Demo Day: Y Combinator's Spring Chicks

y combinatorAfter Condé Nast, owner of Wired and other magazines/websites, acquired Y Combinator funded Reddit, people took notice. This wasn’t just some quirky incubator where they gave college students a few bucks to kick start their new companies (although it is that, too – their standard deal is $5000 + $5000 per founder, for 6%ish of the company) – real products were coming out of Y Combinator, and people started to notice.

Y Combinator funds startups twice per year, in batches. Funded startups that have previously launched include Reddit, Kiko, Loopt, ClickFacts, TextPayMe, Snipshot, Inkling, Flagr, Wufoo, YouOS, PollGround, LikeBetter, Thinkature, JamGlue, Shoutfit, Scribd, Weebly, Buxfer, and Octopart. Today, Y Combinator invited in TechCrunch and a select group of investors and industry experts to view the current crop of companies, just getting ready to launch. Michael Arrington and I attended the sessions, and our notes on the new companies are below.

Here’s a rundown of who presented, minus a few who are still in stealth mode:

zenterlogo.pngZenter is an web based presentation app that promises to really take advantage of being online. Users will have the regular functionality of PowerPoint, but with the ability to directly add content from the web (Google Images). Each public slide show will also be put into a public library, for other users to remix or just drop into their show.

weeblylogo.pngWeebly is an AJAX website creator that recently joined Y Combinator. Weebly’s drag-n-drop interface lets you quickly put together a personal website any way you like. For the demonstration they recreated the Benchmark Capital website. They recently had a great upgrade to their site which included some slick new themes and layouts possibilities. Our previous coverage of Weebly is here and here.

virtualminlogo.pngVirtualmin is taking on the lack of innovation in the server admin programs, like Plesk, by making a more accessable version for pages managed by the non-technical crowd. The program will feature simple installs of popular programs like content management systems that often cost extra on other providers. It will also let you administer your website from your desktop and mobile device.

octopartlogo1.pngVertical search engine Octopart, which launched not too long ago, focuses on putting an end the inadequate search engines used by electronics parts manufacturers. Octopart lets you search, compare prices, and view specifications for parts on Allied Electronics, Digi-Key, Mouser, and Newark InOne. They have a deal with how-to hobbyist’s site, Instructables, to make buying parts for your project a snap. They’ve also got more parts supplies calling to get their data up on the site.

Mobile applications have so far been nightmares to implement. It’s often hard to gain adoption due to complicated installs and near impossible to get users to upgrade their version once the product has shipped. Tsumobi hopes to solve this problem by creating their own language. The new language will sit on top of J2ME and process applications downloaded (via URL) for Tsumobi enabled sites. This means that developers will be able to change Tsumobi applications on the fly and have Tsumobi enabled phones automatically get the updates just by visiting a link.

Whitenoise Networks
whitenoiselogo.pngWhitenoise is like a social network for the music industry. It comes with specially made tools for bands, agents, publicists, and venues to manage each part of their business. Bands will be able to manage their cross country tours by map, using a venue search to find gigs in any town they’re passing through. Venues will get access to a full list of artists in their area along with samples and ways to reach their agent to book a show.

buxferlogo1.pngBuxfer is Quicken for 20 somethings. As we covered before, it solves a problem similar to Billmonk, but with more advanced features. Buxfer tackles the unique needs of young people trying to find out where all their money evaporates to and reign in their expenses. To date, they’ve been tracking $8.4 million in over 30,000 transactions.
writewithlogo.pngWritewith is a collaborative writing web app, enabling you to easily flow through the steps of writing, editing, and publishing a document with a group. A document is started by uploading an existing document (.doc, .txt, .rdf) or just typing away. After the initial draft is completed, you can invite other editors by email and assign them tasks. Writewith has full version control and even lets you post comments to each other, making it possible to edit together in real time. Currently Writewith is in beta testing with 15 college newspapers including Stanford and two of Canada’s largest college papers (which even includes a national newswire).

socialmothlogo.pngSocialmoth is a community to post your thoughts anonymously. You can view postings (mostly gossip and secrets) from the whole community as well as get updates for when someone in your group of friends makes a post. The vast majority of their members appear to be women, with over 600 posts being made per day. These guys will also be taking a new spin on their idea, launching, a place to post anonymously about your workplace. The system will verify your organization by email address (like Facebook) and let you start riffing. Outsiders will be able to see the existence of the forum and volume of posting, but not the specific comments.

view3logo.pngView3 plans on changing the way 3D models are made. Like Photosynth, View3 will let you walk into and explore 3D images of photos, but will let you use as little as one photo to get started. The project has been started by a group of 3 Stanford grad students and currently holds 2 patents in the area.


auctomaticlogo.pngeBay power users make an average of 400 listings per day. With 5 pages to fill to make a listing, that’s 2000 page views and a lot of clicking. Auctomatic plans to make this a whole lot simpler first by cutting it down to a single page and then adding more management features on top. eBay sales management is a category currently dominated by Vendio and Marketworks, who together contribute about $1.8 billion dollars of goods to the auction giant. For their service, these providers often take a percentage of sales, as well as a monthly fee that can be as high as $400. Auctomatic plans to have more a more flexible program and pricing. They have already raised $400K in angel financing apart from Y Combinator.

snipshotlogo1.pngSnipshot is a photo editor that lets you start editing any photo with one click of a bookmarklet. You can use Snipshot to crop, resize, adjust colors, an automatically enhance you photos within your browser and then save it back to the web. There are a couple other photo editors in this category and Photoshop plans to get in as well.