Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

TellFi Helps Small Businesses Sound Professional on the Phone

TellFi launched today a simple Web-based virtual phone system for small businesses. The company helps freelancers and independent shops give off an aura of professionalism with functions like automated extensions and voicemail that would usually require installation by an IT person.

TellFi co-founder Conor Lee pitched NetworkEffect, “Just like individuals, small businesses are ditching landlines too. They have an expectation and need for professional-sounding phone systems.” And meanwhile, traditionally complex and regulated telephony systems are becoming more like cloud services, making them ripe for start-up-style innovation. Lee added, “Telephony is searching for a future where it’s not dumb pipes.”

TellFi is simple by design: it allows users to set up voicemail, call forwarding and extensions. It’s quite similar to the Web-based Google Voice, which is free, but the service costs $10-70 month and promises the customer support and call quality that Google doesn’t guarantee.

TellFi joined the Y Combinator accelerator program two months ago. It is already up and running with 50 companies, mostly other Y Combinator start-ups and real estate agents.

As it developed, the company had entertained thoughts of enabling polling services, and had also built out more complicated features like call scheduling, but it now has a more narrow focus. TellFi has raised funding from Yuri Milner and SV Angel’s Start Fund.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik