Interview With Vincent Paquet: GrandCentral’s Founder and COO
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.
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?
– 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.
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.
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.
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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