Phonevite is as simple as it sounds: Input your contacts, record your message, and fire it off. The company's current target is utility companies, medical offices, small businesses, schools and churches, non-profits, as well as individuals. Alerts are a much bigger business than you've probably ever thought about: $1.2 billion to notify people that school's closed or that a hurricane's coming. In addition, the market for voice communications such as airline flight status updates and doctor's appointment reminders is $10.9 billion.
As yet, CEO John Nahm says he's being very patient about going after the traditional $46.1 billion telemarketing business because he wants to avoid the regulatory nightmare and the potential specter of spam. So at present, solicitations are prohibited on Phonevite's service.
Phonevite is free if you're calling less than 25 people at once. The premium service also omits the promotional ad at the end and offers better customer service. Phonevite hopes to offer one-to-many SMS messages early next year.
Next Wednesday, November 12, an impressive gathering of startups and mobile-industry poohbahs -- everyone from major VCs from firms such as Kleiner Perkins to executives from companies such as T-Mobile, AT&T, CBS, Verizon, Alltel, Comcast, Nokia, Microsoft, and R/GA -- will meet in Mountain View, California, to choose America's Next Top Mobile Startup at Under the Radar. As a moderator, I will be previewing the event by providing snapshots of the companies whose sessions I am facilitating