Yack.net: Alan Mortis
Meet Yack.net, the new business communication and collaboration platform that allows phone calls to be recorded and searched - just like chat messages
Tell us what your business does:
Yack.net is a business communication and collaboration platform.
It combines file uploads, instant messaging and video and audio calls in a single interface.
Its USP is that calls can be recorded and transcribed, which means that any conversation you have on Yack.net can be searched and replayed from any point, within the same timeline.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
As a software company working on projects that centered around our team developing chat functions, the beginnings of Yack.net were organic based on the work we did on previous projects.
However, the defining moment for the development of Yack.net was when I came to the realisation that verbal calls should be searchable, like text chats, and that you should be able to do this within one single platform.
Often things are discussed and then decided on within a conference call, of which no record is kept.
This means that you can’t remind yourself what was said, and therefore it’s hard to check up on whether things have been done. We wanted to rectify that.
How did you know there was a market for it?
I have personally experienced the frustration that can arise within a project team when people fail to deliver on their commitments.
If there is a written record of the conversation, team members can be held to account, but when commitments are made verbally, there is often no record of what was said.
Yack.net democratises teams by providing a way to find and review preview verbal conversations with all team members.
Yack.net isn’t something that people necessarily recognise that they need before they’ve heard about it, but once it’s been explained, they can see the multiple advantages.
What were you doing before starting up?
I graduated from Oxford University with a degree in physics and started my career working for Micro Focus.
Following spells at Xara and Circdata, I decided to take the entrepreneurial jump in 2010 and founded Connected Digital, a software development company that focuses on helping businesses connect with customers.
The company has offices in the UK and Poland, and has completed a number of developments including the BoardPacks mobile apps for eShare, the Actors and Actresses apps for Spotlight Casting and apps for numerous magazine publishers.
Connected Digital is responsible for creating the technology behind Yack.net – as well as funding its development.
Have you always wanted to run your own business?
Yes – I love the freedom to pursue interesting projects knowing that I am ultimately responsible for all aspects of the work. I am a true tech devotee and so I have dedicated my career to bringing innovations to the software industry.
How did you raise the money?
The development of Yack.net has been funded to date by Connected Digital. Now that we have a live product, we are looking for external investment to help market the product.
Describe your business model and how you make money
Companies pay either a monthly or annual subscription so that their employees can use Yack.net as a team collaboration tool. They can sign up online and try it out with a free trial.
What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
Having overcome the technical challenge of how to build the product, we are now working on the marketing challenge of how to present a disruptive product.
What was your first big breakthrough?
The moment we knew it was all coming together was when we successfully designed a user interface that makes the recorded calls useful and searchable.
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Follow the thread of a good idea and see where you get to.
Where do you want to be in five years' time?
In year one, we want to demonstrate the value of recorded, transcribed calls within a team collaboration portal. By the end of year three, we plan to be a major platform on a level with Slack, Skype for Business etc. By year five, the sky's the limit.
At the end of the day, I would like to see companies everywhere using Yack.net to improve their productivity as it encourages people to set and stick to realistic goals.
I am a strong advocate of transparency and accountability in the workplace, and actively promote the equality of access to information. I believe Yack.net is the key to making that the reality in the modern workplace.