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Jangl Goes Beta

Jangl officially unveiled their beta this morning. Available everywhere in the US, on any mobile handset, and targeted at the same dating crowd as TalkPlus, it seems as if the companies must have been in an unofficial horse-race to get their beta’s into market. 

Free until sometime in 2007, Jangl allocates a new number for each contact, and based on a combination of call-in number, and caller-id, determines where the call should terminate.  It’s a very clever system, and just the ticket for people who value privacy.

I had a chance to talk with Jangl CEO Michael Cerda, and Tim Johnson last night on the telephone about their beta, which they characterize as being more like the Google Beta, or a Skype Beta — out there for a while to gather user feedback, and validate some of their ideas.  The idea is to use the Jangl branded beta to vet those ideas, and then roll them out to their partner networks, like Match.com (announced last week).  So, Jangl direct will hint at future, and is the place where you will see the early adopters. They have a bunch of ideas around SMS, and MMS and publishing content to a phone number that they will explore. 

Jangl sees itself capitalizing on the benefits of anonymity and privacy. The basic thrust is that people, more so now than ever, meet other people on line. Most are people you’ve never met face to face.  In addition to phone calls there are all kinds of other places to embed their service.  For instance, Michael talked about building a widget for myspace or blogs allowing customers totake advantage of the ubiquity of the internet, while preserving the anonymity. Click the widget, and have a privacy protected conversation with the blog owner.   In fact, they see users having multiple Jangl ID’s for different roles –myspace, business.  Marshall, over at TechCrunch, is a skeptic about the value of the business Jangl ID, but who knows?

As always, I am interested in funding stories.  They closed $2 million in funding 12 months ago, and another $7 million last July.  With just $1 million they got Match.com into a pilot and private beta, and it was then that they raised the other $7 million.  One of the secrets of keeping their burn low is having just 18 people.  The other is that, even just 5 years ago, they would have had to build their own infrastructure.  Today they “rent” the infrastructure from Synoverse and Level 3. 

Nice job!

I asked about a developer play.  Not yet.  They haven’t figured out the details of how to handle third parties being able to programmatically create Jangl numbers.

911?  That’s handled by the network operator, not them.  No problem.

Law Enforcement?  Handled by the infrastructure owner, not Jangl.  No problem.

Jangl is neat, and another great example of a new Voice 2.0 application made possible by the shift we’re experiencing in the telecom market today. 

{ 1 comment… add one }

  • tim November 17, 2006, 6:54 pm

    Alec, thanks for these words and thanks for your time — I know you're swamped with doing great things with Iotum, as we discussed. We're great admirers of it.

    Sorry for the belated note!


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