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December 20, 2014

Does Messaging in the Workplace Have a Pain Point?

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The CEO of Zula, Jacob Ner David, is frequently asked the same question by VC’s: “What’s the pain point you’re trying to solve?” Before we get into the answer, let’s have a look at the humorous background stories that led up to it. He shared these stories in the 2014 Zula Summit.

Jacob got into the VoIP scene about 18 years ago. It was one of the first uses of the Internet infrastructure (internet telephony) to communicate in new and interesting ways, or so they thought.

The Story of the First Call

That was when he cofounded a company called Delta Three, which was one of the first VoIP providers. Within 3 years, the service has a large number of users (a large user base within 3 years was very impressive at the time.) The team spent lots of time, money, and resources to make VoIP work right. When they were finally were able to make international calls using their service, it was an exciting breakthrough.

Jacob made his first international call to his grandfather. He was so excited, and told his grandfather that he’s calling over the Internet. His grandfather said, “Sounds like a phone call,” and quickly hung up. He did this because of the cost of traditional international phone calls. The point is, the experience really didn’t change much. It’s just how we go about doing it. The excitement of phone calls is still there, as is the anxiety if no one answers.

The Story of the Law Firm

Jacob used to work in his father-in-law in a low tech law firm. The low tech aspect was frustrating to Jacob, till one day when his father-in-law finally sent Jacob an email. Jacob was so excited, and he welcomed him to the digital world. It turned out that the email was actually from the secretary, Betty. Jacobs father-in-law would have Betty print out e-mails, read them, then dictate how to reply. That was his little low tech hack into high tech, and he was very happy with it.

Back to Zula

With Zula, Jacob looked into the communication space. He wanted to allow people to communicate without thinking about how they are communicating. He doesn’t want people to spend too much time setting up a conference call. He wants to make file sharing quick. It’s a challenge to get people to adopt the technology and communicate without thinking about how they are doing it.

So when VCs ask, “What’s the pain point you are trying to solve?” Jacob typically replies saying “There is no pain point.” If you look back, his father in law is happy dictating to Betty. At the end of the day, it’s all about making workplace communication more joyful and delightful. If we could do that, we are doing a tremendous amount.


Watch the video below to hear more about what Jacob had to say about his experiences before, and with Zula: