Persons involved in the deals include chairman and CEO David Hayden as well as three directors: Kenneth Leonard, Mark Brandin and David Holtzman.
Formerly known as Pana.ma, CloudTalk is based on the idea that a lot of people, especially teenagers, prefer asynchronous conversations via text to actual phone conversations. CloudTalk takes the asynchronous principle of text a step further by allowing users to send each other voicemail-like messages. Its platform also aggregates SMS, IM and voice all in one place.
The service supports both one-to-one and group conversations, either public or private, and it is available on the Web as well as on iPhone and Android. I’ve embedded a screenshot of the basic service below:
Beyond these fundamental features, CloudTalk is working on building a widget for websites so that publishers can easily add an element of community. Businesses too have their own version of CloudTalk on the way.
Probably the most interesting thing about CloudTalk is CEO David Hayden’s long history in the tech industry. He co-founded Magellan, one of many search engines that cropped up in the early to mid-1990s and one that sold to Excite in 1996. A year later, he was the founding chairman and CEO of Critical Path, an early SaaS and hosted email service that went public in 1999.
Fellow team members John Schneider (CTO), John Linney (CMO) and Remi Vespa (EVP, business development) have histories in the industry as great as Hayden's. Full bios are available on the CloudTalk site.
Still, CloudTalk won’t be able to survive just on the experience of its team alone. After all, it’s not the only startup offering this sort of thing. One I remember off the top of my head is Shoutomatic, a service that can be best described as Twitter plus voice. Beyond that, there’s Twilio, an incredibly powerful telephony API that a developer could probably use to build something just like CloudTalk.
It’s going to come down whether or not there is a demand for the voice service.