service for the rest of us - world class interior design starting at $400

Tastemaker, the online interior design service that matches you to the right interior designer and then delivers a custom decorating package right to your door, launched today. We check out the cool new service, and chat with Co-founder and CEO, Joe Fraiman.

An online interior design company carrying the tagline "Design for everyone," Tastemaker aims to make personal interior designer services easy and affordable. The service is a little bit like Match for decorating: you take a visual design personality quiz, answer some questions about your maddening design 'ish (Boring bedroom? Cluttered living room? No problem) and share a little about your project budget. Next, Tastemaker's personalized service matches you with three potential interior designers—for free. You choose the one that suits your needs, and the fun begins!


Think personalized interior design consulting for the rest of us—or expertly guided DIY decorating. (All with a click of a mouse!) Pricing ranges from as low as $400 up to about two grand on the splurge end of the tastemaking spectrum.

Tastemaker launches today in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York, but the company has plans to expand and Fraiman notes the business model is set up to scale for additional cities fairly quickly as demand grows.

Creative Market (YC W10) releases an Adobe Photoshop extension that lets you buy premium design content without ever leaving Photoshop

Creative Market just launched its Photoshop Extension, now bringing the ability to buy creative items all the way into the main design tool designers love to use. All items purchased are instantly installed and usable, including brushes, textures, templates, and most anything else you can buy on Creative Market. 

Download the Photoshop Extension now at Creative Market

Coderwall (YC W12) launches Pitchbox, a recruiting service for the very best hackers to find their dream jobs

Y Combinator-backed Coderwall started out as a social site for developers to list their achievements and projects, but it has been moving into recruiting — first by allowing companies to build their own profiles and now with the launch of a new service called Pitchbox.

It’s a separate site from Coderwall, where developers describe the salary and work they’d want from their dream jobs. Then Pitchbox uses a combination of human curation and automation to recommend positions that they might be interested in, delivered as a personalized pitch. If the developer is interested, Pitchbox arranges for a 10-minute conversation with a developer at the recruiting company.

Founder Matt Deiters said this has a number of advantages over the normal recruiting process. For one thing, it avoids the random spam that developers often receive (and ignore) from recruiters. For another, it puts people who aren’t actively looking for new jobs in a position where they can still hear about opportunities that they’d be genuinely excited about.

Read the full article on Techcrunch

Firebase (YC S11) launches Firepad, an collaborative editor just like Google Docs that's open source

Y Combinator-backed Firebase is expanding the infrastructure that it offers to app developers with its first module — Firepad, a Google Docs-style text editor that allows you to collaborate with others.

To a consumer, that might not sound very exciting. After all, we’ve already got Google Docs. However, co-founder and CEO James Tamplin said that those kinds of capabilities are limited to big companies with “a ton of Google-quality engineers.” With Firepad, however, developers can add text editing and document collaboration to their own apps without too much extra work.

To build Firepad, Tamplin said his team had an advantage, because “we’ve got most of the pieces in place already.” Building on top of the existing Firebase platform made things “significantly easier,” but he added, “It still wasn’t trivial.” Firepad is a full-featured text editor, with capabilities like conflict resolution, cursor synchronization, user attribution, and user presence detection.

Read the full article on Techcrunch

HireArt (YC W12) wants to help you find a job at an education startup

If you’re not familiar with hiring platform, HireArt, they’re the startup that inspired this memorable headline, courtesy of my colleague Sarah Perez. Yes, the Y Combinator-incubated startup launched in March last year to provide a new solution to an age-old problem experienced by every employer during the hiring process: Resumes are bullshit.

Job candidates have a tendency to oversell themselves and fluff up their qualifications in their resumes, leaving employers to sort out the wheat from the hyperbolic chaffe. So HireArt devised a solution in which employers can ask applicants to complete a series of tasks in their purported areas of expertise to help them get a better sense of their actual skills. Using the startup’s platform, candidates can search for jobs and positions that are relevant to them, complete challenges and fill out applications, sending the finished product to employers with one click.

Today, HireArt is bringing its model to one of the hottest arenas in Startup Land: Education technology. The startup announced today that it is launching an Education Technology Challenge, which is designed to help people who want to work in EdTech with startups that are hiring, and, in turn, help education companies identify the best candidates.

HireArt co-founder Elli Sharef tells us that more than 50 companies have already signed on to participate in the challenge, including Scholastic, General Assembly, LearnSprout and Edmodo — to name a few.

Read the full article at Techcrunch (YC S12) Team Morphs Its Music Discovery Site, Hipset, Into A YouTube Network For Celebrities

Last summer, the guys from launched Hipset as a discovery site for music aficionados. The idea was to provide a place for music fans to keep track of all the latest jams from their favorite artists. And, in turn, to provide a new marketing channel for celebrities to promote their music and to get fans to sign up and like their Facebook pages and posts and whatnot.

The team is still working on Hipset, but over the last several months they’ve morphed it into something totally new. That is, they’ve made it into a YouTube network for musicians and celebrities, providing them a way to reach new audiences, as well as promote and monetize their videos.

The new YouTube network follows the lead of those which have come before it, aggregating various channels of video creators and finding new ways to manage those channels at scale. In that way, it’s not all that different from what the folks at Machinima or Maker Studios are doing. Except, of course, that Hipset is designed for, and is made up of, a whole bunch of celebrities, whom the team has been working with over the last several years.

Today, Hipset has about a dozen different celebrities signed up for the network, including folks like Tyga, Souljaboy, Lil Twist, Daughtry, 3 Doors Down, Rob Zombie, Kraddy, Kris Allen, DJ Skee, Tory Lanez, and Ryan Leslie. Together, they have more than a billion video views, more than a million subscribers, and more than 35 million fans across other social networks, like Facebook and Twitter.

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TapIn.TV (YC S12) evolves into Framebase, making building products that use video much easier

Sometimes, the business you should be building is hidden beneath the one you already are.

Back in early 2012, four friends set out to build TapIn.TV. As one of many competitors in the crowded live mobile video broadcasting space, TapIn.TV focused almost entirely on video. After months of development, they noticed something rather troubling: building video stuff — the uploading, the recording, the playback — is too damned hard. So they’re setting out to fix it.

Over the past few months, the company (part of Y-Combinator’s Summer 2012 class) has quietly been changing directions. What was once TapIn.TV is now Framebase, an infrastructure service meant to make adding video functionality to a project a matter of dropping in a few lines of code.

Read the full article on Techcrunch