Cequint, a Seattle company, had the opportunity to pitch its business to a panel of professionals from Cingular Wireless, Microsoft and Alltel.
The company is building a new caller ID product for cellular phones. The biggest feature of the software provides the city and state for phone numbers on a user’s incoming call.
CEO Rick Hennessey said there are more than 350 area codes today, and more than 75 percent of people get calls from area codes they don’t recognize. Hennessey is the former CEO of Dwango Wireless.
The company wants carriers to sell the service to users for $1.99 to $2.99 a month. The product is expected to launch in August with Alltel, the fifth largest carrier in the country.
An example of the panel’s response:
1. Philip Osman, who left Cingular in 2005 after he helped integrate it with AT&T WIreless: If I’m in Omaha, but have a 425, what does it tell the recipient of the call?
Hennessey: It says Bellevue, or Issaquah, or Renton, wherever you are from.
2. Deanna Garcia of Cingular: What prohibits the carrier from building an application just like this?
Hennessey: We’ve done a lot of work, and the technology is patented.
3. Raghu Murthi of MSN’s Windows Live: Does this work off your server?
Hennessey: No, all of it sits on the device and it’s very easy to manage with over-the-air updates.
4. Osman: Would you consider partnering with the handset manufacturer so you don’t have to share revenue with the carrier?
Hennessey: Right now, we want to be preloaded on to the phone, which can be purchased by the user after it’s trialed. We don’t want to be on the deck because we think it will be lost unless we can get good deck placement.