Startup Roundup: Vidyo,, BlueCollarContacts

Photo: CEO Ofer Shapiro of Vidyo Photo Credit: Courtesy Vidyo
CEO Ofer Shapiro of Vidyo | Courtesy Vidyo

Vidyo: It’s big news when a New Jersey-based company teams up with Google. VidyoH20 for Google+ Hangouts is the newest collaboration between growth-stage startup Vidyo (Hackensack) and the Mountain View, Calif.-based tech giant. This time Vidyo has enabled Hangouts to be linked to legacy conference systems. That way, businesspeople with legacy systems can be in the same hangout with others dialing in from on the road through a kind of “switchboard” videoconferencing service. This Forbes article explains the new service very well.

In the article, author and analyst Patrick Moorhead points out, “You have to always take notice when Google works with another technology company. That technology must be pretty good if a company who licenses it also develops autonomous cars, intelligent robots, stealthy scale-out data centers few have seen and, of course, operating systems. Well, Google has been doing many things with Vidyo, dating back to 2008. Google licensed Vidyo’s technology for the original Google+ Hangouts and Google Talk. The two companies are also collaborating to include Vidyo’s SVC [scalable video coding] technology in VP9 [an open video compression standard] and client software in Chrome.”

Photo: Ari Rabban speaking at Asbury Agile in 2013. Photo Credit: Khurt Williams
Ari Rabban speaking at Asbury Agile in 2013. | Khurt Williams

Phone.Com: Newark-based, which is backed by ff Venture Capital (New York and Hoboken), has been piling up awards lately, including a Stevie for customer service and the 2014 INTERNET TELEPHONY Product of the Year Award. The company was also awarded its first patent in December 2013. It patented a process that addresses cost and privacy issues when users conference from any phone, and texting and caller ID management when they use mobile devices.

In November 2013, Phone.Com announced its first iOS app, Mobile Office for iOS, which gives entrepreneurs separate personal and professional identities on a single device, the company said. The app’s key feature lets small businesses manage several telephone numbers on their mobile phones. Businesspeople no longer have to reveal their personal phone numbers to customers, partners or clients. They can assign specific numbers to different roles or professional projects, Phone.Com said.

Photo: Michael Stevens founder of Photo Credit: Courtesy Michael Stevens
Michael Stevens founder of | Courtesy Michael Stevens

BlueCollarContacts: (Fairfield) is a free social networking platform and jobs site for skilled workers in the trades. Users can also blog, create forums, email jobs to friends, and create groups with similar interests. The online community was begun in May, 2012 and launched in December, 2012, by founders, who all come from a trades background and saw a need for an online place for this community to congregate. talked to cofounder Mike Stevens Jr who said that the website is part of an online and offline community for this underserved population. Stevens told us that in conjunction with the website, the company ran a job fair at Caldwell College (West Caldwell) last year and had companies like N.J. Transit appear. Stevens has been promoting the site, which is free, at vocational schools (such as Bergen County Technical Schools, Atlantic County Vocational Schools and ITM) all over New Jersey. Recently the startup updated the site to add an instant messaging system and resume uploading.

Says Stevens: “One of the main reasons people in the trade need a website like is that it is their own exclusive network. When Blue Collar professionals apply for jobs have to go through a staffing agency or they have to go on Craigslist, Monster or Career Builder, which are inefficient ways for them to connect to the people who will hire them and don’t have a social networking component. On our site, they can apply for jobs, connect with companies and connect with each other through social networking. We recently added a feature so that they can upload photos showcasing their work. So, not only can they create a profile, but they can say: these are some of the projects I’ve worked on in the past.”

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