Jolly Roger Telephone Company

jolly roger telephone companyStephen Berskson and Roger Anderson put the “jolly” in the Jolly Roger Telephone Company which they introduce to the Sharks in Shark Tank episode 1015. A telecommunications consultant by profession, Anderson, like most people, got annoyed by constant calls from telemarketers. Unscrupulous telemarketing companies ignore “do not call lists,” call from spoofed numbers to appear “local” and sometimes engage in outright fraud. It's a fact: people don't like telemarketers.

Anderson decided to do something about it. He thought just hanging up would allow a telemarketer to just go on to the next call and/or continue to call back. He thought he'd fight back by hurting telemarketing companies by wasting their time. So he made a voice robot that responds to various voice inflections. The idea was to waste as much of the telemarketer's time as possible. He recorded the calls and posted the best ones on YouTube and they were an instant hit. That's when he decided to start the Jolly Roger Telephone Company.

He initially offered the service for free and even mounted an unsuccessful Kickstarter campaign to keep it free. Now, for personal use (there's a business version too), it's only $12 a year. You simply set up your account online, create a “whitelist” of allowed numbers (ie: friends and family), pick your “favorite” bots and that's it. There are accounts available for land and mobile lines. You can go back and listen to the calls online anytime too!

How It Works

The bots have several “personalities” and come in both male and female voices. An algorithm notices changes in the caller's voice inflection. It auto replies with a series of “Mmm hmm's” and “Uh huh's.” When the bot senses the callers is getting suspicious, it replies with inane comments and questions like “sorry, there's a bee on my arm” or “you sound like someone I went to highschool with.”  The results are hilarious (there's a YouTube call video below) and effective. The best bots/calls keep a telemarketer engaged from 8-15 minutes!

While The Jolly Roger Telephone Company won't end the practice of telemarketing, it does provide a measure of protection (and entertainment) for users. Anderson probably wants a Shark for expanding servers and for “the Shark Tank Effect.” Will a Shark make a call on this business?

Jolly Roger Telephone Company Information

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Posts about Jolly Roger Telephone Company on Shark Tank Blog

Jolly Roger Messes with Telemarketers

Jolly Roger Telephone Company Shark Tank Recap

Stephen and Roger enter seeking $400,000 for 10% of their business. The pitch doesn't get off to a good start. The guys can't give the Sharks straight answers on how many subscribers they have, when they got started or how much money they've made. They are vague with how they  route calls to the service saying they use a third party “reputation score” company.

Mark calls it a “feature, not a product,” and goes out. Lori follows because she doesn't get the product. Jamie asks where his money would go if he invested. The guys say they want to invest in online marketing and develop relationships with carriers. Jamie doesn't like their answer and he goes out too. Kevin offers $400,000 for 50% and Daymond goes out. Jamie offers to go in with Kevin and Roger and Steve start telling a story. Kevin and Jamie get annoyed with Roger and Steve and go out. NO DEAL.

Jolly Roger Telephone Company Shark Tank Update

The Shark Tank Blog constantly provides updates and follow-ups about entrepreneurs who have appeared on the Shark Tank TV show. Jolly Roger is still in business as of June, 2019. They've added some new recordings to their website, but not much has changed since the show first aired.

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