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

July 1, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Zipwhip inks Frontier texting deal, doubling in Seattle

Seattle telecom startup Zipwhip appears to be having a breakout year.

The company, which adds texting capabilities to wired phone lines, is announcing a new partnership with Frontier Communications that bring texting to Frontier’s business customer lines nationally. Messages are received and replied to via a web app.

Zipwhip earlier this year began working with Verizon Wireless — enabling mobile callers to send texts to toll-free wirelines — and it expects to announce more carrier partnerships soon.

It’s a new phase for the 7-year-old company, which started out selling its services to individual businesses so they could receive texts from mobile customers. Now it’s providing the service directly to carriers, where it hopes to more directly reach a potential market of 200 million landline users.

Frontier is the first one to go to market, but I feel comfortable saying there will be a lot of other landline operators following suit close behind,” said John Larson, chief marketing officer.

To support the growth, Zipwhip is moving from lower Queen Anne to new offices in Belltown later this month. Larson said the headcount, now 31, should double over the next year.

Frontier is selling text capabilities to business customers as an add-on, priced from $5 to $125 per month.

“Adding text messaging to a voice-only line helps businesses handle orders, remind customers of appointments, and answer customer inquiries through a medium that is both familiar to and popular with their customers,” Ann Burr, Frontier’s president of new product trials and integration, said in a release.

A screenshot provided by Zipwhip:

Frontier-Texting-web-app_dental-use-case

 

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