Iñaki Berenguer: Making it Anywhere (and in New York)

I’m not paranoid but I’m sure somebody’s out to get me!

I’ve tried everything; not answering, answering and leaving the handset next to the TV or other source of loud noise, answering in English, being rude, asking the caller for some extremely personal information, claiming to have got out of the shower just to answer, or just losing my cool and screaming that I will hire a crack team of lawyers who will ruin the caller and his or her entire family for generations to come. And yet still the cold callers find a way of getting to me.

Perhaps I should have found out about Contactive earlier. Had I done so I would have known straight away that the call was from a telecomm company, mattress salesman, Jehova’s Witness or my mother.

Contactive is the brainchild of Valencian engineer Iñaki Berenguer; and it’s quite a big brain he’s got floating around in there between his ears; after all he did in 2012 sell his previous brainchild, Pixable to Singapore Telecom for the not unfrivolous sum of 27 million dollars.

Inaki belenguer

The name ‘Contactive’ comes from Cold War-era spy vernacular. Intelligence agencies used the term for foreign spies whose multiple identities had been discovered and compiled into a single file. And that’s what Contactive does; organize information about your deadly enemies, or Movistar, so that if they ever do catch you in the shower, then you’ll know not to answer.

Contactive is a big data company that focuses on real-time identity. Launched in 2013, Contactive’s free CallerID app for Android showcases the power of its big data platform applied to online identities, uniting the functionality of the mobile phone with the knowledge of the internet. Contactive CallerID changes the way people are making decisions about the calls they answer by providing users with valuable information on unknown numbers in the moment that matters most: right when the phone rings. By automating the process of Googling phone numbers and names, scanning public directories, and sifting through multiple social network updates, Contactive instantly displays the most vital information about a caller as the call is coming in.

Such prior knowledge would have blown James Bond’s cover before he ever had a chance to shake (or was it stir??) his Martini. A call would reveal more than his wife is ever likely to find out just by going through his dirty underwear.

Iñaki works out of New York City, one of many talented Valencians who have made there way in the Big Apple by abandoning the Big Orange.

His mixed team of Americans and Spaniards work together to replace phone numbers with meaningful pieces of our lives and to shape the future of mobile communications.

How does it work? Well, if you search the Internet for a phone number, you can usually find the name behind that number. With the name, you can then search for publicly available information from Yelp, Facebook, or a Wikipedia page. Contactive automates this search and within seconds returns all the public information it finds on the Internet as well as in Contactive’s unique Global Directory.

Berenguer, based in Soho, NYC, describes his staff as “small team with big brains, with well-dressed PhDs, charmingly dangerous engineers, marketing royalty, handsome designers, wizards of big data, and wicked sharp interns”.

Iñaki is no recent arrival in the USA; he had previously worked at Microsoft Corporation, McKinsey & Company (in Madrid, Sao Paulo and Helsinki) and NEC Laboratories America and studied at Massachusetts Institute of Technology – Sloan School of Management and Columbia University, not to mention, although I might if provoked, a spell at Hewlett Packard (Brussels, Belgium), as well as some time studying at the little old University of Cambridge.

But none of that sounds as impressive as the fact that he found time to spend a month as a volunteer for the NGO Envirocare in Tanzania.

He is the author of over 25 research publications in international journals and is the inventor of 3 patents. He is also the recipient of the British Council, Fulbright, La Caixa, Cambridge-MIT Institute, Rafael del Pino, and Leonardo Da Vinci fellowships.

No doubts his teachers back at the IES Ramon Llull school in Valencia must be proud of him.

As this technology is way over my head, and in my village people still climb up the hill to shout news and gossip to their neighbours; you’d better check out these sites if you want to know more:

http://contactive.com/

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.contactive

 

 

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