They’re Coming to America

David L. Thomson will join SpinVox’s U.S.-based outpost, at the company’s new New York office, as senior vice president of speech technology, the company announced earlier this week. Thomson was previously chief technology officer at Lucent Speech Solutions, Fonix, and SpeechPhone.

SpinVox is a provider of adaptive speech-to-text solutions that convert phone messages into text. The Thomson hire is part of a continued and concerted drive to dominate the U.S. mobile speech market with that platform.

“The U.S. is our most important global market, simply because of the presence of tier-one carriers,” says Jonathan Simnett, global director of communications for SpinVox. “We’re already on five continents, having in the last couple of months launched in Latin America [thus far] in Chile with MoviStar.”

“This is the year we’ll really be focusing on North America,” he adds.

The New York office is a central component of that focus. According to Simnett, it will put SpinVox in close proximity to major American partners like Avaya and allow the company to draw from a larger pool of northeastern talent.

The last few months have been particularly busy for SpinVox with regards to that recruiting effort. Among some of the prominent hires are:

  • Dominick Tolli, who was plucked from the position of vice president of innovation services at Virgin Mobile to be the new senior vice president of marketing in North America;
  • David Furtado, who was sales vice president at Sprint and then vice president of global application sales at Alcatel-Lucent and will now be senior vice president of carrier sales; and
  • Richard Cohen, SpinVox’s new vice president of market strategy and solutions, who holds a number of patents in multimedia messaging and multimedia server architecture, one of which is said to have generated $1 billion in revenue already.  He has also consulted for a number of large companies.

“These are the caliber of people we are able to attract to SpinVox now that we are the world’s biggest commercial speech platform,” boasts Simnett.

“Guys like Rich Cohen and Dave Thomson are the absolute cream of the voice community,” he adds.

While SpinVox hasn’t revealed how much this amassing of talent will cost the company, one has to imagine that between the downtown office and this handful of salaries, the sum must be sizable. Clearly, the company has enough skin in the game to be dead serious about grabbing a big fistful of U.S. market share—particularly given the widening recession.

In fact, SpinVox doesn’t seem dissuaded in the face of the recent economic maelstrom; they seem downright excited.

“SpinVox is a rare thing,” Simnet says. “It’s one of those services that decreases costs for a carrier and increases its revenues. It’s a proposition ideally suited for the current economy.”

He anticipates the U.S. will eventually represent 50 percent of SpinVox’s global revenue—this with 15 carriers operating worldwide and only five on American shores thus far.

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