YCombinator Shrinks Class Size Too, Smaller Is Better

YCombinator,Startup accelerator,Paul GrahamLate last week we reported that Paul Graham’s YCombinator was changing it’s seed investment structure going into the “Winter 2013” class of startups. What began as power angels Ron Conway and Yuri Milner investing $150,000 into each of the YCombinator startups has been reduced to a seed investment of $80,000 with four stake holders, further diluting the risk.

When Graham started YCombinator it was (and still is) one of the best startup accelerators in the country. Graham and the YC team made it big, big, big. Big money, big names, big startups. After two years though, it seems that Graham and his cohorts are honing in on the things that really matter. While their first class was 66 startups and their next class was 84 startups, you still needed to be the “best of the best”, for your team to get in.

Of course with 84 teams, there were even some bad apples in the “best of the best”. Graham reports in this blog post that:

“The reason we accepted fewer applications was that in summer 2012 we grew too fast. We had 66 companies in winter 2012, and that was fine, but for some reason more things than usual broke when we jumped from 66 to 84.”

While some may suggest the reduction in class size this time around is about stacking the deck, what YCombinator is really trying to do is weed out as much possible failure as they can. This way they can focus on growing the best of the best, to be, well, the best.  Graham says to do that they needed to start looking at the predictors of failure rather than the predictors of success.

They’ve finished the interviews for the Winter class and right now have less than 50 startups signed up. That doesn’t mean that number will stay the same. As Graham explains there are startups that get in after the interview process and others that drop out or fall apart before they can be funded. He’s also quick to point out that this number may not stay the same. As odd it it may be to hear, YCombinator, is itself still a startup and they’re still iterating themselvers.


YCombinator original blog post

More startup news from “Everywhere else”

Are you coming to “everywhereelse.co The Startup Conference” It’s the biggest in the country

Google Ventures “We Will Never Invest In A Company That Tanks” Gets Fund Upped To $1.5B

Google Ventures, Venture Capital, Google, Startups,startup,startup funding, raising capital Google’s venture arm, Google Ventures, is the proud recipient of $1.5 billion dollars in capital to invest in startups through 2017. Google Ventures has been the venture arm of the search and web giant since 2009. A mix of great entrepreneurs are involved with Google Ventures including Rich Miner one of the co-founders of Android and Kevin Rose (or is he).

While Google is known for their acquihires to bring talent from strategically related startups into the Google umbrella, Google Ventures is investing in startups for financial reasons and not necessarily for strategic partnerships. Some of their investments to date include HomeAway, Nest Labs and 23andMe.

The $1.5 billion dollar commitment is $100 million dollars more per year than Google Ventures has had in the past. Traditionally they’ve had $200 million a year to invest. That brings 2012 to $300 million, along with 2013 and the remaining years after that through 2014.

Google Ventures managing partner Bill Maris told the Wall Street Journal’s, Venture Capital Dispatch, that it took about 30 minutes to convince the powers that be at Google to up the ante.  Maris is also very confident in the fund, telling the Journal “We will not invest in any company that tanks”

In addition to the investment Google Ventures now offers their portfolio companies a whole suite of services like design, marketing and technical recruiting. Of course all of these are resources that Google is very good at already.

The increase in funding was announced via a tweet last Thursday at a gathering in Mountain View of 100 Google Ventures portfolio companies.


Source: WSJ Venture Capital Dispatch

Startup news from nibletz.com

Make sure you come to this startup conference


Election Day: Uber Will Get You To Or From The Polls Free!

Uber, Election Day, Election Day 2012, startup,startups,car serviceToday is election day and no matter who you’re voting for you need to stand up and vote to be heard. As we’ve said numerous times, if you can stand in line all night for an iPhone, the latest iPad or the new Wii U, you can certainly stand in line to vote for the next President of the United States.

Our favorite Silicon Valley startup (and one of the only SV startups we report on) Uber, wants to make it easier on people trying to get to or from their polling place.

Uber has teamed up with Rock The Vote to offer all voters in America who’ve never tried Uber, a “Free(dom) Ride” to or from their polling place. As long as you’re in an Uber market simply download the Uber app from the iTunes app store or the Google Play store and if you’re a first time Uber user, use the code “VOTEUBER”, request a ride and as long as it’s under $20.12 it’s free. Otherwise the first $20.12 is free.

Here are the requirements:

  • One FREE(DOM) RIDEto OR from the polls is available for any first time Uber client up to $20.12 off – any amount exceeding $20.12 will be charged to your card on file.
  • The Uber trip must begin or end at a national polling location and is valid during voting hours on Tuesday, November 6th.
  • The FREE RIDE requires an Uber account and use of Uber’s iPhone/Android app orm.uber.com mobile web to request.

Uber didn’t forget about their loyal customers either this election day, here are some other promotions going on:

  • Chicago: FREE(DOM) TAXI RIDE for Chicagoans
  • Philly – A FREE Uber ride up to $50 to the most creative “I Voted Today!” TwitPic! Tweet all entries to @Uber_Philly
  • San Diego – A FREE Uber ride up to $50  to the most creative “I Voted Today!” TwitPic! Tweet all entries to @Uber_SD
  • LA – A FREE Uber ride up to $50  to the most creative “I Voted Today!” TwitPic! Tweet all entries to @Uber_LA
  • ATL- A FREE Uber ride up to $50  to the most creative “I Voted Today!” TwitPic! Tweet all entries to @Uber_ATL. More details here.

Remember this election day vote, and then vote Uber.


Uber’s election day blog post

Other Uber coverage from nibletz.com (including why we cover Uber even though they’re in the valley)

You should be here too, in February




Silicon Valley Startup: Sooligan Moves To Arkansas To Help Strangers INTERVIEW

Startups flock in droves from their home city to Silicon Valley. It’s like the pilgrimage that actors and actresses make to Hollywood and models make to New York (some startups too). It’s not often that you hear of a startup moving from Silicon Valley to “everywhere else” to grow.

Back in June we brought you the story of the vitamin and supplement subscription box startup, Bulu Box. The husband and wife team behind Bulu Box moved from Silicon Valley to Lincoln Nebraska to grow their startup. Paul and Stephanie Jarrett were able to get an investment from the Nebraska Angels. They decided to pack things up and move to Nebraska, not only because of the investment but because costs would be more manageable there.

Today we’ve found Sooligan. Sooligan is a social discovery startup for the things around you. The idea behind the startup is that whether you’re traveling to a new city or your’re moving their, you can use Sooligan to crowdsource expert advice from the best experts, the locals.

Sooligan has rolled a few concepts into one big idea. They submitted the idea to the Ark Challenge accelerator in Fayetteville Arkansas and we’re accepted.

The two female founders from Sooligan, Nikka Umil and Natasha Malaihollo have relocated their headquarters to Fayetteville and plan on staying there after the accelerator program is over. Umil told nibletz.com why they decided to relocate to Arkansas and then stay there:

“I think everyone already knows about Berkeley! It is minutes away from Silicon Valley, and is a hub for the country’s best and brightest. This makes moving to Fayetteville, Arkansas (where we are currently based) quite shocking and a bit unexpected. We had NO clue whatsoever that this place had a booming startup scene/culture. We were very surprised by what we found once we started researching the area. Not ony is it home to the biggest Forbes 500 and 1000 companies, but it is also home to great up-and-coming startups like TTAGG, MobileFWD, Acumen Brands and more. Initiatives like the Ark Challenge and The Iceberg are also testaments to the growing startup culture in the area.”

Umil found a laundry list of accolades for their new home:


· Forbes named Fayetteville, Arkansas, a Best Place for Businesses and Careers.

· Fast Company recently named Fayetteville, AR as one of the “9 cities you wouldn’t think are hubs for tech startups” http://www.entrepreneur.com/slideshow/224504

· Travel + Leisure named Bentonville, Arkansas, one of the hottest travel destinations for 2012.

· The region, relatively insulated from the macroeconomy, offers a high quality of life and low cost of living.

· Northwest Arkansas is home to Fortune 500 and 1000 companies, as well as thousands of their big-brand suppliers.

· In 2011, Arkansas was cited by CNBC as having the lowest overall cost of doing business in the nation.

· The Kauffman Foundation ranks Arkansas as the 15th most entrepreneurial state in 2011 in the current issue of its annual report, the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity. The calculated index for Arkansas is at 0.34%, which means there are 340 entrepreneurs per 100,000 adults per month in the Natural State.

· The nation is seeing progress, innovation clusters and cultural revival in the Midwest and American South.

· Northwest Arkansas is the sixth fastest growing region in the country, surrounded by the beautiful Ozark Mountains.

· The Northwest Arkansas MSA has grown 35% since 2000 and now numbers more than 463,000 residents—the fastest growing population in Middle America.

· Northwest Arkansas is a hub at the center of a regional market including Dallas, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Kansas City, St. Louis, Little Rock, and Memphis metropolitan areas.

· Northwest Arkansas has a welcoming entrepreneurial culture with quick-start networking opportunities.

· Northwest Arkansas sees a high degree of philanthropic engagement from its citizenry, as well as creative and business communities.

· Northwest Arkansas has the most billionaires per capita than anywhere in the United States.

· As part of a regional strategic economic development plan, Northwest Arkansas has an intentional focus onnurturing mobile and Internet startups.

Below is the rest of our interview with Umil.

Read More…

Uber Hits Mega Capacity In Charlotte At The DNC 2012 And Issues Uber Users Credits

As our long time readers know Uber is the only Valley based startup that we cover on nibletz.com  we do this because they are building out their business across the country and around the world, and each new Uber city is treated as it’s own business. We’ve got great ties to Uber in Washington DC, and New York as well as in San Francisco.

So picture this, we were at the huge StartupRockon, Startup  America party last night featuring The Roots and Uber started tweeting away from their special Uber DNC Twitter account. Uber isn’t officially in Tampa or Charlotte but they’ve put together “pop up” Uber shops for both the DNC and the RNC (last week in Tampa).

Anyway, back to the story. I was standing in line and I was actually next for a Taxi when low and behold a small group of people runs out in the street and jumps my cab. When I confront the gentleman in the group about taking my cab he politely tells me to use Uber and gives me one of their “black cards” that we’ve come to know and love here. Well, ok I’ll take that $20 Uber trip and use it in DC or New York. As for tonight though, I found it alarmingly odd that the Uber team was getting in a yellow taxi.

As I had found out earlier in the day Uber was extremely backed up. Around 2pm on Monday afternoon I was able to get an Uber ride with minimal effort and a mild 40 minute wait. Last night though at midnight we started getting messages that Uber was way over capacity and they were sorry.

An email from Max arrived in my box with an additional credit for trying to use Uber last night and failing miserably.

Of course the story here is the great job, no make that phenomenal job Uber has done looking after their customers (except for jacking my taxi last night). It’s that same die hard enthusiasm for their customer base that has them fighting cities around the country so that they can deliver an uber good Uber experience.

As for getting Uber at the convention, it may be tough, but this morning I waited two hours for a cab so do whatever you can and stay hydrated.


More DNC 2012 coverage from Nibletz here

Follow Uber’s pop up shop here @uber_dnc2012

Here’s Uber’s DNC 2012 page

Holy Google’s Marissa Mayer Is Moving To Yahoo As CEO

As many of our loyal readers know, we don’t typically report on Silicon Valley news, unless it’s say as big as Facebook acquiring Instagram for $1 billion dollars, or Google’s Marissa Mayer getting the nod as CEO at Yahoo. Mayer replaces a disgraced Scott Thompson who was fired when it was discovered he did not possess a computer science degree that was on his resume and subsequently reported in filings to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

This is a significant accomplishment for an incredible woman who I’ve personally met on two occasions and have seen speak on more than a handful of occasions. Mayer was the first woman engineer at Google. She led Google’s search team for years before pivoting to lead Google’s maps team. She is one of the few, female or male, people that can withstand a Mike Arrington beating in the hotseat and still not give up any information.

It’s clear that Mayer has the strength, knowledge and expertise to go head first into straightening out the mess that was left in the wake of Thompson. This includes an erroneous patent battle Thompson put Yahoo in with Facebook. Google has been on both sides of similar patent situations.

Mayer is also a visionary and a respected leader in Silicon Valley. Yahoo co-founder David Filo (who still works at the company) said in a statement:

“Marissa is a well-known, visionary leader in user experience and product design and one of Silicon Valley’s most exciting strategists in technology development.  I look forward to working with her to enhance Yahoo’s product offerings for our over 700 million unique monthly visitors.”

Mayer said, “I am honored and delighted to lead Yahoo!, one of the internet’s premier destinations for more than 700 million users.  I look forward to working with the Company’s dedicated employees to bring innovative products, content, and personalized experiences to users and advertisers all around the world.”

“The Board of Directors unanimously agreed that Marissa’s unparalleled track record in technology, design, and product execution makes her the right leader for Yahoo! at this time of enormous opportunity,” said Fred Amoroso, Chairman of the Board of Directors.

While some may find it odd that Mayer is leaving Google for the CEO position, at what was once one of Google’s key competitors, it was actually a Facebook executive, Sheryl Sandberg who summed up Google’s internal philosophy on moves like this. While giving a commencement address at Harvard Sandberg told a story about her interview with then CEO of Google Eric Schmidt. After showing Schmidt a spreadsheet declaring that the position she was up for at Google matched none of her job criteria Schmidt told her “don’t be an idiot” “Get on a rocket ship”.  The same holds true for this opportunity for Mayer, which direction that rocket ship is going is still unclear though.

Source: SAI

Washington DC City Council Looking To Price Über Out Of Town?


Back in January what brought you this story about Washington DC’s response to Über moving into town. Über is a mobile app hailing service for affordable limos and town cars.

Although Über is a Silicon Valley based startup, each new market is treated as its own separate company even though they are ultimately all head quartered in San Francisco. The Washington DC unit is by far the one that’s run into the most difficulty.

Über works just about effortlessly in all the markets they are in. You download the app to your smartphone and tell the app where you are. From there an indecent network driver is dispatched to you. You pay via the app so no cash needs to change hands. In DC, New York and San Francisco I’ve never waited more than 15 minutes for an uber ride.

Well as we reported back in January the taxicab drivers in Washington DC have had a major a problem since Über put up roots in Washington DC’s DuPont Circle neighborhood.

DC cabbies (which have even had a movie made about them starring Mr. T) were furious over the business they would possibly lose to Uber who according to the DC Taxicab Association, operates under a loop hole and should have to be licensed the same way limos are.

Now it appears the cabbies have enlisted the help of Washington DC City Councilwoman Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3). Cheh has proposed legislation that would make the minimum fare for an Über ride $15 which is a five times higher than the minimum fare for a normal sanctioned district cab.

NBC’s Luke Russert took to Twitter to express his dismay:
“I’m willing to bet #DC cabbies after 12am will say, ‘cash only, no credit’ or claim that their credit machine ‘is broken.’” Russert tweeted earlier in the day.

He wasn’t alone, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) tweeted about the issue from his official Twitter handle @Jasoninthehouse, “Uber fans unite! D.C. Council wants to keep fares high. This is wrong! #UberDClove political website rollcall.com reported.

After the outcry on Twitter Cheh removed the Über portion of a proposed taxi bill from the legislation.

Rollcall also reported that lifetime DC political figure, former Mayor who was busted smoking crack while in office in January of 1990, wasn’t a fan of Über either. The Washington Post’s Tim Craig tweeted: “Marion Barry said he’s opposed to Uber because its a ‘San Francisco-based company’ and cab drivers ‘don’t need limousines coming in here.’”


Find out more about Über here

Source: rollcall.com

Nibletz is the voice of startups “everywhere else” here are more stories from “everywhere else”

It would be more than totally awesome if you helped us out here.

City Of San Francisco Says No More Macs For Now


The city of San Francisco has said no more Apple computer purchases for now. City employees will no longer be able to use city funds to buy Apple laptops, and desktops. This comes after Apple pulled their computers off of an environmentally friendly list of computer equipment called EPEAT.

EPEAT was created by government agencies, activist groups and manufacturers, including, at the time, Apple. The list is a grouping of computer equipment that is easily recyclable. San Francisco requires that all of their computer equipment purchases by EPEAT compliant. There is a waiver but it’s typically only granted for equipment purchases that are required and can only be outfitted with a piece of equipment off the list. CNET gave an example of a piece of police computer equipment that wasn’t EPEAT listed.

So why would Apple remove themselves from the list they helped create?

The latest Apple MacBook Pro, the one with the amazing Retina display is not EPEAT compliant. The battery on the newest MacBook Pro (that also costs over $2500) is glued into the computer making it harder to recycle the toxic materials in the battery itself.

This may not be a permanent ban though. San Francisco’s Chief Information Officer, John Walton, says there is a dialogue open with Apple and he’s hoping Apple will reconsider and re-list themselves on the EPEAT list.

“I’m hopeful since we haven’t had a dialogue with Apple on this, and we’re not really clear why they chose to do this, that they may have other standards,” Walton told CNET

Source: CNET

Valley Couple Moves To Nebraska To Launch Startup Bulu Box


We hear about startups moving from “everywhere else” to Silicon Valley to build scale and raise funds. Although we are huge advocates of the startup ecosystems across the country, regardless of how big or small, we know this happens all the time.

What we don’t hear of often, are entrepreneurs moving out of Silicon Valley to “everywhere else” to launch their startups. That’s exactly what husband and wife entrepreneurs Paul and Stephanie Jarrett have done.

The Jarrett’s startup, Bulu Box, is a subscription box of vitamins and supplements. The boxes are filled, put together and shipped from the Jarrett’s offices in beautiful Lincoln Nebraska, reports our friends at Silicon Prairie

Bulu Box recieved angel funding from Nebraska Angels. The Jarretts decided that with that commitment from Nebraska Angels and the much easier to manage costs of living, Lincoln was the place to launch.

So far Bulu Box has no direct competitors. Paul Jarrett told SPN that they know of a company doing muscle building boxes. There’s also health & wellness subscription box startup KlutchClub. As for just vitamins and supplements though it seems to be just Bulu Box.

Bulu Box also adds a social element to their subscription box model. The Bulu Box subscribers are part of a community. They can review the products in the box and talk with other users of the products.

Paul Jarrett told SPN that they are doing better than they forecasted in their business plan. They told SPN that their revenues were in the thousands after just one month of being in business and their subscriber number is higher than they thought it would be.


More on Bulu Box here at their website

Source: Silicon Prairie News

Nibletz is the voice of startups “everywhere else”

We Catch Up With Social Photo Sharing Startup StreamZoo At TechCrunch Disrupt VIDEO INTERVIEW

At TechCrunch Disrupt 2011 in New York City, our Managing Editor, Cameron Wright caught wind of Phonezoo’s latest startup project StreamZoo. StreamZoo is a multi platform photosharing application for Android and iPhone that has unique elements that make it one of the most popular photo sharing experiences outside of Instagram.

For starters StreamZoo allows users to follow users and streams that are created by hashtags. For example, co-founder Manish Vaidya talks in part three of this interview about how international users in Indonesia and Brazil make streams for their countries which draw more photos from other users in their country.

Wright also talks to Vaidya about the impact that Instagram has had on StreamZoo. Vaidya says that StreamZoo wasn’t really affected by the adoption of Instagram. Users were steadfast in their ways with their photosharing apps. What did happen however, was when Lightbox was acquihired by Facebook and subsequently shutdown StreamZoo found a lot of users migrated to their service. Those users used a stream #lightbox to find each other on StreamZoo.

StreamZoo also offers a badging element reminiscent of GoWalla which was also acquihired by Facebook. StreamZoo has the ability to create badges centered around locations, businesses, fun places to go and events. In fact Vaidya created a special badge unique to just Disrupt.

In Part I of the interview Wright talks with Vaidya about the progress that StreamZoo has made since they met the previous year.  They also talk about how the StreamZoo community influences changes in the 8 person Sunnyvale based team. StreamZoo had gone a little notification crazy but quickly reacted to the community adding a more effective way to manage notifications in messages within the UI.  Check out part I below:

In Part II of the interview Vaidya talks about the impact of Instagram, Facebook and Lightbox on the StreamZoo application. Check out part II after the break

Read More…

Startup America Spotlight: Woman Owned, Mytab.co INTERVIEW

Last week Cameron and I attended a TechCocktail event that was keynoted by Startup America CEO Scott Case. We challenged ourselves to get more involved so we decided to start featuring Startup America startups as part of our interview/feature series. If you’re a Startup America member at any of their now 22 partnerships across the country email us at startup@nibletz.com and we’ll see if we can get you into our coverage schedule. (Hint it’s one of the only ways we’ll cover a Valley startup)

For our first Startup America member spotlight we talk with Heddi Cundle the founder of woman owned startup mytab.co. Mytab.co is a unique travel gift card.

The card serves two purposes, it allows you to crowdsource funds for your trip. Take a honeymoon for instance, your friends and family can add to your mytab.co account and you’ll have money for your travels.

The second purpose of the card is discounts and rewards from travel partners. Cundle is working with travel partners all over the world to offer mytab.co members exclusive discounts and deals on travel related costs.

Check out our interview with Cundle after the break

Read More…

How Zuckerberg Cut Eduardo Saverin Out Of Facebook


Business Insider is reporting to have the email in which Mark sent to his Lawyers to try and cut Eduardo Saverin out of Facebook. This move, which later cost Mark 4-5% of the company and will bank Saverin around $5 Billion once the company goes public this Friday. In a move in which Wall Street wants to paint Mark as someone who can’t run a major company will show just how ruthless he can be at times.

Read More…

Mark Cuban: There’s A Bubble In SiliconValley…Nowhere Else

Self made billionaire, ABC Shark Tank Shark and Dallas Maverick owners Mark Cuban recently spent some time with the Wall Street Cheat Sheeet’s, Damien Hoffman. Of course the wonderful “Bubble 2.0” question came up, and Cuban’s response will be a-ok with the target audience of Nibletz, the voice of startups everywhere else.

“There is a bubble only in tech investing in Silicon Valley. Nowhere else in the U.S.” Cuban said in the interview. All of Cuban’s most recent interviews have suggested that valuations in the Valley are way over-hyped. Our West Coast Editor (and co-founder) Brent Fishman has no problem talking abut the wild and crazy valuation of Pinterest. Fishman loves to point out that Pinterest has no actual “business model” in place.

One of the things about Cuban’s assessment being so true for startups “everywhere else” is the fact that even if the playing field in the venture capitalist arena was marginally fair, startups everywhere else already have to work twice as hard from everything else.

More after the break
Read More…

Startup Interview: Meshin’s CEO Chris Holmes, Plus You Could Win An iPad!

Most app developers and development companies have been going to iOS before the Android platform. Trends are showing that’s starting to change. One of the companies that has released to Android before iPhone is Meshin.

Meshin’s co-founder Kristen Galliani explained to Nibletz.com that Apple doesn’t allow apps to call into other apps, that was one of the main reasons they needed the more open architecture of Android to build Meshin, an email and message aggregator, and Meshin Recall. Meshin Recall syncs with Evernote and helps organize your notes by using dates from your calendar. There is a lot more in store for Meshin Recall. The Meshin team is on the tip of the iceberg of the contextual intelligence space.

Meshin is about to unveil their Meshin Recall product for iOS and they are currently looking for Beta Testers to sign up. If you sign up for the iOS beta and refer the most people you could win one of those flash “New iPads” go here to do that.

Meshin came out of the Palo Alto Research Center with their biggest chunk of funding coming from Xerox (remember that little company that makes copiers and fathered the Mac?). PARC needed someone to bring Meshin to life and that someone is Chris Holmes.

With more than 25 years in the tech start up arena and some huge accomplishments under his belt he was the perfect fit.

Check out the interview after the break

Read More…