Randy Adams is your typical Silicon Valley entrepreneur, except for one small detail — he’s about to turn 60.His latest startup that’s turning heads is CrowdCall, a conference calling app.
He admits startup life is a “young man’s game,” but he still in love with what he’s doing. “I like hanging with innovative people. That’s never really changed for me.”
Adams has been at it a lot longer than most of you. He worked for Barry Diller (surprisingly bad grammar in his writing, says Adams). He worked for Steve Jobs (If something wasn’t elegant, he let you know and made you feel like crap about it). He introduced Jerry Yang and David Filo to Michael Moritz at Sequoia. He cofounded Funny or Die with Will Ferrell. And if all that’s not impressive enough, he also helped invent the PDF.
With a resume that long, you think it would be time to hang it up. Become a VC. Live the good life.
He says that’s not for him. “I don’t really want to play golf, then drink three martinis and fall asleep.” He adds, “It’s exciting” to be building companies and working on startups.
“You get to a certain age and you think, ‘how much time do I have left?’ I can count the minutes I have left on the Earth. And there’s so much to do. I really want to get as much done as possible,” says Adams.
He’s not just some non-technical co-founder filled with ideas. He says, “I still code, which is ridiculous.”
CrowdCall came from another company he was building, called SocialDial.
The idea behind SocialDial was to allow people to call other people even if they didn’t have their phone number. So, if Nich Carlson is connected to Rory McIlroy on LinkedIn, but doesn’t have Rory’s number, he’d be able to call him anyway.
Adams said the problem was that no one really likes to make phone calls anymore, so the app didn’t gain much traction. However, he and his partners noticed people were using the the conference call feature of the app. So they decided to build an app that would only do conference calls.
The team working on CrowdCalls is Adams, his cofounder Buck French, and Jing Zhao, who was a lead engineer on WebEx.
CrowdCall is an app you download for Android or the iPhone. You pick as many phone numbers as you want and just hit call. It’s a super simple way to make conference calls.
It doesn’t seem like the kind of thing that could ever develop into a big business, but Adams says the conference call business is a $2.6 billion market in North America alone.He also says the company will follow a “Dropbox model” for revenue. You can use CrowdCall all you want on a limited basis, but if you’re a heavy user then you’ll have to pay something like $5 a month.
One week after releasing CrowdCall, it had about 6,000 users.
So far, he doesn’t have any funding for CrowdCall aside from a limited about of Angels. He’ll be looking for funding shortly.
With his resume, his enthusiasm for what he’s doing, and a pretty killer little app he should have no problem getting funding.