Andrew Frame was recently named by BusinessWeek as a "top entrepreneur under the age of 30"--one of the next generation's best and brightest in the tech world. He's aiming to fulfill that promise with ooma, a company he founded in 2005 that has a whole new take on telephony. The ooma hub device will connect to a broadband connection and replace your traditional phone service, leading to vastly reduced phone bills--it enables unlimited U.S. domestic calls to any wireless or landline phone number. While the hub device itself weighs in at about $400 for those not lucky enough to be early adopters via the company's "White Rabbit BETA program," bills beyond that initial investment will be negligible. General availability should happen some time this fall.
ooma's gotten media play for a couple reasons -- nobody doing business in Silicon Valley is immune Valleywag's sharpened pen, after all. Also, much has been made in the press and on the podwaves about the involvement of Ashton Kutcher in the company. Can ooma succeed? We have no clue. It sounds pretty cool to us -- we'll leave the prognostication to those tech types like Engadget and Mossberg. We're more interested in the man behind it all -- and Frame, a San Francisco resident, answered a few questions for us:
1) ooma's located in Palo Alto, but you're a San Francisco resident, right? What brought you to the city? Why's Palo Alto a good place for ooma while San Francisco is a good place for Andrew?
I was born in Las Vegas but came to the bay to work for Cisco. San Jose was pretty boring for a young single guy, so I somehow convinced Cisco to allow me to work from home out of Manhattan Beach. After doing that for a while, I decided it was time to return to the bay. I wanted to start a company with a huge vision and it required one of the greatest teams ever assembled. At ooma we first had to build the product, which required a wide range of engineering talent. A high concentration of software and hardware talent exists in San Jose, Mountain View, Sunnyvale, etc. Palo Alto was the obvious choice for the office, but I chose to live in San Francisco. San Francisco is one of the greatest cities in the world – outstanding restaurants, beautiful views, rich history, diverse communities, and colorful character.After the jump: reaching high out of the gate and what's the deal with Ashton?