Select your localized edition:

Close ×

More Ways to Connect

Discover one of our 28 local entrepreneurial communities »

Be the first to know as we launch in new countries and markets around the globe.

Interested in bringing MIT Technology Review to your local market?

MIT Technology ReviewMIT Technology Review - logo

 

Unsupported browser: Your browser does not meet modern web standards. See how it scores »

Instant Voicing
Send voice messages without calling, and listen to them from a phone–or a laptop.
By Larry Aragon

Company: Pinger

Founding date: 2005

Funding amount: $11 million

Worldwide, people sent 1.9 trillion text messages last year. That’s a lot of tedious triple-tapping on mobile phones, and it’s not free. Pinger, a startup in San Jose, CA, is giving us a voice version of text messaging that’s Web accessible, so picking up messages need not trigger mobile-phone charges.

Pinger lets you send voice messages without calling (and interrupting) the recipient. Instead, you speak a name or phone number into your cell phone and then leave your message, which sits on Pinger’s servers. A text notification lets the recipient know that a voice message can be picked up by phone or on ­Pinger’s website. Pinger cofounder Joe Sipher, a former executive at smart-phone maker Palm, describes the service as “noninterruptive voice mail.”

Sipher and cofounder Greg Woock conceived of Pinger as a quick, practical way for businesspeople to leave messages. But its biggest fans are turning out to be women between 15 and 25–a possible sign that it could become an important Web 2.0 tool. And since these eager voice messagers provide personal information upon sign-up, Pinger can make money by selling that information to companies that do targeted mobile-phone advertising. AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint have launched similar offerings.

Randy Komisar, a partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, which incubated and funded Pinger, says that because Pinger built its service with free or low-cost open-source software, it can quickly add or change features. In Komisar’s view, that flexibility could allow Pinger to adjust more nimbly than larger competitors.

Pages

3 comments. Share your thoughts »

Credits: Howard Cao, Jordan Hollender

Tagged: Business, Internet, Twitter, startups, social media, cellphone, semantic, Pownce

Reprints and Permissions | Send feedback to the editor

From the Archives

Close

Introducing MIT Technology Review Insider.

Already a Magazine subscriber?

You're automatically an Insider. It's easy to activate or upgrade your account.

Activate Your Account

Become an Insider

It's the new way to subscribe. Get even more of the tech news, research, and discoveries you crave.

Sign Up

Learn More

Find out why MIT Technology Review Insider is for you and explore your options.

Show Me
×

A Place of Inspiration

Understand the technologies that are changing business and driving the new global economy.

September 23-25, 2014
Register »