What’s it like being a Y Combinator startup?

While many startups want in to Y Combinator, few are selected. Eric Frenkiel, co-founder and CEO of MemSQL shares some tips on applying to the program, what it’s like once your company is in, and the truth about those YC dinners.

5 startups that stood out at Excelerate’s demo day

Chicago’s Excelerate Labs may not have quite the outsized demo day as Y Combinator, but the 10 companies that just graduated from is accelerator program were still impressive. Here are the five startups that made the biggest impression on us: Orbeus, Lasso, Cureeo, Pictarine and Whimseybox.

Hiptype wants to be the Google Analytics for ebooks

Mobile analytics companies provide app publishers with data about their users. Hiptype, a Y Combinator startup, wants to do the same thing for ebooks. That could be huge for data-starved book publishers — except that for now, Hiptype only works on platforms that support HTML5.

What history teaches us about startup incubators

A recent post by Andrew Clay Shafer raised doubts about the abilities of growing number of incubators that are imitating the likes of 500 Startups. The key qualities of these incubators are no different than incubators from 1999, as an old Forbes.com piece of mine shows.

Cardpool acquired by Safeway’s gift card division

Cardpool, the San Francisco-based startup that lets people buy, sell and trade unused gift cards, has been acquired by Blackhawk Network, a wholly owned subsidiary of grocery giant Safeway. Details about the deal are scarce, but Cardpool co-founder Anson Tsai says his investors “are quite happy.”

Ownlocal scores funds to get small firms online

Even today, millions of American businesses are still offline — a situation that Texas startup Ownlocal is hoping to change, with new money and a fresh plan that could even help prop up embattled media companies along the way.

Mail.ru stock drop could cause aftershocks in the Valley

Shares in Russian Internet group Mail.ru have fallen to their lowest point since the company went public last year. But since the company has been indirectly fueling Silicon Valley’s latest investment boom, a serious slump could have repercussions far beyond Moscow.

So you want to get into Y Combinator? Here’s how

Y Combinator is on the hunt for its next batch of startups, and the competition is stiff: The incubator generally accepts only three percent of the applications it receives. I sat down with YC partner Jessica Livingston to find out what they look for in entrepreneurs.

5 startups to watch from Y-Combinator’s Summer 2011 class

Silicon Valley startup incubator Y-Combinator held the first of two demo days for its Summer 2011 class on Tuesday, unveiling 63 new companies. It’s the incubator’s largest class yet, and overall, a very impressive one. Here’s five of the most scene-stealing startups from this YC batch.

Accelerator DreamIt Ventures gets on the cash bandwagon

It’s not quite the $150,000 offered to Y Combinator companies, but DreamIt Ventures, a Philadelphia-based accelerator program, is dangling some cash of its own to its startups in an attempt to keep them nearby and ensure that it stays competitive.

Say Hello to the First 10 ER Accelerator Startups

The Entrepreneurs Roundtable announced the first 10 companies to participate in its startup incubator program. The New York-based ER Accelerator program, which runs from June through August, gives those companies some startup capital, as well as free office space and access to a number of mentors.

Trulia Crime Maps Bring Big Data to the Masses

Real estate website Trulia is set to roll out a new feature that will allow users to view crime statistics for 50 metro areas in the U.S. The new feature, launching in June, is a major exercise in real-time big data processing.

Introducing: The Y Combinator for Cleantech

Will the popular incubator program for young web and mobile start-ups, Y Combinator, work for cleantech? That’s what a group of entrepreneurial investors, including Mitch Lowe, Dave Graham, and Dillon McDonald, are looking to find out.

For Startups Pitching VCs, Three Is a Magic Number

Hoping to get funding for your startup? You’ll have better luck if you aren’t going it alone, according to several venture capital investors on a panel session at this week’s Google I/O Conference. Two to three co-founders is a “sweet spot” for investors.

More Money (for Y Combinator) Means More Startups

Y Combinator was already a popular accelerator program for young start-ups, but with Yuri Milner and Ron Conway offering $150,000 to all YC companies, it has boosted applications by 40 percent for the upcoming class, said Harj Taggar, the newest partner at Y Combinator.

Table for Two and a Tablet, Please

Friends were skeptical when E la Carte founder Rajat Suri dropped out of MIT to become a waiter — for research. Two years, later, his startup seeks to tame the “chaotic environment” of a restaurant with features designed to streamline tasks for customers and staff.

Xobni Co-Founder Returns With Postagram

Xobni co-founder Matt Brezina is back in the startup game with the launch of Sincerely, aimed at making it easy to print photos taken with mobile phones. Postagram, Sincerely’s first product, prints and sends postcards made from Instagram photos for 99 cents.

My 9 Favorite Startup Lessons From Startup School

Today I attended Y Combinator’s annual Startup School at Stanford University. From the 11 talks from startup founders and funders full of first-person lessons, these were some of the most resonant tips for other entrepreneurs about what to do and what not to do.

Keith Rabois* Is the New King of Y Combinator

Many Y Combinator startups from this summer’s class already have money in the bank, and many hit up the same angel investors. I conducted an informal survey of investors at YC’s Demo Day to ask how many of the companies they had already invested in.

Facebook to Mentor Y Combinator Startups

Though every street corner in San Francisco seems to house a startup incubator these days, Y Combinator is at the top of the heap. Tonight, Silicon Valley prince Facebook bestowed its endorsement on YC, announcing a relationship with the program to mentor its startups.

4 Counterintuitive Stories From Rapportive's Seed Funding

Rapportive this week announced $1 million in funding from a long list of angel and early stage investors including Dave McClure, Paul Buchheit and Jason Calacanis. The startup makes a Gmail plug-in that gives dynamic social web profile data about the people with whom you’re emailing.

How Y Combinator Is Remaking Silicon Valley in Its Image

Y Combinator put on a tour de force Thursday in Mountain View, Calif. After five impressive years’ worth of molding fresh batches of startups, it packed 150-odd people with money into a room and schooled them in the art of giving its companies funding.

Frothy Times for Web Angel Investing

A long list of investors putting money in a jumbo-seed round earlier than ever is not uncommon these days. It’s not that there’s too few investments driving up demand; to the contrary, there are many young companies taking lots of money from lots of investors.

Why Startups Need Capital Discipline

Execution in the presence of too much capital, too little capital, or poorly applied capital defines, among other things, the relationship between a startup and its investors. Together, the concepts of slow capital and capital discipline provide a framework for managing this crucial relationship.

WePay Raises $1.65M for Virtual Group Banking

Managing group expenses can be a messy thing. Pestering people to pay up is a chafe, and creating a joint bank account takes a lot of work. To build an alternative solution, WePay has raised a $1.65 million seed round from August Capital and angels.

Yes, Dilbert, you can keep your day job!

There is a well-established rule in our business that you can’t really found a company part-time. Moonlighting sounds great, but it’s a…

Founding: A Neverending Freight Train

I had breakfast last week with Doug Renert, cofounder of Tandem Entrepreneurs, which represents a great new model for a startup service-provider.…