YC W17 Launch: Lively, Scaphold, Marketfox, Floyd, ServX, Fibo, and Wifi Dabba

by Y Combinator3/7/2017

We’re in the middle of YC’s W17 batch. As companies launch they’ll be doing a Q&A on Hacker News – aka Launch HN – in addition to being included in a roundup on the blog. Here are the companies that have recently launched.


What does your company do?
Lively is a Health Savings Account platform for employers and individuals. You can think of it like the 401(k) for healthcare.

How does it work?
We offer paperless onboarding and administration making it really simple for employers and individuals to sign up and use their HSA. Account holders can access their funds via a Lively-branded debit card for qualified medical expenses and manage their account online. For employers, we provide automated payroll sync with a number of payroll providers, taking the administrative burden away from companies.

Why is it better than what’s currently on the market?
In an industry that is largely dominated by banks and other financial institutions with outdated technology, Lively has built a modern HSA platform from the ground up. By focusing on user experience and design, Lively offers a fresh approach to the HSA all while being cost-effective for SMBs and free for individuals.

Where is Lively available?
All 50 states


What does your company do?
Scaphold.io is the leading GraphQL backend as a service platform for rapid application development. Scaphold’s GraphQL platform is made to simplify and consolidate data from anywhere into one single API without having to write any code. We leverage GraphQL to provide a consistent interface for your iOS, Android, Web, IOT, and VR apps. Today’s tech giants like Facebook and GitHub already trust GraphQL to power their apps, and Scaphold gives everyone the ability to do the same.

Who are your customers?
Scaphold has helped companies large and small rapidly build applications. We’ve helped large companies like National Geographic and Visa launch applications that range from content-rich websites to interactive, real-time advertisements for the Super Bowl. We’ve also worked closely with a number of software agencies to improve the rate at which they can design, build, and launch applications for their customers. Indie devs also love us as our API can get them up and running with a powerful, managed API in minutes that would otherwise take months to build.

What is the primary problem you are solving and why has no one solved it before?
Modern applications are built for more devices and use more cloud services than ever before. To solve this problem we have built a platform that allows developers to integrate payments, search, social auth, custom micro-services, and more into a single, real-time API to power your entire application. Past companies have tried to build proprietary tooling and SDKs to achieve these goals, but that results in costly vendor lock-in. Scaphold solves this problem by leveraging an open standard called GraphQL, a fast-growing technology, to consolidate your many cloud services and microservices into one powerful API that can power a wide variety of applications. We are building the babel-fish for the cloud.

What is the primary reason why people use your product over a competitor?
People use our product over our competitors since we offer the best service with the most customizability of their GraphQL API. In addition, we offer features for real production workloads like integrations to 3rd party APIs, real-time functionality, analytics, custom logic and more.

Why did you decide to start Scaphold?
We were frustrated by how long it took to build and launch an application and even after you launch there is a tremendous amount of maintenance necessary to keep it going. One day, this changed when we read about this new technology called GraphQL on Hacker News. We found that it helped to solve a lot of the problems that we saw as we were building apps and we thought there should be a platform that allows everyone to rapidly start building on the same technology. Over the next 10+ years the industry is going to shift from antiquated technologies and programming models like REST to GraphQL and we decided to build a company positioned to take advantage of this shift.


What does your company do?
Marketfox is a marketing automation platform optimized for mobile.

Who are your customers?
Trials.com has a website and mobile app. They want to use Marketfox track and engage across BOTH the website and mobile app, which is difficult with other marketing automation platforms. Most users have to to use multiple products otherwise, one for web and one for mobile.

Bulk MRO needs in-app messaging capability with push notifications etc. They would have to use Hubspot and Intercom and other tools, and instead are using Marketfox to get all of the features in one tool.

What is the primary problem you are solving and why has no one solved it before?
The big problem it solves is that it works across mobile and web, rather than needing multiple tools. Also by offering web push in addition to email subscriptions.

Other marketing automation tools such as Hubspot are email-centric, and so if a user doesn’t have an email they are hard to track. Marketfox is rethinking this by creating a unique identifier that is not tied to email and letting people subscribe to web push etc.

What is the primary reason why people use your product over a competitor?
If you use a different marketing automation platform you either lose your ability to market to mobile traffic, or you have to use multiple tools. Marketfox lets them have their cake and eat it too.

Why did you decide to start Marketfox?
Used marketing automation tools in a prior job. Had to setup all of the marketing tools across the board. Even though the tools were good, it only solved campaigns around email. Decided to start the company because they realized they can create a better tool that works on both mobile and web.


What does your company do?
Floyd is Heroku for deep learning.

What problem are you solving?
While we all know deep learning is revolutionizing the tech industry, actually using it requires deep technical know-how in configuring GPUs and finicky, rapidly changing frameworks. Floyd takes care of training and deploying models in the cloud so data scientists can focus on the core deep learning.

How does it work?
Floyd automates the engineering grunt work required to do deep learning. Using its command line tool, one can reduce the time required to start running their first Tensorflow project on the cloud from several hours to less than 30 seconds. Behind the scenes it handles provisioning GPUs, installing drivers and frameworks, running code and versioning the results.

What is your traction?
Floyd launched on ProductHunt 2 weeks ago becoming the top product of the day and the top deep learning post of all time, with 1000+ votes. Just 1 week after launch, users run 500 hours of deep learning jobs every day. Next month, Floyd will become Udacity’s preferred cloud platform for their deep learning programs, which will bring thousands more users to the platform.

Who are the founders?
Sai Soundararaj was a senior deep learning researcher at Microsoft and Andrew Ng’s student at Stanford prior to that. Naren Thiagarajan was the Director of Engineering at Avast, and was also at Stanford before that. They teamed together to solve engineering bottlenecks in deep learning.


What does your company do?
We’re ServX, and we are a mobile app for auto repairs in India. In India, when your car breaks down you two options – Either go to an authorized garage and pay a ton of money, or go to local garage pay less money but get shitty parts which compromises your vehicle. With ServX we easily connect you with a local garage, make sure the repair is high quality with high quality parts.

Who are your customers?
Car owner in a city in India who sends their car to the shop, the mechanic calls up without a list of prices and just throws a random expensive number at you. The two option you have is to accept that random number or just call the car back, both of which are bad experiences. Every time you get your car repaired you end up getting screwed. The passenger car market in India is growing and is pegged to grow in double digits Y-o-Y for the next 10 years, which is the fastest in the world. A majority of population in India will also get connected to the internet and get access to smartphones over the next 5 years, adding to the 500M+ currently, which makes it an exploding market opportunity for us.

What is the primary problem you are solving and why has no one solved it before?
Two have tried, and failed with the problem being that they were’t software companies, they rented out physical locations, warehoused spare part inventory but couldn’t build up a profitability around it due to high costs and low area coverage.

What is the primary reason why people use your product over a competitor?
We provide them with a better experience, with everything being managed for quality end to end. Users not only save on money, but the overall simplicity and convenience of the process is what makes them stick to us.

Why did you decide to start ServX?
India doesn’t have a network such a AAA, which is not only fast & reliable but is present everywhere. The decision to start this comes traces back to our college days. We came across an elderly couple who had been stuck on a rural road for a few hours as their car had broken down, with no help at hand. Being good samaritans we helped them out, and seeing the relief on their faces, we understood how a solution such as ours was badly required. We immediately started working on it, and built a company around the idea.


What does your company do?
Mobile work tracking for field teams. Enables construction and landscaping teams to track work on the go — time, materials, photos and notes. And has a real-time web dashboard for managers. Our platform is real-time and mobile work templates are completely customizable.

Who are your customers?
Construction companies that do multiple jobs in a week. Landscaping companies that do both maintenance and installation work.

What is the primary problem you are solving and why has no one solved it before?
Field teams currently use paper for job cards, time cards, work orders, etc. Paper is inefficient and no longer necessary as every contractor now has a smartphone. Even low-end prepaid plans today include data. We allow teams to digitize their scheduling, communication, work tracking and analysis. Data that was locked away on paper, now allows them to make better decisions.

Who are your competitors?
Our primary competitor is paper, with 61% field teams still relying on paper based systems. Rest use a mix of text messaging and legacy desktop systems (like Sage).

Why did you decide to start Fibo?
We found that most small businesses rely on non-desk based teams but lack mobile software that they like to use. We wanted to change that, as we believe engaging mobile products can have a profound impact on small business productivity. We build our products to empower field teams, so they can get more done, help their companies grow faster, and ultimately, lead to more jobs being created.

Wifi Dabba

What does your company do?
Wifi Dabba provides low-cost wifi in India. $0.03 for 100MB low. We sell satchet-sized internet to mobile users at tea stalls and bakeries.

What is the primary problem you are solving and why has no one solved it before?
There are hundreds of millions of people without internet access. Most Indians have smartphones but can’t afford to get online in a meaningful way. 3G is too expensive for most people in India. Current broadband internet lines are also too expensive for the average Indian home.

It’s like the problem consumer product companies had when they entered in India in the 90s. A 300ml shampoo was too expensive for our country, so they rolled out 5ml sachets. We take a highspeed broadband plan, slice it into tiny, affordable packages and sell those to our mobile users as wifi at their local tea stall.

The infrastructure for Wifi is at the tipping point where a nation-wide wifi grid can be scaled and rolled out to hundreds of millions of users in a profitable, sustainable way.

Who are your competitors?
The large telcos like Vodafone, Airtel and other regional ISP’s are our competition. Our advantage over them is that they cater to the business and upper class residential market, not direct to mainstream consumer in the way we do.

What is the primary reason why people use your product over a competitor?
Our competitors are picking places where large crowds congregate, we’re getting our users on the streets by being in locations they already visit. Teashops and bakeries are the “coffee shops” of India when it comes to Internet usage. They serve as a community focal point and are a daily visit for most Indians.

What are your plans for the next year?
By the end of this year we will provide truly ubiquitous public wifi across Bangalore city, a city of more than 11M people. Something no other city in the world currently has. We will do this profitably and at a fraction of the cost of our competitors.

Why did you start Wifi Dabba?
It’s 2017, how is a publicly accessible wifi network not available already? The government and big companies are mired in bureaucracy, so it’s up to us if we want a fast, healthy network that’s open and accessible to all. We’re working towards a future to make your home/office router obsolete.


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