Interview With Vincent Paquet: GrandCentral’s Founder and COO

September 28, 2006 at 2:28 pm 11 comments

grandcentrallogo.jpg The day after GrandCentral publicly launched at DEMO, we had the interesting opportunity to interview Vincent Paquet, Founder and COO of GrandCentral Ventures, Inc. GrandCentral, a Web based phone management service, has received a healthy amount of publicity lately from several popular sources including, TechCrunch, CNET Networks’ News.com and Gizmodo. We hope you find the information below informative.

TechAddress: Tell me a bit about your company, what it does and what’s your value proposition?

GrandCentral: GrandCentral is a phone number tied to you, not to a device or a location, so you will never have to change it. You get all your calls on the phones you want, we centralize all your voicemails so you can access them from the web or from any phone and we let you customize the way callers gets treated (ex: calls from my family ring me on cell, work and home, but other callers only ring work, etc…; greetings and rings can also be customized based on who’s calling). Basically, we make ALL your existing phones work together. We also provide a total integration between your phones and the web.

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TechAddress: What makes your company stand apart from your competitors.

GrandCentral: All personalization features available on the market are currently either tied to a device or a location. So if I get a ringbacktone for my cell phone, it’s not available on my work phone or home phone. If I get a vmail on my cell phone, I cannot forward it to anyone or even keep it for more than 2 weeks. GrandCentral lets you personalize the way your callers get treated, regardless of the phone you end up using for taking the call. All settings and features are available on all your phones at once.

TechAddress: What are some of the main features?

GrandCentral:

– One Number…for LifeTM. Pick a number that will not change when you move or change jobs.
– RingShareTM. Upload your MP3s to play for your callers instead of the standard ring.
– Customize by Caller. Pick phones to ring, greetings to play and music to hear based on who is calling.
– ListenInTM on Voicemail. ListenIn on your messages from any phone before answering.
– Block Callers. Block telemarketers or annoying callers and never get bothered again.
– Voicemail Everywhere. Get your voicemail online, through the phone or in your email.
– Screen Your Calls. Know who is calling every time, even for blocked numbers.
– Switch phones mid-call. Switch from cell to office or home your callers won’t know.
– Voicemail Storage. All of your voicemail messages will be saved online, for LIFE.

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TechAddress: Who’s your target customer or audience?

GrandCentral: Consumers. Although the service should have a stronger appeal for power users with multiple phones, the benefits are designed to appeal to everyone, whether you have one phone or six.

TechAddress: Any new things in particular that you’re working on right now?

GrandCentral: Yes, tons of new features in the pipe , but we will certainly use the feedback form our users to come up with new features.

TechAddress: Where do you see your company heading in the future?

GrandCentral: GrandCentral is a personal communication company, designed to help you manage all your communications simply. Any time we will find aspects of our daily communications that can be made simpler; we will gladly help our users do that.

TechAddress: Any negative feedback or criticism regarding technology and services?

GrandCentral: We’ve received a lot of positive feedback from our early users and a few suggestions for improvements. It’s great to discover that users will think if ways to use the service that we had not envisioned. For example, using our call recording feature to produce podcasts is one that we had not thought of, but bloggers immediately caught on this.

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TechAddress: So what would you say is the guiding principle behind your company?

GrandCentral: Make your communications as simple as possible, with friendly-no-hidden-fees pricing.

TechAddress: What is the mission of your company and what are you bringing to the market that is innovative?

GrandCentral: Our mission is to simplify your communications. We think having one number and one voicemail with control over who can reach you where and when is very innovative. Check all the features we offer.

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TechAddress: Where are you in terms of funding and your lifecycle?

GrandCentral: We raised our series A from Halsey Minor’s Minor Ventures. [Note from TechAddress: Halsey Minor is the founder of CNET and is a verteran entreprenuer, additional information can be found here.]

TechAddress: If your technology or service is not formally launched yet, when’s the launch date?

GrandCentral: We launched 09/25/2006. We have a free service that gives you 100 min per month and an unlimited plan for $14.99. The unlimited plan is currently free for BETA users for 60 days. Try it at www.grandcentral.com.

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Entry filed under: blog, Blogroll, cell phones, Gizmodo, grandcentral, Halsey Minor’s Minor Ventures, internet, online, online community, phone, phone management, startup, startups, tech, techaddress, TechCrunch, Technology and Gadgets, venture capital, web, web 2.0, Web 2.0 technologies, Web based phone management service.

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11 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Nigel Forrester  |  September 29, 2006 at 6:20 am

    Any plans to extend your service to Europe?

    Reply
  • 2. Allen  |  September 30, 2006 at 11:07 am

    Great interview!

    FYI, I have completed a podcast interview with the CEO Craig – and Nigel I got him to answer your questions about expansion into Europe as well.
    http://www.centernetworks.com/interview-with-grandcentral

    Thanks,
    Allen

    Reply
  • 3. techaddress  |  September 30, 2006 at 11:15 am

    Hi Allen,

    Thanks for the nice comment and great interview yourself. Good job on getting that additional question answered. Great site by the way, good work.

    Reply
  • 4. Kranky is in a bad mood  |  October 3, 2006 at 7:56 pm

    Grandcentral and stupid phone tricks

    I’ve been experimenting with a service from GrandCentral.com. The company was started by a bunch of ex-Dialpad folks and they’ve created the 2006 version of “find me, follow me” phone service. Unlike other bloggers who quickly post stuff, I’v…

    Reply
  • 5. Samer Bazzi  |  October 12, 2006 at 1:57 am

    excellent interview, i enjoyed it!

    Reply
  • 6. techaddress  |  October 12, 2006 at 1:22 pm

    Thanks Samer!

    Reply
  • 7. nelson new  |  December 4, 2006 at 4:54 pm

    I forgot the pen that I assigned to my number which is 415-962-4013. I’m not sure what to do.

    Reply
  • 8. Joe V  |  August 17, 2008 at 1:05 am

    Wow I grew up Watching the Telephone go from a single Black Dial Phone ( we had a white phone that we had to unplug and hide if the phone man was comming) hehehe I will be 54 this year

    anyway , I talked my parrents into being one of the first families in Kansas city missouri to have touch tone phones and what they called (custom calling features) . Before all that came into effect I would wire our two phone lines together to have 3 way calling before it was even thought of ha ha ha

    I would love to be one of the user of the beta system. My friends and family always say they remember me always having ways to make the phone call different . We ran a phone to our club house from the home phone and used regular extention cords as the phone wire about 30 foot

    I would love to be able to use the phone switch and all phone ring at the same time , and well lets face it , I would be like a kid in a candy shop.

    Please send me an invatation , and help me keep the immage of the telephone guy with my friends and family ( wow that sounds like a mobile phone plan ) Oh yeah I had one of the first mobil phones in kc they sold them at sears with south western bell service 200 dollar bag phone service was 49 dollars a month and you only got 60 free day min a month and free nights after 6pm and free weekends and they did free holidaies too ,,Christmas , new years, thanksgiving, 4th of july, Both my cousin and I bought one we were about 18 and would call eachother even if we were in the same place . like me at the resturant and him in the bathroom . A ringing phone back then was a great laugh .

    I have 47 original western electric phones I have collected thru the years . at one point i had all of them hooked up but when i moved i decided to display them ,, light them up and use some for book ends Everyone loves them

    Now do I deserve an invite????

    Reply
  • 9. Joe V  |  August 17, 2008 at 1:08 am

    OOps sorry aboout some of the spelling errors I didnt think to proof read it before I clicked submit

    Reply
  • 10. Fela  |  October 20, 2008 at 8:44 pm

    Many times when a Grand Central number is called, a very angry woman, or man answers the phone. I do mean VERY! aNGRY!. What would cause this to happen? And why does it happen on a reular basis, at a number this is to be simply an answering service.

    Fela

    Reply
  • 11. sangel  |  November 2, 2009 at 5:15 pm

    This post is interesting to look at given that now it’s called google voice 🙂

    Reply

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