MyState wants to solve the pesky problem of knowing when it’s good to call. The mobile app, launching for iOS and Android today, provides what is essentially a smarter contacts book, with icons next to each contact letting you know their current communications status.
The great hope of Internet calling was to provide ‘presence’ — knowing the availability or status of a contact before initiating a call — but with so many disparate communications platforms, in addition to the longevity of the humble phone line, the feature and its utility is hardly universal. MyState wants to change that, and in doing so end phone tag forever.
“The problem we are trying to solve is the ‘communication blindness’ people have when trying to reach someone on the phone,” MyState co-founder Assaf Pney-El tells me. “When you call someone, you often get a busy signal, or interrupt them during an inappropriate time like a meeting, which wastes your time and can also bother your contact. Phones have evolved immensely throughout the years, but the same problem has always persisted: wasted time and frustration when you can’t get a hold of your contact.”
The MyState app attempts to solve the problem by letting you know in advance of dialling whether a contact is available or not. If your contact is on a call, MyState will notify you when they’re available again, and let your contact know you’re trying to get in touch.
On both versions of the app, your current status can be changed manually and the app will display if a contact is offline. However, the Android version of MyState has a few other neat tricks up its sleeve. They include automatically being able to see if your contact is on a call, their phone is set on silent or vibrate, or has a low battery. The Tel Aviv-based startup says it’s working on bringing these features to iOS too.
“We came up with MyState because one of the founders kept receiving phone calls he thought were urgent, but were in fact not. He wished that there was some way to let his contacts know that he was on a call, and that they should only call if it was urgent,” adds Pney-El.
But, beyond the current MyState mobile app, the vision for the company is to become a “smart communication platform” to better coordinate the way people and businesses communicate.
Presumably off the back of that vision, MyState has raised $6.5 million in funding from various unnamed private U.S. and Israel-based investors. I’m told that the capital will be used to develop the startup’s B2B business model, which will include integration with call centers for “optimising communication” with customers.