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Startup Nexmo Leverages Power Of APIs to Assist Enterprises With Business Critical Communications

Two major trends in the technology industry are the movement of communications to all IP networks, while another major trend is the increasing prevalence of APIs (Application Programming Interface). In computer programming, an API specifies how some software components should interact with each other. 

Two major trends in the technology industry are the movement of communications to all IP networks, while another major trend is the increasing prevalence of APIs (Application Programming Interface). In computer programming, an API specifies how some software components should interact with each other. Using a popular site like Facebook as an example, the Facebook API creates the software environment for third-party developers to create their own applications and services that access data in Facebook.

One innovative startup that has found a unique way to leverage the power of APIs is Nexmo. Joining us today to discuss how Nexmo is helping enterprises better engage in critical communication with their clients and users on mobile is Nexmo’s CEO Tony Jamous.

IT Specialist: Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions Tony. To start with, can you provide some brief background on who the founders of Nexmo are and what are your backgrounds?

Tony: Nexmo was founded by Eric Nadalin (CTO) and myself early 2011. Eric is a seasoned technology executive who built scalable payment and messaging platforms. Most importantly, he was the co-founder and senior architect of iPin, which was recently acquired by Intel (now called Aepona).

I come from the messaging and payment industry. I started at mBlox, leading sales and BD on a global level, then was part of the team that founded Paymo, which was acquired by Boku in mobile payments. After graduation from IMD MBA in Switzerland, I founded Nexmo with Eric.

IT Specialist: What was your team’s inspiration for founding Nexmo?

Tony: Our inspiration was to disrupt the communication value chain from sourcing, to distribution to after sale.The result is Nexmo’s Cloud-to-Mobile solution, which provides easy-to-use Cloud APIs enabling app developers, online providers and enterprises to reach customers and devices globally via innovative mobile text-messaging and Voice experiences.

IT Specialist: What is your current view of the global telco market, and what problems was Nexmo created to help solve?

Tony: Our view of the global telco market is that:

-          Communication is moving to IP and carrier traditional B2C business is being challenged.

-          Businesses are in need of building business critical communication with their clients and users on mobile.

-          The existing carrier network is not fit for such business critical communication, so there is a gap.

-          The future of the network is programmable via APIs and there is a need to create an ecosystem of innovation to keep the carrier model relevant.

Nexmo solves these issues and problems in numerous ways, including:

-          Through a scalable and agile REST API, we make the network programmable.

-          With our adaptive routing algorithm, we make sure that the traditional network becomes optimized andideal for business critical communications.

-          We back this up with a direct-to-carrier model that reduces latency and improves the quality of the communication.

-          This is done all in the cloud, via pay-per-use model and access to real time analytics.

IT Specialist: Turning now to your solution, as I understand you focus on voice and SMS calls, is that correct? Can you explain how your technology leverages the cloud?

Tony: Yes. The cloud makes it possible for Nexmo to:

-          Apply real-time adaptive routing to monitor the quality of the network.

-          Expose the (big) data to our clients so that they can implement that intelligence into products for their clients.

-          Leverage RESTful APIs to make it scalable but also abstract the local regulations for our customers

Then finally, Nexmo’s direct-to-carrier approach, adaptive routing and real-time analytics enable:

-          Unmatched quality of delivery, with control over latency, security and cost

-          Fast roll-out of services to any phone in any geography, resulting in global scale with local flavor

-          High touch, high impact customer care

IT Specialist: I am intrigued by your Rest API as I gather it is the “secret sauce” of your technology – can you explain how your API fits into the overall design of your solution?

Tony: At Nexmo, all of our services are delivered via APIs. It enables agility and scalability for our customers.

IT Specialist: One thing about your API that really jumps out is the text to voice capability – how does the API actually convert text to voice? I particularly noticed how you can send your calls in multiple languages and voices actually set through the API for each call – can you explain how this works in practice and maybe provide a specific example of how this capability might be used?

-          Receive the text

-          Apply transcription text-to-speech engine to create the voice file in real time

-          Apply the languages selected and use the proper library

-          Once we have the voice file, we send it to the carrier to call the number and play it for user

-          We return status of the call to customer plus all the analytics that are required

-          Optionally, the customer can ask the user to return a feedback using their keyboard (e.g. did you receive the call, press 1 to confirm)

IT Specialist: I noticed in a piece elsewhere Tony that Nexmo continues to sell to larger enterprises, and that this type of client is Nexmo’s niche, is that correct? Can you provide some context of the approximate size of an enterprise that tends to be in your sweet spot? From this perspective, does that mean that you are speaking a lot with IT departments and/or developers at these larger enterprises? Finally, what is the core value proposition to these types of enterprises?

Tony: Below is Nexmo’s unique value proposition for these enterprises. We target companies with business critical communication needs. Examples include: Ecommerce (Airbnb), Travel (Expedia), Transportation (ZipCar), SAAS (Concur), Messaging Apps (Line and Viber).

IT Specialist: Turning now to Nexmo at the corporate level, how has the response in the market been to your technology, and could you highlight any of your important customers? Can you provide an example of how using Nexmo’s technology benefited these customers?

Tony: Nexmo helps customers across a multitude of industries to achieve their communications goals:

Mondo Taxi offers a mobile taxi reservation service that enables consumers to book taxis. When the company began rollouts in a number of international markets, the service was afflicted by a number of fraudulent reservations. The team decided to use text message confirmations to cut down on this fraud. As Mondo Taxi grew its taxi-reservation service into new international markets, it kept running into SMS deliverability challenges, particularly in Saudi Arabia. Without a reliable way to deliver text message confirmations in new countries, the company’s international expansion plans were at risk.  Working with telecom carriers in new international markets had posed a major challenge, so Mondo Taxi turned to Nexmo. Nexmo has established relationships with carriers around the world, and has secure virtual phone numbers in over 160 countries. With Nexmo’s SMS API and its sophisticated message-routing technology, Mondo Taxi was able to reliably send SMS verification codes, solve its deliverability challenges, and protect its drivers against fraud.

WePopp, a social app that helps friends coordinate group outings, makes it easy for users to create events, then invite their friends to vote on a time and location. The usual challenge with any social app like this is the cold-start problem: If everyone in the group isn’t using the same social app, device, or platform, the experience tends to break.WePopp overcame this problem with SMS. Because traditional text messages reach across platforms and devices, WePopp’s team knew that SMS would be the perfect channel to send invites that drive user engagement.With WePopp’s global appeal and ever-growing user base, finding an SMS API provider that could deliver their messages reliably had been difficult. When WePop was in the process of testing SMS APIs from different suppliers, they kept extensive data on deliverability. Their conclusion: Nexmo increased the delivery rate of their text messages from 80% to 95% almost immediately. In France, deliverability was up to 99%.  Thanks to Nexmo’s sophisticated SMS routing technology, WePopp’s deliverability improved from 19-25%.

CodaPayments is a digital payments company that enables mobile telecom operator to serve as payment processors for online merchants.  Unlike other payment platforms that focus on credit card payments, CodaPayments focuses on carrier billing, enabling consumers to make online purchases and charge them to their monthly phone bill. CodaPayments relies on text messages to communicate with customers and prevent fraud. The original SMS solution the company used would regularly generate delays of up to 45 minutes, leading many users to abandon their purchases. CodePayments needed something more reliable. Nexmo’s SMS API leverages direct-to-carrier connectivity, adaptive routing, and real-time analytics to maximize deliverability and reduce latency.

IT Specialist: I see that you recently raised an $18 million Series C round. How much capital have you raised in total and who are your core investors?

Tony: To date, Nexmo has raised $22 million in capital. More info can be found in our CrunchBase profile at http://www.crunchbase.com/company/nexmo

IT Specialist: Finally, for customers who may be interested in working with Nexmo and/or learning more and/or want to do a trial within their organization, what is the best way to interface with you 

Tony: The best way for potential customers to engage with us is to sign up for a free Nexmo account at www.nexmo.com 

IT Specialist: Thank you Tony, you have a really interesting technology and wish you all the best going forward.

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