Parlor Interview

Parlor founder and CEO Joel Schwartz explains how Parlor gives like-minded people a place to have a conversation about the things that they love.

Transcript

Marcus
All right, well, hey, give us your name and the name of the company and your role in the company.
Joel
My name is Joel Schwartz, I’m the Founder of Parlor and currently the CEO.
Marcus
Okay. How long has Parlor been around?
Joel
It was envisioned about a little over two years ago, we launched our beta about six months ago and last night we went live in the App Store.
Marcus
Congratulations.
Joel
Thank you.
Marcus
And then what’s your revenue model?
Joel
In call advertising, you know every 10 or 20 minutes in between people that you talk to, we’ll play a short 20-second ad.
Marcus
Okay. Well, tell us what Parlor is and who would use it.
Joel
Parlor is for people that want to talk about the things that they love, so imagine you’re in a beauty parlor, you’re in a tattoo parlor, you’re in an executive parlor meeting, whatever your parlor is, whatever it is you enjoy to talk about. People feel most comfortable talking when it’s just real one-on-one conversation. Web Cam is a little too intimate for, you know, real close friends and family and to talk about the things that you love, text messaging or e-mailing is just not a good conversation, so we felt that a real conversation was the best way to have a conversation. Everything is one to one. You dial into the system, you choose your topic and you are automatically connected to somebody else that wants to talk about the same thing at the same time.
Marcus
Oh, okay. It’s not group chat, it’s not a conference call.
Joel
No. It’s not like a party line, it’s not a group call, it’s just real one-on-one conversation.
Marcus
Okay and how did you know that this was a good idea? How did you validate the idea?
Joel
I love to talk. And there’s always someone to talk to, not necessarily about what I want to talk about, but I knew on a global scale, there’s always people that want to talk about specific categories, specific topics and just looking around the space, there was no—there was nothing voice and social. There was a lot of Web Cam and social, there was a lot of texting, e-mailing and chatting and social, but there was no voice social. And I was just like, how many times I would love to just pick up the phone and talk about what’s on TV or talk about a sports game or talk about my favorite hobby and there was nothing out there.
Marcus
What have you risked to do this startup?
Joel
A lot of money, family, friends [laughing]. It’s been about two and a half years of non-stop work and it will probably be another couple of years of non-stop as well.
Marcus
Is this your first startup?
Joel
It’s not my first startup. I’ve had previous startups. My previous startup was BSC Telecom. Originally we were creating like some VOIP applications that turned into some crank calling applications, but they had millions of downloads and we had a proven revenue model so a few years ago is when I, you know, thought of Parlor and brought together a bunch of previous partners and previous developers and built like a top-notch creative platform. Right now we can handle a hundred thousand simultaneous inbound calls.
Marcus
Wow!
Joel
Yeah.
Marcus
Okay. If Parlor was a Super Hero, what would its super power be?
Joel
Be able to like announce to the whole world at one time that its coming to take over.
Marcus
[Laughing.] That’s pretty big super power!
Joel
I would think so.
Marcus
What are you guys trying to accomplish here at Launch Conference?
Joel
Well, you know, Launch! So----
Marcus
Okay, like last night, you did that. Yeah.
Joel
So, we’re really glad that that came in, right time, right place. And we’re looking to do a round of funding, now that we have the App launched. So, we feel the valuation is right, the timing is right, and we’re just going to enjoy the city.
Marcus
What’s your current valuation?
Joel
About six million. We’ve mainly been friends and family, a couple of Angels, but our seed round, we’re looking to raise about seven, seven hundred and fifty to one point five (1.5), it will give us a one to two year runway, you know, to prove the revenue model out and then from there hopefully we’ll do a Series 8.
Marcus
What kind of activities do you bring in house versus those you outsource?
Joel
Usually we attempt to do a lot in house first and only after we realize, sometimes it’s best to outsource, so we were—someone like the front end design, the front end development of our Android—of our iPhone App, we passed along to Source Bits. We were the first 50/50 approved startup under their 50/50 Program, so they—yeah, we did the front end. Most of the telecom stuff, you know, the VOIP back end and the carrier grey platform was done in house. But as we’re emerging, so many technologies, we’re using VOIP, we’re using mobile, so you know, there are a lot of those things, you know, with the funding that we have and the people that we have, we—I would say design. Design and a lot of front end stuff we outsource.
Marcus
Okay. Are there any final thoughts you’d like to tell our audience?
Joel
Download Parlor in the App Store and hopefully within the next month or two you’ll see it in the Android as well.
Marcus
Nice. Thank you very much.
Joel
Thank you.