TechFaster: Introduce yourself, and give us the pitch for Speek.
Danny Boice: My name is Danny Boice. I’m the cofounder and CTO of Speek. We founded Speek a year ago, back in June. We’re a 500 Startups-funded company. I cofounded Speek with John Bracken and the basic problem we were trying to solve was conference calls. Everyone’s done conference calls. They’re this antiquated, old-school solution where you can call a phone number. You’ve got to dial a pin and there’s usually annoying beeps. They’re notoriously bad and they’ve been that way for decades. It just seemed right to do something better. The premise of our product idea was instead of using a phone number and a pin, why can we just have simple, personal link that we give out to do group phone calls? Speek.com/Danny is mine, for example. That’s where it all started. From there we’ve progressed and made it an even better user experience. It’s a faster, easier way of doing conference calls.
TechFaster: So what are some of the features that you guys have that are unique to your platform?
Danny: Sure. It all starts with this link. That’s what makes it faster and easier. If you go to Speek.com/Danny and we’re going to do a conference call together I just put that in the calendar invite, you go there as a participant on a mobile phone or MAC or PC in a browser, and you’ve got a couple of options for joining my call. You can have us call you on your ten-digit phone number; you just hit a button and we’ll dial you into the call. It’s one click. You can also join via voiceover IP. If you want to use your computer microphone and your computer speakers through the browser, we support that as well. We also do the traditional way if people need that for whatever reason. It’s not the most common use case for us. Once you’re on the call, there’s a visual interface. You don’t need to download anything; it’s purely in a web browser. You can see who’s on, as people talk their avatars light up, you can mouse over people on the call and you can see their LinkedIn profile and other information about them so you can very easily connect, which people tend to do anyway. You can share files by dragging files onto the screen and it’ll just show up for everybody, which solves the problem of people emailing out attachments on a call. They all stop and check their emails or somebody hasn’t hit ‘send/receive’ so they don’t see it. It’s a time waster. There are other minor things. For example, if everyone is talking at once and you want to slot your way in line, you can do a quick comment feature where you type something and it’ll show up on the screen so everyone knows that you have a question to ask or you have something to say it helps bring a little bit of organization to the talking on the call.
TechFaster: How was 500 Startups?
Danny: 500 Startups is great. Our first investment came from them. We didn’t do the accelerator because we were a little bit further along, although I wish we had because I think that would have made us go even faster. First and foremost I think Dave and Paul Singh and Christine out hustle a lot of Startup founders, which you don’t see very often. Trying to keep up with them is good motivation and it’s good to see your VCs out there hustling harder than you are. They also just get it. They talk about design and data and distribution and they’re so data driven that they can get under the weeds to understand metrics as good or better than John and I can who are seasoned analytical data-driven thinkers. So it’s not just a bunch of fluff with them; they get it.
TechFaster: What’s next for you guys?
Danny: March is going to be a huge month for us. We’ve actually rebuilt our web app with a new design and a new user experience. It also comes with some new features which we’ll be announcing soon. We also are launching a Windows mobile app in partnership with Microsoft so you’ll look for that to come out within the next week. We have a major release coming out as soon as Apple approves it, hopefully this coming week. It’s a major update to our existing iPhone app that introduces some cool new stuff. We have an Android app coming soon as well. We’ve been busy so there’s a lot of stuff coming out this month.