Unmute reinvents the phone hotline with a social calling app

In the 80s, there were dozens of 1-900 hotlines that anyone could call to chat about a certain topic. These ranged from phone sex lines to WWF chats to fan hotlines for stars like The New Kids On The Block and Hulk Hogan. Chatrooms eventually ended this lucrative industry. Until now.

Unmute, an app that lets users make and listen in on live phone calls, is today unveiling v2 of the product, complete with hot lines.

Here’s how it works:

After downloading the app and connecting with friends on the Unmute platform, anyone can start a call and up to 50 people can join. During the call, up to six people can speak at once, which was a deliberate choice by the company to make sure these calls don’t get too disorganized.

Another decision by the company was to limit calls to 18 minutes, which is the same amount of time that Ted talks last. The team says this is the ideal time to participate in (or just listen to) a conversation.


So what are these users talking about?

Co-founder Jason Yeh, who left Greycroft Venture to join the Unmute team, says that the company has seen a ton of usage from teenagers, especially girls, who use the platform to chat with their friends.

But celebrities and influencers could also play a big role in the company, offering their fans a chance to speak to them directly and candidly without having to get done up and put on makeup like they’d have to for a Periscope live stream.

With the launch of Unmute 2.0, the VoIP platform is introducing four hotlines where people can join the call to chat with strangers. These hotlines don’t have specific topics or categories, as Unmute believes that conversations should be organic and wander from topic to topic, as they do in the real world.

Unmute has raised $2.2 million in seed funding.

You can learn more about Unmute right here.