More than 1 billion phone messages are sent to home, business and cell phones every day in the U.S. and Canada, according to SimulScribe CEO James Siminoff.
The problem for people on the receiving end is that there's no way to tell which ones are important without actually listening to them.
And given that a lot of people only check their voice mail a few times a day, an urgent communication that could change your business or personal life might be sitting in your box for hours or more.
With its transcription technology that turns ordinary voice messages into "visual voice mail," SimulScribe is intent on "unlocking this information from its prison," Siminoff says.
The company, which charges either monthly or per message, had revenue of more than $2 million last year, is growing at 30% a month, according to Siminoff.
All that growth has come virally, from consumers referring the product to their friends. SimulScribe has chosen to market its product directly to consumers, rather than work with the wireless carriers.
The company decided to build its own technology after discovering that the rambling and mumbling common to voice mail messages made existing speech-recognition engines useless.
SimulScribe transcribes the voice messages from all of your phone numbers into text format, then sends it to your email inbox.
In this interview, which was taped in late December, Siminoff said the company intended to settle a patent infringement lawsuit brought by Klausner Technologies, which also sued giants like AT&T and Apple over the display of voice mail messages.
This week, Siminoff followed through on that pledge when SimulScribe settled the suit by signing a licensing agreement with Klausner.