In the startup world everyone is physically connected to their laptop – and therefore Skype – but looking outside our bubble people communicate differently. Conference calls are still a major part of the communication landscape because pretty much everyone has access to a phone, but not too much tech has been infused into the industry. Norway-based Confr says they hope to challenge the big global telecom players that deliver old school and expensive solutions to businesses, and to create something that should just work efficiently.
Luckily I don’t have to deal with teleconferences too often, but it’s never that fun of an experience. The most typical time that I have to use it is if a global VC has some news to announce, and their PR firm will want to sit in with the partner (so they can add value?).
The process has always felt very 1999 compared to the new normal of VOIP communication. You’re emailed a long list of phone numbers divided by local area codes. Once you call in, you have to plug in the “room number” and a password while deep down you’re thinking, “man just give me your Skype ID.”
Confr reduces the friction by not requiring 20 numbers to punch in after you call the number. Instead their tech understands who is calling in from where, and what conference call the number should be placed in.
They claim the set-up side is also easier, by allowing you to set up the call from the web or mobile by integrating into your Google and iPhone contacts, as well as Google Calendar. What’s great is that invitations are sent by SMS and email, and participants are always given a local number to call.
After the call is done, Confr also allows you to archive each call, and go back to see critical numbers related to each call.
Co-founder and CEO Mats Sandvig says in a statement, “From our previous experiences of building a successful startup, we learned that having a team spread out in different locations requires some excellent tools to be able to collaborate in a good way. We tried just about everything, but nothing worked as expected. This motivated us to create Confr – something simple, fast and cost efficient.
Five monthly meetings is free to plug into, but when you jump up to 10 monthly meetings the cost goes up to €49/month and their package of 100 monthly meetings runs €299 to give some sense of scale.
The audio meeting market is about $4 Billion annually, so they have plenty of pie to carve out. The founders have good experience in this industry, previously they built Oyatel, a provider of web-based phone systems, which they say has thousands of users each day. Confr is self financed by the team, which is based in Oslo, Trondheim, Gdansk, Warsaw and London.