Follow us:

Brier Dudley's blog

Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

February 2, 2009 at 12:00 AM

Laid-off tech workers get entrepreneurial for Valentine’s Day

In case you missed Iamsaintnick.com, the fun Christmas gift referral service started by two laid-off Seattle techies – they’re back with a Valentine’s version launching today.

Iamsaintvalentino.com does the same sort of thing: Visitors enter the phone number of their special someone, who then gets an automated call from Saint Valentino. When they describe the gifts they’d like to receive on Feb. 14, speech-to-text software they built develops a shopping list and the site offers links to Amazon.com.

It sounds simple, but it took some creativity and finesse by developers Matt Steckler, 32, and Andres Krogh, 25, who are now trying to build their voice-recognition-based gift system into a year-round business. Possibilities include white labeling the service or developing versions for birthdays or weddings.

They started Christmas version after being laid-off from Seattle’s Haute Secure in September. The inspiration came from another Seattle startup, Web telephony tool Twilio, which they used to build Iamsaintnick.com in under a week.

Their first effort handled more than 15,000 phone calls in 30 days. It also drew the attention of an unnamed angel investor who gave them enough (under $20,000) to keep building their startup, dubbed Flauntable.com.

Their wish for Saint Valentino: More funding from angels or a strategic partner to help make Flauntable.com into a full-blown company.

Screenshots show the starting page of Iamsaintvalentio.com:

valentino_callux_roughcut.png

And a suggestion page:

valentino_site_upsell_victoriassecret.png

Comments | More in | Topics: Amazon.com, Startups, Web

COMMENTS

No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.



The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.


The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►