Stephen 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
Posts about Jolly Roger Telephone Company on Shark Tank Blog
Jolly Roger Telephone Company Shark Tank Recap
Stephen and Roger will pitch the panel of five Sharks on the business and its prospects for growth. They'll need to convince Mark Cuban, Kevin O’Leary, Lori Greiner, Daymond John and guest Shark Jamie Siminoff that the company is worthy of a Shark investment. A good business plan, good financials, and sales data will impress the Sharks, but they’ll need to show them THEY are capable of running the company to “Shark standards." A full pitch re-cap on Jolly Roger Telephone Company will be available on Shark Tank Blog once this episode airs.
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. Once an episode has aired, we monitor the progress of the businesses featured, whether they receive funding or not and report on their progress. The Shark Tank Blog will follow-up on Jolly Roger Telephone Company & Roger Anderson as more details become available.