Have you been curious what happens when you are part of the Innovation Showcase sponsored by CableLabs and UpRamp? For most startups, it is an amazing experience that has helped them gain the notice of some of the biggest names in the global cable and broadband industry. One of those startups with a particularly successful session was Nomorobo, the Winner of the FTC Robocall Challenge and a (now) partner of Time Warner Cable.
Nomorobo is a piece of software that stops illegal robocalls in their tracks. It’s a free, easy to setup service that uses a feature called “simultaneous ring.” When the Nomorobo number is enabled as the simultaneous ring number, it screens the call and only sends through legitimate calls. Users don’t have to worry – it still sends through legitimate automated calls such as school closings and doctors’ office reminders.
Nomorobo was the winner of the Best New Product award at the Winter 2015 Innovation Showcase session. We caught up with the founder of Nomorobo, Aaron Foss, to learn more about how the Innovation Showcase helped his business to succeed. You can view the video of his presentation below.
UpRamp: What did you remember most about your experience with the Innovation Showcase?
Aaron: The one thing that I remembered was doing the presentation up on stage and having the entire crowd, and there's all these cable people. I'm just some guy that nobody had ever seen and I presented my product in such a way that I had heads nodding but I could even see some of the people that were shaking their head “no, this isn't going to work" or something like that but by the end of that eight or ten minute presentation with the live demo, everybody had just come on over to my way of thinking and that was just super exciting.
UpRamp: That must have felt great.
Aaron: Afterwards everybody just kept on coming over and talking about what a great product it was, what a great presentation it was and I really knew I had something at that moment. It was the first time I'd ever really talked to the cable industry one-on-one and that really put in place a whole line of just really great things.
UpRamp: Did you get any significant business or connections as a result of the showcase?
Aaron: Yeah, absolutely. The number one was Time Warner. I had spoken to them earlier … maybe two months before. When I got a spot at the conference and made the presentation and won Best New Product, it really got them [Time Warner] to take [Nomorobo] very seriously. Then, just earlier this year we actually announced a one click integration with Time Warner. Now, 6.2 million Time Warner users can log into their Time Warner control panel, click the button that says Nomorobo, and they have robocall protection. I really think that without CableLabs that wouldn't have gone so smoothly and quickly.
UpRamp: Can you think of something that the showcase can be enhanced for future startups? Is there anything you would say could have been better?
Aaron: It was the best conference I ever been to. You guys had all of us come in early so we could work with the speech coach. You guys whipped everyone into shape and helped make very compelling, very exciting, very attention-getting presentations. I honestly cannot think of anything negative or even for you guys to improve other than keep getting great companies to present.
UpRamp: Do you feel like the showcase was a good use of your time?
Aaron: I recommend everybody who has the opportunity to present to drop whatever they are doing and do it. It's an unbelievable way to get your product and your message and your company in front of the people that matter. These are not the people that are going to shuffle papers, these are not the people that are going to be passing it up through the chain. These are the decision makers and when they see things that they want and that will enhance their product, they just come running to you. The validity that CableLabs provided to my company helped us signed these big deals.
UpRamp: Do you have any advice to the future showcase experience participants?
Aaron: I guess it's just a little bit of general presentation advice, but to make sure to quickly and succinctly get to your point. Everybody is sitting in the audience with their smartphone in their hand and ten seconds away from checking Twitter, Facebook, and email. The number one thing is to get people's attention. The best way to get people's attention is with an interesting product. What I love is CableLabs forces everybody to do a live demo. If your product does a very good live demo, just get to that demo as quickly as possible.
UpRamp: All right, and what are you up to now, is there anything you want to share about what's going on with your business or anything new?
Aaron: Yeah, absolutely the most exciting is our mobile products. The number one request that people had been saying is, "I love Nomorobo on my landline. When's it coming out for mobile?” We’ve been working on that since September and we're going to be launching it as a beta in the next couple of weeks and then fully launching it next month. As of right now, there are 475,000 users of Nomorobo which is really pretty amazing. Its roughly a thousand new users a day that are coming in. Analyzing the past hour, Nomorobo analyzed 76,000 calls and it blocked 34,000 robocalls!