TechCrunch 40 Session 2: Mobile & Communications

Session two as follows, including our live notes.

Cubic Telecom

mini-cubictelecom.pngCubic Telecom is creating a global Mobile Virtual Network (MVNo). The company aims to drastically reduce international calling rates by lowering mobile roaming and call charges. Founder Pat Phelan a well known communications blogger “wants a world in which anyone can pick up their mobile phone wherever they are and call anyone in any country for as long as they like without worrying about the price.”

Nice start: global roaming rates suck: tell me about it!

Product launch is today “Maxroam,” allows you to add numbers to the sim. Esssentially calls are routed from one number in each place. Every call on the mobile becomes a local call.

This is a brilliant idea, didn’t mention the price though but said it was cheap. I want :-)



mini-yap.pngYap provides voice-to-text translation services for mobile phones. Users can say anything they like and Yap will send a text copy to anyone of their contacts. The service is completely automated so you won’t have intermediary Yap employees listening to your messages, typing them and then sending them out. They also have a text messaging application call Yap9 that allows you to keep in touch with friends, family, and co-workers. Users can also use the application to instantly query mobile web services just by talking. They can search Google, Wikipedia, Yahoo, and YouTube, or interact with Facebook without using their phones’ miniature keyboards. GotVoice, Spinvox, and CallWave also offer speech to text.

Presentation problems: no audio on the video, but the music as they went on stage was an interesting touch: Singing in the Rain.

Mic pics up a heartbeat: classic.

Jason Calacanis jumps in to help with the presentation tech issues…deferring to next presentation. We’ll revisit Yap later.


mini-ceedo.pngCeedo Technologies is a virtualization software company headquartered in Israel. Its patent pending approach to virtualizing the Windows’ desktop environment enables users to carry their PC-based work environment on portable devices such as USB flash drives, pocket hard drives, network drives and even mobile phones. Ceedo works well with the mobile device market. This is because it does not virtualize operating systems, which lets it load and operate more quickly while taking less drive space. Ceedo Mobile technology lets users connect their favorite mobile device to a PC without requiring installation or configuration.

Strong start to presentation: “self contained device” with broad user interface. Any PC can be turned into a terminal for any device.

Nice looking interface. Windows though, no mention of a Mac client.

Uses Picasa to blog, but posts via mobile phone, essentially Ceedo is offering the interface.


Virtualization space is secure: you can access the portable devices without leaving a trace on the PC. Portability is the key…I’m getting this more now.

Fairly cool idea: the ability to plugin a portable device and use the PC as essentially a dumb terminal, not sure how big the market will be for it but that doesn’t take away from the concept.

Yap Mk 2

Yap back on stage, see our notes above.

Presentation video shows the voice to text demonstration. Voice recognition engine works well, question is will SMS TXTing kiddies rather use voice? I would, but then again I suck at txting.

Yap also provides responses to things like Starbucks Coffee, flight arrivals at SFO. Full interface with Yap and mobile browser and other phone parts. Links into Amazon.



mini-loudtalks.pngLoudtalks is a free downloadable push-to-talk messaging application for nearly any phone. It supports real time private or group voice communication in the walkie talkie style. Loudtalks is based on the peer-to-peer architecture and capable to work behind most firewalls and NATs. The software is lightweight (installer is less than 1 Mb) and unobtrusive. Normally it runs in the background and can be activated with hotkey without switching the focus or popping up the application window. The advantages of Loudtalks over existing messaging systems include speed, asynchronous style and voice messaging.

Russian startup, lightweight client.

Messaging can be stored and played back.



mini-trutap.pngTrutap is a mobile social-networking application that enables users to stay connected with offline and online friends regardless of where they are in the world. The application also claims to work with all social networks, IM clients, network carriers and mobile phone devices. Trutap is accessible through a downloadable mobile application and their web browser experience synchronizes all Trutap messages, conversations and contacts. The application lets users communicate with individuals or groups via text, picture and instant messaging. The service also enables users to link to their social networks, upload pictures and update their blogs. Aka-Aki, Imity, MobiLuck, Britekite, and Loopt are some of the other mobile social networks.

Strong start: for once using a PowerPoint presentation is a good option over audio/ video…it just works :-)

A slide shows there is no IM in Europe and China…WTF?

Trutap application showing: nice looking product, seems usable, presuming it’s a java app.

Jabber style IM client, links into major network.

Beta program opens today. API coming soon.


The Trutap developers are on stage signing a song…great stuff, clever way to break through the noise. Congrats to Trutap, good presentation.

Expert Panel: Ryan Block Chris Anderson, Marc Andreessen, Om Malik, and Marissa Mayer

Jason Calacanis said that the panel was too nice last time, and Om’s reputation is ruined :-)

Om starts: presentations were “interesting”…laughter in the room. First question to Cubic from Om: how big could the business. Cubic: huge, anyone who travels, global roaming rates are absurd. $100 million business. Calls are made on the phone, not the PC.

Ryan Block asks about Sim cards. Not a BYO number product. Discussion continues about number forwarding, Om thinks most people dont know how to forward a phone.

Marc Andreessen asks about distribution…again (by his own admission though). Various turns, obviously everyone has a distribution model.


Om to Ceedo: how will you work when so many others have tried. Ceedo: we work with standard apps, simple to use, and cross platform…as long as it’s a flavor of Windows.

Talk about phones…Jason makes fun of Apple, trying to get something out of Marissa Meyer about the Google phone. MM changes topic as quickly as she can and says she likes Yap and Ceedo.

Ryan asks Trutap about a Nokia product that competes. Trutap says that they are already in discussion with handset makers.


Om: Trutap most likely acquired, Cubic is an outside chance of being around in 5 years, rest he is “reserving judgement”

Overall: Nick likes Yap due to the contextual tie in to other services. Cubic Telecom for me, if only because I’m paying $2.50 a minute to make a call if I use my mobile while I’m here for TC40 so it had the most personal resonance. The panel seemed to like Ceedo.