September 4, 2008 in Business

Startup launches phone tree service

Zelephone users also get private Web page
By The Spokesman-Review
 

An automatic phone tree system that quickly sends voice messages to members of a group was launched Wednesday by Spokane tech startup Zelephone Company.

Founder and CEO Pardner Wynn said the service is aimed at the busy soccer mom and active parents contingents.

Messages will be recorded by a team coach or group leader and then automatically delivered to all members of that group.

Wynn, founder of the online SAT-prep course site Testprep.com and a company called Docent, spent about 18 months developing Zelephone. It has fewer than 10 workers and is based in the Sirti Technology Center in downtown Spokane.

Groups who sign up also get a private Web page for sharing documents, such as team rosters.

Group members can contact everyone with one phone call, and get voice replies back from other members.

Voice replies to the group leader or others can be retrieved via an e-mail link from the Zelephone Web site, said Wynn.

First-time users can try the service with 35 free outgoing calls. When a team leader sends a message to 40 team members, for instance, Wynn said the system counts that as just one call.

Additional calls can be added for as little as 7 cents ($21 for 300 calls), or in increments as small as $5. A payment of $55 allows 1,000 calls.

Teams affiliated with the Spokane Youth Sports Association are being given a service trial this fall.

Those youth soccer, baseball and football teams are receiving the service with sponsorship from Burger King and Geico Insurance, Wynn said.

A short commercial message saying the service was “provided by” a sponsor will be heard at the end of each call sent to members, Wynn said.

For further information, check the Zelephone site at www.zelephone.com.

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