Tello's unfortunate demise

by alec on March 17, 2007

The net is abuzz this morning with the news of Tello's demise.  Om Malik broke the story, but it has been insider knowledge in the industry for some time now. Tello shuttered the doors less than 12 months after the news of a fabulous B-Round led by BCE Capital, and, according to Om, the reason was:

…the company did not run out of money, but instead had a mutiny of sorts. Apparently the feature creep was enough for the engineering staff to up and quit, instead of grappling with ‘visions.’ A hallucination is more like it! So who’s next?

Remarkable!  And yet, if you think about the phases that Tello went through in its existance — from a service to broker traffic amongst enterprise IP PBX's, to a presence player on handhelds, and then back again — it's not entirely inconceivable that what Om is reporting might be true.  The skill sets required to successfully transit calls over the internet are dramatically different from those required to build a presence server.

TechCrunch also reported the end of Tello, and in the comments Podcaster Ron Lewis writes:

It seems Alec Saunders and Iotum is the company to watch for presence. They have a new “presence tool” for Blackberrys (and soon Windows Mobile devices, etc.) which provides instant status of one’s availability. Iotum’s model is easy to understand and it’s one reason why the will succeed in presence.

Thanks for the props Ron.  Our strategy is pretty simple: make Talk-Now an easy customer experience, ship early, and ship often.  Membership bumped up pretty dramatically after the last update we shipped, and we hope to have another big update coming in the next two to three weeks.  If you'd like to try Talk-Now, head to and create yourself an account.

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