He Sold His First Startup To Yahoo, His Second One To Google And Now His Third Is Worth $500 Million - Forbes

He Sold His First Startup To Yahoo, His Second One To Google And Now His Third Is Worth $500 Million - Forbes

He Sold His First Startup To Yahoo, His Second One To Google And Now His Third Is Worth $500 Million - Forbes

Posted: 13 Jun 2019 04:58 AM PDT

Craig Walker

Craig Walker

Craig Walker has pulled off an incredible string of successful startups. He has achieved multiple exits with the most prized buyers while raising funding from the who's who of Silicon Valley— all while empowering today's modern businesses to operate leaner and more efficiently.

Walker recently appeared on the DealMakers Podcast, where he shared thoughts on his journey up the ranks of the Valley, the patterns of success he's seen, the toughest days you can expect to face as an entrepreneur, and many more topics.

Growing Up Next to Steve Jobs

Craig was born and raised in Cupertino. He lived on a little street, where Steve Jobs and his crew were starting Apple just eight houses down.

He attended Berkeley as an undergrad and went on to get his MBA at Georgetown. After business school, Craig spent some time working at Apple while taking the LSAT, and then returned to law school at Berkeley.

Being a lawyer provided a great view of all that was happening in Silicon Valley. He got to represent startups, big public companies that were acquiring startups, venture capitalists and investment bankers— the perfect way to see the entire growth cycle of a company over and over again.

1+1 = 3

Working at one of the two dominating law firms, Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison in Palo Alto, he gained experience with top-notch clients as he handled their M&A deals.

That included Cisco Systems, Kleiner Perkins, and Sequoia Capital: he actually represented Kleiner when they made their Series A investment into Juniper Networks, and also worked on the Polycom IPO.

Whether it was an IPO, M&A, or venture financing, Craig says he found it refreshing that—unlike most other legal work—both parties to those deals wanted to get the deal done.

Craig says, "It really taught me to look for win-win solutions. Business deals that aren't win-win deals, or business deals that are totally one-sided, never really work out." With the right kind of partnerships, you can make 1+1 = 3."

The Hierarchy of Silicon Valley

Craig also says that the one problem with being an M&A attorney is that you are executing, but not making those high-level deal-making decisions.

In the Valley, he saw the lawyers at the bottom, and then the next rung up would be investment bankers. Above them were the venture capitalists, and then the top of the heap would be the founders. Craig always wanted to get higher up in the chain, and closer to making those decisions.

He quickly got the chance to do so with venture fund TeleSoft Partners, who invited him to come on board to do telecom internet investments. He says, "Out of our first eight investments, four got acquired, two went public, and maybe two went out of business." Not a bad ratio at all.

The 4 Biggest Mistakes Founders Make

In all his experience, Craig says the five most common mistakes he's recognized among startups are:

  1. Being too greedy and not creating win-win deals
  2. Scaling too fast and spending too much cash
  3. Not trusting yourself and sticking to your direction when decisions need to be made
  4. Poor interpersonal dynamics between the founders
  5. Not anticipating a competitive threat to the product or company

The Darkest Day as a CEO

There can be many tough days as an entrepreneur. Craig had one of his toughest in 2001 when he stepped in as CEO of a VoIP company that his fund had invested in—a pioneer in its space.

Unfortunately, when the dot-com bubble burst, the company's board realized they had grown way too big and were burning way too much money to be able to survive.

The board decided they needed to make a change, to lower cost immediately to hold it together so they could sell the company before they had to turn off lights. Craig was the guy they chose to go in to spearhead it.

The company had just slashed the employee count in half, from 300 to 150. After the applause at his introduction to the crew as the new CEO, Craig had to explain that the only way to save the company was to cut that staff all the way down to 15. He had to do that before the next payroll.

Even though he didn't know the team going in, he still recalls the experience as being the hardest day of his career.

The risk was worth the reward, slashing the $4 million a month burn rate, Craig got the company to a profitable place again, and Yahoo came knocking. Yahoo saw it as an essential addition to prevent losing the market to fast-growing Skype and paid $50 million for it.

Craig's big takeaway: "Treat every dollar in your bank account like oxygen. Don't waste your oxygen!"

From Zero to $100 million in Just 24 Months

Craig's next startup was internet phone service GrandCentral, which focused on providing users with a single phone number to access all their numbers, such as mobile, home, and work numbers.

They raised $4 million in a Series A round led by Minor Ventures, built it, launched it and customers loved it. Before they could close their Series B round, Google came calling and offered them a cool $100 million for the startup, just 18 months after their Series A.

The team joined Google, instantly adding millions of users by turning GrandCentral into what we know today as Google Voice.

Dialpad, AI for Your Work Phone

Walker's latest startup, Dialpad takes all his previous work to the next level combining cloud-based phone systems for businesses and integrating artificial intelligence to create the most efficient processes for both customers and vendors.

In essence, the goal of Dialpad is to bring simplicity to the professional phone experience. Dialpad's products span Conferencing (UberConference), Phone Systems (Dialpad) and Call Centers (Dialpad Sell and Dialpad Support).

So far Dialpad has raised $120 million from the most enviable investors. That includes Andreessen Horowitz, Google Ventures, Felicis Ventures, SoftBank, and Iconiq Capital. They probably have one of the most connected and formidable dream boards you could ever want to put together. The most recent reported valuation of the company was $500 million.

Today, Dialpad works with some of the biggest names in business—WeWork, Motorola and Uber being examples—to not only make their employees more productive but to uncover innovative ways in which AI can make them more efficient.

Most recently, Dialpad launched Dialpad Sell, which is specifically geared toward sales teams to help salespeople not just seamlessly manage calls, messaging, and video communications, but also use AI capabilities to analyze customer sentiment and receive real-time coaching from their managers.

Listen in to the full podcast episode to find out more, including:

  • How to deal with the dark days as an entrepreneur
  • Embracing culture during tough times
  • Raising capital from the best investors
  • Ways to build a powerful board of directors
  • Strategies to close with success an acquisition

Truecaller Spotted Testing VoIP Calling Service for Premium Subscribers in India - NDTV News

Posted: 13 Jun 2019 02:39 AM PDT

Truecaller Spotted Testing VoIP Calling Service for Premium Subscribers in India

There is no official word regarding VoIP calling's wider rollout in India

Truecaller has been adding new features to its eponymous caller ID app at a steady pace over the past few months, and recently crossed the milestone of 100 million users in India as well. The company has been spotted testing a new feature that lets Truecaller users make voice calls over data. Popularly known as VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) calling, the feature is only available to a small bunch of Truecaller users in India who have a premium account. Truecaller's VoIP feature currently appears to be in beta-testing, and there is no word when it will be rolled out to all users.

Truecaller's VoIP feature, which was spotted in testing by TelecomTalk, works similarly to apps like WhatsApp and Google Duo. The app shows a dedicated 'Voice' button, which on being tapped starts a VoIP voice call. This feature will certainly come in handy for users when they don't have sufficient balance to make a voice call, but are connected to the Internet, and can thus proceed with a VoIP call.

The VoIP calling feature is reportedly available to only a small number of Truecaller Premium users. However, it is not clear if there are any criteria behind receiving the VoIP feature for those who have availed the Premium tier of Truecaller's caller ID services, as not all Premium subscribers can access the feature. It is also not clear whether Truecaller Premium Gold subscribers have also been included in the VoIP feature's testing circle.

We can independently verify that the VoIP feature is now available to some Truecaller Premium users, but it is not uniformly available to all users. We reached out to TrueCaller regarding a confirmation, but so far, the company is yet to officially confirm the rollout of VoIP feature for all Truecaller Premium users. We'll keep you updated once the wider rollout of Truecaller's VoIP feature begins.

VoIP services market analysis – How will the rising efforts by leading companies transform the industry trends? - Express Journal

Posted: 13 Jun 2019 03:55 AM PDT

The global VoIP services market is projected to amass creditable gains in the years to come, on account of cost-effective communication services and rapid penetration of the internet. Over the last decade, VoIP services have taken over the fixed-voice market, given their low pricing and astounding functions that have bolstered competition for traditional service providers. The slew of functionalities supported by VoIP technology, such as voice calling, instant messaging, and video calling, have substantially enhanced  voice over internet protocol (VoIP) market share from healthcare, IT & telecom, BFSI, retail, education, government & public sector, hospitality, and other industries.

Other factors stimulating the development of VoIP services industry include the deployment of 4G and 3G networks, advancement of network infrastructure, pricing policy, and ease of VOIP deployment and configuration. Although the telecommunication infrastructure in many nations is still not capable of supporting VoIP technology, VoIP services market is slated to record hefty proceeds from various developed nations and developing nations. As per estimates in fact, North America is anticipated to lead VoIP industry by 2025, with a projected share of 20% in the market.

Some of the leading VoIP service providers include Citrix, Cisco, AT&T, Alcatel Lucent, Microsoft, Deutsche Telekom, Jive Communication, Mitel, Avaya, 8×8, Vonage, Verizon, RingCentral, Nextiva, Telenor, Orange, Huawei, Google, and Ribbon Communication. Following is a brief overview of the business tactics adopted by these behemoths to amplify their revenues, user base, and geographical reach in VoIP service market.

Microsoft: VoIP-enabled users in Microsoft Teams can now use voicemail capabilities

In a recent instance, Microsoft has declared a new feature for the users of Microsoft teams. In the new feature, users with active VoIP services can use Microsoft's voicemail services. They can send and receive voice mails to web clients and Teams desktop. Users will be able to see the voicemail tab in their calls application in the app bar.

The new voicemail function is on by default and can be deactivated through administrator action. The launch clearly portrays that VoIP services market, in the future is in for similar such advancements gaining mass popularity.

AT&T: Customers can now pay bills through cryptocurrency

Though cryptocurrency is at a nascent stage, the world's leading businesses are not hesitating in embracing the same. Recently, telecom giant AT&T has become the first carrier company in the United States to accept payments via Bitcoin. AT&T has lately struck a business deal with Bitpay to adapt its business with the increasingly popular trend of digital currency transactions.

Under the deal, the telecom mammoth's customers will be able to clear their pending bills using bitcoin money. The convenience of cryptocurrency payments and their robust adoption are thus slated to augment VoIP services market size in the years ahead.

Citrix: Citrix workspaces will now be available on Google Cloud

As businesses move more applications to the cloud, they require a secure and easy way to access them from anywhere, anytime, and on any device. In a premier digital work conference, Citrix Systems, a leading VOIP service provider, has reportedly publicized that it will be extending Citrix Workspace to the Google Cloud, in a bid to enhance the flexibility and choices enterprises have in transitioning to the cloud, by allowing them to efficiently and quickly deliver apps to operating systems and Google devices.

Extending Citrix Workspace to Google Cloud will allow companies to modernize their applications and deliver unified access across operating systems and Google devices to create a productivity powerhouse.

In the coming years, it will be interesting to see how these business tactics transform the revenue matrix of VoIP services industry. According to a report by Global Market Insights, Inc., the overall voice over internet protocol market is poised to surpass a valuation of USD 55 billion by 2025.


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