Technical.ly Philly

Church&State:
Hack with Technical.ly at this media business hackathon, Sept. 26-28 @ WHYY

Dev

Mar. 18, 2009 11:30 am

Shop Talk: Meir Cohen of TrapCall

Meir Cohen has remained focused on telecommunication technology. In 2005, he helped found SpoofCard.com, which lets users change their recognized Caller ID numbers and disguise their voices. Soon after, he was part of the launch and development of two other phone-based innovations: LiarCard.com and LoveDetect.com. “These technologies rely on very powerful and accurate voice analysis […]

Meir Cohen has remained focused on telecommunication technology.

In 2005, he helped found SpoofCard.com, which lets users change their recognized Caller ID numbers and disguise their voices. Soon after, he was part of the launch and development of two other phone-based innovations: LiarCard.com and LoveDetect.com.

“These technologies rely on very powerful and accurate voice analysis technology engines to extract different emotions out of a telephone call and determine if someone is lying to you or how much your spouse loves you,” he said. “I am a 27 year old college educated technology nut. I always loved any new technologies especially if it involved telecom.”

So it should follow that his latest venture hasn’t strayed too far from his love.

Last month, TelTech Systems, the Toms River, N.J.-based company of which he is president and co-founder, launched TrapCall, which, among other features, promises to unmask blocked phone numbers.

More than 200,000 people signed up in the first four weeks, the attention is buzzing and Cohen, who calls it an “honor” to be part of Philly’s growing tech scene, is ready to show what’s behind his most popular product.

TrapCall, which officially launched Feb. 17, has gotten attention from Wired, ABC News, LifeHacker and others, including most recently the New York Times.

The service takes advantage of a “loophole” in telephone systems that allows toll-free numbers to receive the calling party’s phone number regardless of whether or not it is a blocked or otherwise private number.

“You simply conditionally forward your phone to our toll-free number where we trap this information and zap the call back to you within seconds with the calling party’s number unmasked on your caller ID,” Cohen said. “The whole process takes only a few seconds, and the calling party hears only normal ring tones while the call is being connected and will have no idea their number was just trapped.”

The service recently became compatible with Verizon Wireless, and was initially available to AT&T and T-Mobile users.

“The next step is working out all the kinks and hopefully bringing on more carriers, and expanding our service to other customers besides cellphone
users, such as landline phones,” Cohen said. “We are also working on providing an alternative voice mail service for our customers.”

TrapCall’s basic-level service comes in two different varieties: a free advertising-based version called FlyTrap and BugTrap, which costs $2.95 a month and comes ad-free. Both include the company’s two basic features: number unmasking and blacklisting – which allows you to send unwanted callers to a disconnected number recording when they call your phone.

MouseTrap costs $9.95 monthly and includes the option to record 10 voice mail transcription, caller ID name alerts, toll-free support and missed call alerts sent by SMS. BearTrap, the premium plan, additionally includes the ability to record your incoming calls and receive billing name and address information, if available, by SMS.  All plans come with a 15-day free trial.

It should be noted that SpoofCard, his service launched in 2005, would override TrapCall.

“We do consider it an honor to be part of the Philly tech community, and we definitely see tremendous growth and potential to become the next Silicon Valley east but at the same time, we believe that technology and innovation should not be grounded by geographic boundaries and talent from across the world should work together to continue to produce amazing things,” Cohen said. “We have achieved a lot but there is so much more to be done. Ideas have no boundaries.”

Every Wednesday, Shop Talk shows you what goes into a tech product, organization or business in the Philadelphia region. See others here.

-30-
Christopher Wink

Christopher Wink is a cofounder and Editorial Director of Technical.ly, the local technology news network. Previously, Wink worked for a homeless advocacy nonprofit and was a freelance reporter for a variety of publications. He writes regularly about news innovation and best business practices on his personal blog here. The bicycle commuter loves cities, urban politics and squabbling about neighborhood boundaries.

Advertisement