Best of Y Combinator’s Demo Day

demo day

It’s that time again: Demo day. We’ve already seen 500Startups most attention-worthy pitches, and now it’s time to give Y Combinator’s launches a look. The renowned startup incubator beat its own record by presenting a whopping 63 new companies to investors yesterday.

It’s difficult to narrow down our favorites. The general consensus is that this particular batch has more than a few hits, and we’re likely going to see a variety of these ideas succeed. Of course, you’ve got to have favorites – and here are ours.  

Paperlinks

paperlinksPaperlinks is one of the more established companies that pitched at Y Combinator’s Demo Day yesterday. The company, which creates QR code marketing campaigns for its clients, has seen tremendous growth in the last six months. As you might imagine, Paperlinks creates a QR code that doesn’t just send you to a website but instead pulls up customized content – Tweets, logos, video, photos, you name it.

The company has already worked with some pretty big names (Nestle and GNC among them), but that doesn’t mean it isn’t accessible. It operates on a pay-per-month basis, the most affordable package being $25.

Snapjoy

The last thing the Internet needs is another cloud-based photo manager – but it’s about to get one. Snapjoy uploads your photos (quickly) and then uses their metadata to curate your photos by their information – place, time, etc. We could see this becoming a great organizational tool for the hoards of unplaced, uncategorized photos sitting on your hard drive. Everything is private by default, so there are no auto-social implications to joining. It first and foremost is a photo-storage application, and one that happens to be better-looking than Flickr at that.

ZigFu

This is one of the more techy startups to present yesterday. ZigFu is an application that gives tools to developers who are trying to create for gesture-related devices – think Kinect-type development. The big picture at ZigFu is to implement an app store exclusively for motion-activated applications. “We use the OpenNI framework for natural interaction, which provides an abstract framework for using skeleton tracking or hand tracking,” ZigFu tells VentureBeat. Check out some of ZigFu’s work in the video below.

Verbling

Cementing our belief that education is having an Internet moment is Verbling. This is a live video chat client that helps users learn languages via conversations with native speakers. Users sign up with what languages they know and which they want to learn and then the site pairs you up with the appropriate users.

Codecademy

codecademy

We’re personally already addicted to Codecademy. The site provides lessons in JavaScript that are both fun and incredibly useful. You accrue points and badges for your progress, and graduates have the opportunity to get more than a digital certificate and bragging rights: Companies are taking note of users excelling on the site, and your progress could actually translate to your resume. It’s become wildly popular in the two weeks it’s been live, soaring to 200,000 plus coders.

PicPlum

Not everyone is ready to forsake physical photos in favor of a screen – no matter how good the pixel ratio is. PicPlum is a simple service that takes any of your digital photos and prints and mails them wherever you like. This isn’t a new concept by any means: Traditional photo printing companies like Shutterfly have been doing just this for awhile, but they are more concerned about printing as many pictures on the cheap. PicPlum is about creating high-quality prints using a subscription pay model. It also cuts down on your time actually spent on the site, via gentle reminders to send in or drag-and-drop your five favorite photos of the month to the site. 

Emerging Tech

How emotion-tracking A.I. will change computing as we know it

Affectiva is just one of the startups working to create emotion-tracking A.I. that can work out how you're feeling. Here's why this could change the face of computing as we know it.
Computing

Here's everything you need to know about setting up your wireless router

Want to get Wi-Fi working in your home, but don't know where to start? Here's a quick tutorial outlining the four basic steps needed for most routers. You'll be browsing on your laptop from the couch in no time.
Smart Home

I have seen the future, and it’s full of salad-making robots

Think that robots bussing tables, tossing salads and baking bread is a futuristic concept? It's actually not as far away as you might think. Robots took center stage at a food robotics summit in San Francisco this week, where they showed…
Features

Exclusive: The Surface Hub 2S will revolutionize work. Here’s how it was made

Exclusive interviews with the designers, futurists, and visionaries behind the Surface Hub 2 paint a dramatic picture of how Microsoft thinks collaboration will change your office.
Computing

These business machines can rival any consumer laptop in style and function

These laptops have the reliability, performance, and battery life you need whether you're at your desk or flying across the country for a meeting, letting you to revel in a function-first approach.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Robots that eat landmines and clean your floors

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it's fun to gawk!
Computing

Online passwords: Research confirms millions of people are using 123456

According to recent analysis of data caught up in cyber attacks, millions of people are continuing to use super-simple passwords, with 123456 topping the list of easy-to-crack codes.
Computing

Microsoft deal takes up to $400 off select Surface Book 2 laptops

Microsoft is running a promotion for the Surface Book 2, taking as much as $400 off the price of the laptop at the Microsoft Store. The promotion applies to select 13.5- or 15-inch configurations of the convertible laptop.
Computing

Check out this video of a functional PC that’s encased in pasta

A YouTuber filmed himself building and testing a PC in which the computer's hardware was encased in pasta. The result was a computer with a chassis made out of uncooked pasta and hot glue and painted to resemble lasagna.
Deals

The latest Apple iPad Pros get steep discounts on Amazon

The iPad Pro is now in its third generation, and the 2018 refresh of this premium tablet is, hands down, Apple’s best one yet. It’s on sale right now, too, for a good discount which can let you score one for as little as $675.
Computing

Tired of choosing between Windows and Mac? Check out these Chromebooks instead

We've compiled a list of the best Chromebooks -- laptops that combine great battery life, comfortable keyboards, and the performance it takes to run Google's lightweight Chrome OS. From Samsung to Acer, these are the Chromebooks that really…
Computing

AMD will launch anniversary edition Radeon VII and 2700X to celebrate 50th year

Ahead of its new hardware lines launching this summer, AMD will celebrate its 50th anniversary with special editions of its top-tier gaming hardware: the Radeon VII and Ryzen 2700X.
Computing

Intel’s new Core i9 processors bring 8-core power to laptops

Intel announced a new line of ninth-generation mobile processors that bring eight-core Core i9 processors to laptops. In addition, the company announced a slate of new desktops CPUs that bring the rest of the lineup up to date.
Computing

Pain in the wrists? Type in comfort with one of these great ergonomic keyboards

Long typing sessions can leave anyone's wrists aching, but if you have one of the best ergonomic keyboards, that doesn't have to be the case. Our list of favorites will support good typing posture while being comfortable to use.