TMCnet Feature
August 28, 2013

ALICE Receptionist Declared the Winner of StartupCamp 8

By Rich Steeves, TMCnet Managing Editor

StartupCamp 8 swept through ITEXPO (News - Alert) like a tornado full of sharks, leaving one company standing. The winner of StartupCamp 8 found itself in Wonderland, as ALICE took the day.

The proceedings got started with a keynote address by Jeff Bonforte (News - Alert), Communications Platform SVP at Yahoo. Bonforte told a great anecdote about his first tenure at Yahoo, when he worked with Yahoo Messenger, and a missed opportunity to buy Twitter (News - Alert). Then he outlined 12 steps that companies of all sizes could take to become more innovative and spoke of the changes in culture he has witnessed since his return to Yahoo.

Afterward, the four startups presented, Shark Tank style, to this year’s judges: Craig Walker (News - Alert), CEO of Firespotter Labs/ÜberConference and Irv Shapiro, CEO/CTO of Ifbyphone.

ALICE Receptionist logo

Sponsors for this year’s event were Momentum, UberConference, Firespotter (News - Alert), TelePacific, and Modus Create.

The startups presented for five minutes, and then took questions from the judges and the audience.

The first company to present was Perch, a Canadian company that is designed to bridge the culture gap. It is a hands-free video communication app designed to use a dedicated iOS device to bring people together over distances.

Next up was TextGen,  a business communication application that makes traditional telephone lines more versatile by supporting both text and voice conversations on the same telephone number and providing complete transcripts of those conversations through a cloud-based Web portal.

The third company to present was Perzo, an intelligent communication application that helps people organize their interactions and manage time in a personal network. Perzo will allow people to communicate and share any type of information securely and effectively regardless of the device so that friends and loved ones are always within reach.

Finally, ALICE Receptionist gave a pitch, apparently saving the best for last. ALICE enables businesses to present live customer service agents on any number of kiosks, and other digital signage devices, enabling two-way and one-way video interaction with customers and employees.

The winner impressed the judges, as each one stated that he was excited by the solution and merely had a series of clarifying questions to ask. ALICE looks to solve a true business problem and does so in a thoughtful way, providing services for enterprises and government agencies and their customers alike. More functional than Alice Cooper or Alice from the Brady Bunch, the virtual receptionist can truly make life easier for businesses. So, if you want to figure out a better way to greet your customers, go ask ALICE; I think she’ll know.

Edited by Alisen Downey
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