Vontoo, the world’s first permission-based, on-demand voice messaging system, was founded in 2005 by Dustin Sapp and Bob Compton. Headquartered in Indianapolis, the company was created because the founders felt there was a lack of personalization in telemarketing. Accessible from any web browser, Vontoo offers a unique service: people who receive calls actually want to receive them. There are no cold calls. This makes for a more receptive audience than if a firm had employed the usual telemarketing or blast-calling methods.
Organizations of all sizes can create, send and track voice messages to their targeted audiences. Organizations can determine how specific a message they would like to send. Since the service is permission-based, recipients can easily choose to opt out from receiving calls in the future. Further, organizations can use Vontoo to import customer lists, create a library of audio messages, schedule delivery of messages and track results online. Vontoo uses Voice over IP (VoIP) technology to send from one to millions of audio messages to any type of phone. On live calls, transfer capabilities allow the recipient to press a button to be immediately connected to a sales representative or person at the organization sending the message. Further, the company’s call tracking helps organizations understand the effectiveness of their calls and know what resonates with listeners, to help them improve content.
The company believes that the market for Vontoo is at least as large as the email market, or over 500 million people and approaching $1 billion. Higher education, professional and collegiate sports, gaming, entertainment, hospitality and finance are the company’s main target sectors. Its SaaS model is similar to that of Salesforce.com – a subscription model with annual contracts and long-term customer relationships. The basic service is priced at 10-15 cents per call, while large customers are offered advanced services that are cost efficient.
Interestingly, Vontoo used direct sales calls to early adopters and innovator companies in its target audience. Today, the company has close to 2,000 customers that include churches, banks, celebrity fan clubs, universities, businesses of all sizes and sports teams. Customers include Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the University of Indianapolis, Ivy Tech Community College, Ball State University, Stanford University, the University of Miami, Penn State University, Wachovia Mortgage, Allstate Insurance, Century 21, the Cleveland Browns football team and Sears.
In January 2009, Vontoo announced its partnership with Right On Interactive, maker of the 5Buckets integrated marketing automation solution. Advanced Business Services, LLC’s DollarQuick and DollarFlash online short-term advance loan service uses 5Buckets and Vontoo to manage its accounts receivable.
Revenue is growing in excess of 200% a year. Further, the early-stage company secured a large round of funding in January 2009. Vontoo raised $2 million, half a million dollars more than subscribed, in a Series A round led by EDF Ventures. Vontoo feels that it has sufficient capital to get to profitability. Looks like they’re a tightly managed little company!
This segment is a part in the series : Deal Radar 2009