Startup City: Mino Wireless Reduces The Hassle Of International Cell Calls - InformationWeek

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9/21/2007
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Startup City: Mino Wireless Reduces The Hassle Of International Cell Calls

Panel of judges at InformationWeek conference gives thumbs up to the company's VoIP-based alternative.

Businesspeople who travel overseas will appreciate Mino Wireless' cell service, a no-hassle, low-cost alternative to prepaid calling cards and other options. At last week's InformationWeek 500 conference, our panel of judges was impressed: Mino Wireless ranked tops among five companies giving presentations in our Startup City session.
-- John Foley

MINO WIRELESS

HEADQUARTERS: Santa Clara, Calif.

PRODUCT: Cell service for international travelers

PRINCIPAL: Jing Liu, founder and chief technology officer

INVESTORS: Canaan Partners, iD SoftCapital, TNP On The Road

EARLY CUSTOMERS: Harmonic, Monster Cable, National Semiconductor, Synnex, Synopsys

 Jing Liu, founder and chief technology officer, Mino Wireless

Founder, CTO, and Startup City business-pitch winner Liu


BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY
Cell calls can be frustrating and roaming charges expensive for business people traveling from country to country. Mino Wireless lowers the fuss and expense by giving companies a VoIP-based alternative for employees who travel outside the reach of their primary cell carrier. Mino's "pooling plans" offer service minutes in bulk that can be shared among employees.

SERVICE
Mino Wireless' service can be deployed to BlackBerrys and managed via RIM's BlackBerry Enterprise Server. Support for Windows Mobile and Java phones is in beta testing. An administration tool provides a call log, shows how many unused minutes remain in a service plan, and can be used to add and subtract users. BlackBerry users, when traveling outside the service area of their cell carrier, select a "Call with Mino" option from within the BlackBerry address book.

PEOPLE
Founder and CTO Liu, born in Beijing and raised in Cleveland, is on his third Silicon Valley startup. Co-founder Ray Sun is VP of technology. Earlier this month, Bethsheba Malsheen was named president and CEO. Malsheen previously served as CEO of Groove Mobile (mobile music service) and Voxware (mobile voice applications). Head of business development Andy Chen most recently worked at Skype, and, before that, at Motorola and Cisco Systems.

HOW IT'S DONE
Mino software is embedded in the mobile phone. Mino routes calls over VoIP, reconciling the called-from and called-to numbers. The recipient receives the call over his normal wired or wireless service.

TIMELINE
Timeline Chart

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