15 Mar 20080 Comments
Today, I am excitedly watching Ottawa-based iotum‘s Free Conference Calls application on Facebook rocket through the 200 000 net installed user mark. As many of you know, iotum is a Verdexus portfolio investment of late last year when I also engaged with the company as Chairman. Note that I plan to discuss the investment cycle for global and Canadian startups in later blogs. Meanwhile, for those of you near Toronto, on Wednesday March 19th, my colleague Grover Righter of iMobileInternet will present a great keynote on the topic “The New Playbook for Venture 2.0: how to get from $0 to exit with less capital” at the Mars ExperienceTech 2008 conference.
Having invested in the company because of a great team and a deep intellectual property portfolio driving an application aimed at the emerging market for business-oriented applications on Facebook, it is indeed gratifying to witness this robust level of end user adoption. Not just a typical “light-weight” Facebook application, iotum‘s Free Conference Calls is a professional grade, full featured new take on the conference call. It fuses iotum‘s expertise in presence with social networks to create a new level of user experience, and mashes up many non-voice features like a live wall, full SMS/mobile enabled invitation system, recordings to allow instant podcast creation, and much more.
How good is this? Well, for the all important race to a million for Web 2.0 type of businesses, iotum is definitely a top performer. On February 27th having previously focused on the North American market with US dial-in numbers, iotum released global call-in features, like flash-based dial from computers, callback and their first European dial-in numbers (in France). This was done in partnership with some key international players like Truphone, Abbeynet and Moi Telecom. The response? In a mere two weeks, with huge interest in the media and blogosphere, the installed base of users more than doubled to 200 000 users as of today. That level of user endorsement is a direct response to the iotum team managing to deliver and refine an application that resonates with a rich user experience and which is in fact very useful. Essentially a new form of media experience, already it is being used for teleseminars, political campaigns, talk radio, podcasts, nonprofits, business meetings, and much more. In typical Web 2.0 fashion, the user community is seizing this application, and not only building content (conferences), but shaping it in ways that were not perhaps anticipated initially at the time of launch.
I’d encourage everyone to give it a try using this link: Free Conference Calls
The screen shot at the top of this blog shows one recent conference call, an installment of the daily Squawk Box conference and podcast. But, to be truly appreciated, this needs to be experienced personally. Stay tuned for more developments from this exciting company.