Jeff Stalnaker on PrivacyStar's Future, Worldwide Plans (Exec Q&A)
Jeff Stalnaker, above, co-founded PrivacyStar of Conway with former Acxiom CEO Charles Morgan.
by Luke Jones
Posted 8/13/2012 12:00 am
Updated 6 months ago
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Jeff Stalnaker co-founded PrivacyStar of Conway with former Acxiom CEO Charles Morgan. The company designs software for blocking unwanted communications.
Background: Before PrivacyStar was founded in 2008, Stalnaker worked for Little Rock's Acxiom Corp., serving as division president of the company's financial services division and later as chief financial officer. Before Acxiom, Stalnaker was a senior analyst for the Arkansas Public Service Commission.
Q: Can you explain a little bit about how PrivacyStar's technology works?
A: PrivacyStar provides a mobile application for Android and Blackberry that allows consumers to take control of their phones. We offer 13 features, including call/text blocking, caller ID, reverse look-up and directory assistance. A very popular feature allows consumers to easily report Do Not Call and Fair Debt Collections Practices violations. We are integrated with the Federal Trade Commission, which allows these complaints to be timely and accurate for potential enforcement actions. One important aspect of our service is our back-end system, which provides for licensing, provisioning and payments. We built this back-end to support the largest mobile operators in the world.
Q: Do you think PrivacyStar will ever expand from just phones to providing privacy applications for other areas?
A: Yes. We have a product roadmap that includes adding additional privacy features such as identifying and removing beacons and cookies from mobile devices. All consumers should know what has been added to their smartphones and, moreover, be able to remove these kinds of things from their personal devices.
Q: Recently, co-founder Charles Morgan indicated there's a worldwide market for the PrivacyStar app. How would that work? What would be the challenges?
A: In some areas - South America, for example - a typical consumer receives between 10 and 15 unwanted calls per day. There is a huge need for our services in these geographies, and we continue to work with mobile operators to address these needs. Our technology allows us to be very flexible for these operators - meaning that if one operator wants only five features and another wants eight, we can easily adapt to those requirements.
Q: PrivacyStar announced it was looking for new employees in central Arkansas; how will you find the workforce in terms of the skills you need?
A: We continue to work with the colleges and universities to ensure the curriculum matches the needs of a high-tech business. This will not happen overnight, but we have tremendous confidence that through the collaboration of technology-based businesses and our educational system we can rapidly catch up with other states and also meet the skill requirements needed for our business.
Q: Did your experience at Acxiom, where consumer data is a commodity, have anything to do with your desire to start PrivacyStar?
A: Many of our employees worked at Acxiom and gained experience in building world-class technology and delivering superior services to large companies. There is no doubt this experience has been vital in us successfully working with large mobile operators such as MetroPCS, Alltel and Cricket. Additionally, the experience gained at Acxiom in the care and security of data has been extremely beneficial.
Q: What sort of renovations are taking place at Conway's Federal Plaza to make way for the new PrivacyStar headquarters?
A: The second floor was completely renovated to meet our needs. Several very open areas were created to allow our employees to work closely together. And we have some really cool colors around the office.
Q: What are some innovations we can expect from PrivacyStar in the future?
A: We continue to work on additional features for our user base. Some of these include family solutions, parental controls and text spam reporting. Many of these innovations are coming at the request of our carrier partners. You'll see tremendous innovation out of our company during the next 12 to 24 months.
currently, they have 1.2 million subscribers....The Ark Governor announced in a joint press release with Chas Morgan that they are planning to hire 120 people..they plan to make a push worldwide to get access to international mobile users...Currently their platform is monetized by a monthly subscription plan of 3 dollars..however that will change if they form an INUV partnership into an ad supported platform...this is just my guess..remember the old INUV owned the bargainmatch app, and they needed a distribution model and that when they approcahed the old Vertro.......so one has to think..if they are hiring that many people where is the dough coming from? and if they have access to that kind of capital..is it debt or equity????