By JONATHAN GUTIERREZ
Reporter for Silicon Hills News
YupiCall’s international calling services work with or without a smartphone and don’t require an Internet connection.
Julian Flores, a successful Mexican entrepreneur who founded SMS Gate, is the founder and CEO of YupiCall, a startup at Geekdom , a coworking and technology accelerator in San Antonio.
“It’s about bringing people together, allowing friends and families to talk to each other without worrying about a huge phone bill and Internet connectivity,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re calling from a big metropolis like New York or San Francisco. Even calling from New Delhi to La Paz, you are able to connect. The only thing you need is a regular cell phone.”
Since incoming calls are free almost everywhere in the world, YupiCall is able to help people stay connected by simply having them text the phone number they want to call to YupiCall’s local number in any country. YupiCall then calls that person to initiate the call and connect him or her with the person in the country they are trying to contact. It sounds like it could potentially be a long process to connect with YupiCall, but the task is seamless and happens just as fast as a regular call.
YupiCall has put a lot of effort into helping the world use its service without being a huge financial burden. The first 30 minutes of YupiCall’s service is free, but after that, YupiCall charges its customers a competitive rate.
Any mobile phone can use YupiCall via its texting capabilities, so users are not forced to search for Wi-Fi or buy expensive international calling plans with their service providers to use YupiCall’s services.
Flores sought advice from James Brehm, a telecommunications and IT consultant, on how to improve YupiCall, and although Brehm was skeptical about YupiCall initially, after giving it a test run, he realized how intuitive and useful it could potentially be for people around the world.
“I’ve been doing this since 2002 and I’ve worked with over 100 different UIP services that are trying to differentiate themselves,” Brehm said. “It’s very rare that one catches my attention because many of them are similar. This is different, and I can see that this can be almost viral to people outside the U.S..”
Gloria Cecilia Morales-Fusco, a YupiCall customer, who also helped with product testing in the company’s early developmental stages, is a big fan of YupiCall’s service.
“First of all, YupiCall is really cheap,” Morales-Fusco said. “That’s what caught my attention first. It’s inexpensive and it’s really easy to use. I actually live in Spain. Right now, I’m visiting family in Mexico. I use it all the time to call my family back here in Mexico and it’s really great.”
Morales-Fusco had one word to describe her experiences with international calling before subscribing to YupiCall.
“Expensive,” she said. “I used to get with my mom, and I would tell her, ‘Mom, let’s Skype or FaceTime.’ We didn’t use international calling services because it was too expensive. Now, I can call her any time I want. That’s why I’m such a fan. My friends in Spain, I tell them all the time to use this because they have other friends in Europe. They use it all the time now, so I recommend it, 100 percent.”
YupiCall, with 8,000 customers, has recently released an application for Android users, and it is readily available on Google Play now. An iOS version of the application is soon to be released and can be downloaded in the iPhone online App Store.