Fireside chat with Jeff Pulver, Co-Founder of Vonage

[caption id="attachment_65868" align="aligncenter" width="224"]Jeff Pulver at Startup Grind NYC Jeff Pulver at Startup Grind NYC[/caption]

Jeff Pulver is a co-founder of Vonage, one of the biggest and earliest Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) companies, and Zula, a mobile messaging app for businesses. Jeff founded Min-X in 1998, which subsequently turned into Vonage. In 2004 the Federal Communications Commission issued “The Pulver Order”; the first positive ruling about VoIP in the United States. Pulver is a self-described futurist, serial entrepreneur and long-time evangelist for VoIP technologies. Pulver was also an early investor in Twitter, Foursquare, and Facebook, and is the founder of the 140 Conference.


On February 19th, Jeff Pulver joined Startup Grind NYC at the AOL offices in Manhattan. The Facebook acquisition of WhatsApp for $19 billion was just announced a few hours earlier and everyone was buzzing and eager to hear about the future of communication. Unlike many successful people who are in the spotlight, Jeff is very candid and open about his life. Jeff spoke about being a lonely kid, losing over 100 pounds, and being a serial entrepreneur. Startup Grind’s Brian Park was our interviewer for the night.


“If You Don’t Ask, the Answer is No”


As a child Jeff was fascinated by telephony and by college had built a de facto cell phone for his Trans Am. Little accomplishments were built on top of one another and over the years, Jeff started three companies before college, worked as an information technology executive, and had a major successful exit. These are huge successes over a career. How was Jeff able to accomplish so much? No one told him he couldn’t, so he did whatever he set out to accomplish.


The Future of Communication


When asked about the future of VoIP, Jeff quoted “Pulver’s Law”: The more virtual we become, the more we need to have face-to-face meetings. Jeff believes that we need more competition and reasons to be competitive and that innovation gets absorbed into larger companies instead standing alone. Currently Jeff is working on Zula, a communications platform for private conversations among teams. And what are Jeff’s rules for success? Listen, Connect, Share, Engage.


The full video of Jeff’s interview is available here:


Big thanks to AOL, Google for Entrepreneurs, Alley Watch, Handybook, and to all of the attendees for another great event!