Jeff Pulver: An Entrepreneur and Investor Who Doesn’t Know the Meaning of the Word ‘No’


Start Up Grind Pic

Startup Grind held its monthly event mid-February with Brian Park as moderator and Jeff Pulver, co-founder of Vonage, and founder of ViVox, the VON coalition, and most recently, Zula, as his guest.

Introduced this past July, Zula is a mobile collaboration solution for team communications that allows users to produce text messaging, initiates phone calls, share folders and calendars and do all of those things that teams need to do to get a job done, while revolutionizing the way teams work via their smartphones (it’s currently available for iOS and Android, with a web-based version coming soon).

It also generated more than $350k its first week of crowd funding.

Pulver offered sound advice during the first part of the Q & A on whether to demand change: “If you don’t ask the question, the answer is no.”  Pulver was referencing a question asked by Park about moving forward in a business venture and trusting your instincts.

“No” is certainly not a part of Pulver’s vocabulary.  Born and raised in Great Neck, Long Island, where he still lives to this day with his twin sons, by the time he was sixteen, Pulver had taught himself to code and was owner of several operations.

Pulver is not shy about discussing his lonely childhood.  As a young boy, his uncle, a ham radio operator, brought him to his office and showed him how to communicate through a tiny box. Pulver was instantly transfixed by the idea of doing radical things.

He has certainly accomplished that, having helped to create some very profitable and/or well-known companies.  He has invested in numerous tech companies and start-ups, including Foursquare and Twitter.  His largest venture, Vonage, is a phone network and SIP company that boasts over 2.5 million subscribers.

There are four key words Pulver lives by: listen, engage, connect, and curiosity. These terms enabled Pulver to make tough choices recently.  In his mid forties, he transformed his diet, eliminated gluten and meat, hired a personal trainer, and lost over 100lbs.

It would seem that Pulver can accomplish anything he sets his mind to

“No one told me I couldn’t, so I did,” he concluded. It certainly would be an interesting world if more people took his approach.

About the author: Mark Michael Stephens

Mark Michael Stephens is a professional writer specializing in pop culture, technology, human rights, and trends.  Mark has contributed to numerous publications and is honing a novel on growing up in Nevada.  He has a BA with Honors from The New School and lives in Manhattan.

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