Continuing the series of ‘Start-Ups To Watch’ that are building their businesses on Telecom APIs; I had the good fortune to chat with Roger Billerey-Mosier, VP Engineering and Product at Crunched, introduced through Voxeo Labs and reviewed on their weblog. The next company in this series is Drum from NetDev; I’ve known the CEO, John Longsdon for years. Please introduce others building on Telecom APIs to me so I can review their experiences, thanks.
Crunched is a sales and marketing intelligence platform that helps companies close more deals with deeper insights into their customers. Another benefit is the integration into SFDC (Salesforce.com), which removes time wasted on data entry. For sales people, entering all their calls and meetings into packages like SDFC is a massive burden, resulting in inadequate and duplicated data entry, which weakens the power of SFDC.
I use Crunched regularly, it’s a great platform and given how I use it, it’s free. It has international dial-in numbers so people from outside the US need only call a local number. My use case for Crunched is slightly different to its core proposition: for me, Crunched makes conferencing measurable and supports all the processes around conference calls like follow-ups. The conferencing service is based on the Tropo API from Voxeo Labs. We’re on conference calls most of the day, but all the information on the call is lost, unless someone takes notes and circulates them, and if you don’t make the call it’s rarely ever recorded unless it’s a webinar.
Crunched measures what’s happening on the call, who’s paying attention to the presentation in their browser, and who’s reading the presentation. It records the call and reminds you about follow-ups, all packaged in a simple web interface with no download. They just launched their wideband voice service using Voxeo Labs’ Phono API, making calls so much easier to listen to. It’s why I pass people my skype ID before my phone number, as a wideband call is much more pleasant. This feature is currently available on a limited, volunteer basis, you can sign up here.
Crunched supports all the use cases you’d expect: online presentations, screen sharing, webinars, online meetings and web conferencing. A common theme through all my conversations with companies building their business on telecom APIs is simplicity of experience. There’s no downloads, simply go to your Crunched page and manage the call, where you can pass the URL to be called on your preferred device or use the dial-in number. Compared to the many other platforms I’ve used it really does achieve the goals of simplicity and making calling better. On the control screen it has the Linkedin profile of the person; this is a great ice breaker that shows you what you have in common. They’re adding other APIs so you can see the local weather, news and sports to provide those “get to know you conversations” at the start of most meetings.
The idea for Crunched came from the founder Sean Black. From 2005 to 2010, Sean was founding VP Sales at Trulia and built it into what is now the second largest consumer real estate site in the US. He had to build out sales and training procedures to ensure consistent collateral use and get new sales people up to speed quickly. Crunched started on this premise, but quickly evolved into what it is today, a sales and marketing intelligence platform that helps companies close more deals with deeper insights into their customers – where the money is. You can see customer testimonials from Yelp and Bigcommerce.
In talking about why he selected Tropo from Voxeo Labs, Roger stated, “Tropo provides unmatched reliability and customer support. You need a partner that’s there 24 by 7, that has the deep expertise in telecoms, that has engineered a platform that I feel confident in running our business upon at scale.”
On what advice Roger would provide to businesses building on Telecom APIs, he recommended “Phones have been around so long, they seem to ‘just work’, and it’s tempting to think of phone calls as 100% reliable. But like any network application, when working with lots of calls, devices and carriers, there are lots and lots of failure conditions. You need a partner that understands this complex thing called the voice network, what’s normal and what’s not, and what you can do to ensure communications success for our customers. Voxeo Labs uniquely has this deep understanding.”