Conversation With Arlo Gilbert, CEO iCALL

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icall ceo arlo gilbert

A few days ago, we wrote a preview piece on iCall, a new VOIP app that is set to hit the App Store in "the next few weeks". We caught up with Greenwich Based Arlo Gilbert, a serial entrepreneur and founder of the company.

iCall was started in 2005, and is mainly involved in providing VOIP services to carriers. A typical example would be a wake-up call service, that taps into the iCall API to access land lines. iCall itself has forged relationships with the CLECs and ILECs, at a cost of "hundreds of thousands of dollars in deposits" and "9 months to a Year" wait times. Thanks to the iCall API, smaller carriers such as SunRocket are able to tap into this network quickly and affordable.

With the iPhone, Arlo saw a clear opportunity to take his VOIP network to a new level. Partnering with Digium, makers of the open source Asterix system, they are clearly on the verge of releasing something significant; Arlo and his partner Andy (an ex Verizon VOIP expert) claim that "it will be hands down the best app in the App Store". In fact, he claims that most of the apps to date should be called "Applets" instead of "Apps", and urges more beta testing. We would tend to agree. While we love the idea of Fring, for example, we have now noticed so many bugs that we are reducing their overall rating from 10/10  to 7/10.

iCall has 20 employees, is profitable, and has talked to "every major VC" about a large funding round, although that may be on hold for now with current market conditions. Arlo (who is himself an angel investor) indicates that "Angels can't give us the money we need if we want to go to the next level".

In any case, iCall is worth watching. The App, which like Truphone will require a paid subscription account should come out within the next month, if not sooner.

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