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Voxeo's Director of Conversations on the Teleku Acquisition

At SpeechTEK last week, I had the opportunity to sit down with Voxeo's CEO Jonathan Taylor and Director of Conversations Dan York. For the last few years, Voxeo has been known to me primarily as the company that was smart enough to hire Dan. In September 2007, when Mitel acquired Inter-Tel, Dan wrote a blog titled Mitel/Inter-Tel integration plan restructures me out of a job.... He included this statement on what he’d like to do in his next position, "My aim is to be with an organization that is part of the disruption in this space." This space was broadly defined as a company in IP telephony/unified communications market with a focus on social networking/social media.

The position of Director of Conversations for Voxeo certainly fits the bill. Dan's job is to tell the Voxeo story--through marketing, communications, public relations, analyst relations, events, etc. According to Dan, the title is recognition that in the age of Google, Facebook, Twitter, forums and blogs, what we think of as "marketing" is increasingly about joining into all the various conversations that are happening out there. (I'm reminded of Genesys' decision to name its latest solution Conversation Manager.)

So what is the Voxeo story? Voxeo offers hosted and customer premise voice platforms, with operations in the USA and Europe. Voxeo developer services – powered by VoiceXML and CCXML--are used by 100K+ customers and 150K+ developers. Voxeo is cash-flow positive, profitable, and has grown over 100% per year since its founding in 1999.

While VXML and CCXML have been the main focus of the company, York tells me that about two years Voxeo recognized that developers wanted to use more leading-edge tools, like Ruby on Rails, PHP, and JavaScript, more current web APIs and RESTful architectures. To meet that need, 18 months ago Voxeo launched Tropo, a new development platform that uses a simple API to add voice, SMS, Twitter, and IM support to the programming languages developers already use.

Teleku, described on their website as an enterprise-grade, cloud-based RESTful Phone Web Service API for building speech and touch tone voice and SMS phone applications, shared Voxeo's vision (and in fact deployed their service to 500+ developers on the Voxeo platform). This week's acquisition of Teleku by Voxeo is described by York as a way to continue to be on the edge of innovation, on the bleeding edge.

With 140 employees, Voxeo is small and nimble compared to the traditional leaders in the self service space. For enterprises looking to develop state-of-the-art communications applications--manage conversations with customers/prospects/partners?--Voxeo is worthy of exploration.