Speek Partners With Dell, Also Gets Praise From Edward Norton & Sophia Bush

Speek, DC Startup, Edward Norton, Sophia Bush, DellWell Tuesday morning we started working on a big story about Speek, a great Washington DC startup we’ve been covering since before they launched. Speek is the “easiest way to conference” and it really is. Speek’s co-founders John Bracken and Danny Boice are big supporters of Nibletz and Everywhere Else.

So we were excited when Boice emailed us to tell us about an exciting new partnership with Dell. The partnership, which went live yesterday afternoon, has the Fortune 50 computer manufacturer promoting Speek through several of their digital marketing channels to over 10 million+ of the company’s business customers. Speek is the only startup that’s part of this new partnership which Dell calls “Dell Marketplace”.

Dell’s Marketplace is launching on Dell’s Center For Entrepreneurs. That site is a highly curated collection of companies that provide services for the entrepreneur community. Dell has embraced the entrepreneurial community with several efforts including recruiting Ingred Vanderveldt as their Entrepreneur in Residence.

Through the Marketplace Dell offers entrepreneurrs access to special deals from companies ranging from FedEx to Speek. Our good friends at Influence & Co are also featured in the Marketplace.

But that wasn’t the only big news this week for the DC based startup. On Wednesday afternoon the company received tweets praising their conference calling platform from Academy Award winning actor (and Maryland native) Edward Norton and Teen Choice Award winning star Sophia Bush.

Norton started his day off with a string of tweets about Speek




He also tweeted another four messages including a link to a special deal for his followers (hint click here and take advantage)



Also Wednesday morning, Sophia Bush, who played young entrepreneurial starlet Brooke Davis on the CW hit series One Tree Hill, also said she was obsessed with Speek.



What’s all the hype about? Sign up for your Speek account here at Speek.com

You can conference call me anytime at Speek.com/kyle

Check out the new Dell Marketplace for entrepreneurs here. 

See Speek co-founder Danny Boice at this huge national startup conference in Memphis.


This WSJ Startup Of The Year Plays Jeopardy For Team Building: Who Is Speek?

Speek, DC Startup, startups, startup tips, WSJ startup of the year

DC’s Speek is the number 4 ranked WSJ Startup Of The Year. This program, put on by the digital arm of the Wall Street Journal, takes 24 startups through a program of mentorship from business, tech, and entertainment titans. While “accelerators” are nothing new, a video series designed around them is a new and exciting concept and as you can imagine WSJ has an amazing mentor pool to tap from.

We’ve followed the path of Speek since we first heard about it over 18 months ago at a pitch event in Washington, DC. E-vite co-founder John Bracken and Danny Boice are making conference calls suck less.

Now what we like even more than simple conference calls (just go to http://speek.com/kyle) is the fact that Bracken and Boice are true believers in remembering their roots and supporting where they came from. While they are themselves part of a “program” of sorts, both Bracken and Boice are passionate about mentoring other entrepreneurs, speaking at events and sharing their experiences.

They’re leaders in the Washington DC startup community, a fact that showed when nearly 500 people showed up for a Speek celebration party earlier this summer.

Speek’s videos talk about the things they know best, simplicity, functionality, team, and branding.

One of the videos they do “speeks” to many startups across the globe. Like other startups Speek has a distributed work force. According to Boice 60% of their work force is local to DC, but the other 40% is distributed across the globe.

As a team-building exercise the guys at Speek played Jeopardy. Each employee completed a questionnaire and put the game together. Check out the WSJ video below.


Founder Spotlight: Danny Boice Co-Founder Speek.com

Danny Boice, Speek, Guest Post, YEC, Startup InterviewDanny Boice is the CTO of Speek, a 500 Startups funded startup that lets users do conference calls with a simple link (speek.com/YourName) rather than using phone numbers and PINs. Danny contributes regularly to the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, PandoDaily, Fast Company, and other publications. He attended Harvard undergrad and did advanced studies at MIT. Follow him @DannyBoice.

Who is your hero? 

Lemmy from Motorhead.

What’s the single best piece of business advice that helped shape who you are as an entrepreneur today, and why?

“Find what you love and let it kill you.” – Charles Bukowski

I take this quote to mean that you should find the thing that you are intensely passionate about first and foremost. Once you have found that thing then spend the rest of your life working your a*s off to be great at it.

What’s the biggest mistake you ever made in your business, and what did you learn from it that others can learn from too?

Only get in bed with people you really like. This applies to co-founders, partners, you name it.

When my first company was acquired I was heavily incentivized to join the management team of the company that acquired us. I really did not get along with the founders of that company and we rarely saw eye to eye. I felt marginalized and believed that my talents were under-appreciated. It was an absolutely miserable experience for me and I spent a couple years being unhappy. It’s just not worth losing years of your life.

What do you do during the first hour of your business day and why?

I put together a to-do list for the day using todoist. Then I get myself to inbox zero.  I like starting the day with a conscious plan of what I want to get done and I don’t like checking email throughout the day because it is a barrier to getting things done.

What’s your best financial/cash-flow related tip for entrepreneurs just getting started? 

Keep your nut low. This applies to personal life and business. The lower the expense structure the more freedom you have.

Quick: What’s ONE thing you recommend ALL aspiring or current entrepreneurs do right now to take their biz to the next level?

Become an expert in the Lean Startup methodology. The best management approach I have found to date is using data and science experiments to make decisions.

What’s your definition of success? How will you know when you’ve finally “succeeded” in your business?

Success means having the freedom to do what I want when I want to do it. Money, time, obligations, and contracts should not be a factor. I call it “airplane money.” If you can wake up in the morning, isolate the place you really want to go today and jump in a plane and go there, then you’ve achieved success.

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.


Danny Boice spoke at this huge startup conference last year and he’s back again this year.


DC Mayor Vincent Gray Celebrates, Speek, DC Tech and 1776


“I think I’ve been here every week since it opened,” DC Mayor Vincent Gray told a standing room only crowd at the Speek launch and thank you party held at 1776DC on Friday evening. Gray and Newark Mayor Cory Booker are two politicians very friendly to startups.

Gray and his constituents working on DC’s economic development were instrumental in helping 1776DC secure their prime real estate at 1133 15th Street in Northwest Washington. The center, directed by Donna Harris and Evan Burfield, is the epicenter of startups in DC and the go-to place for some great startup events and parties. “1776 sure knows how to throw a party,” Gray told the audience.

“We’ve got it down to a science,” Burfield told us in regards to flipping the space from mega co-working to a great place to party. Walls, desks, and even mock windows are all on wheels which makes the space customizable for anything from hackathons (Angel Hack is being held there this weekend) to small strategy meetings, to parties with upwards of 500.

And that’s exactly what happened Friday evening.

As for Gray, the very active mayor arrived early and stayed late, making sure to speak with anyone who wanted his attention. Gray, who proudly sported a 1776 DC Tshirt at SXSW earlier this year, was enthusiastic about everything having to do with DC startups.

“There were 75 startups knocking at the door when 1776 opened,” Gray told the crowd during his official remarks. Burfield quickly piped up to announce that the final number of startups at launch, a little over a month ago, was actually 103.

Gray said that for DC to continue in the right direction they need to reinvent the economy and startups play a big part of that. Gray said that over 600,000 people live in the district and he wants more to live, play, and work in our nation’s capital.

Gray was very enthusiastic about Speek, the gamechanging technology that is making conference calls easier. Gray told Nibletz that his job dictates that he’s always on conference calls. In our informal conversation Gray was able to cite details about 1776 and startups (by name) without a crib sheet. Gray also mentioned the dedication of DC entrepreneurs to their companies and their city, laughing about the dedication of Speek’s co-founders and this tattoo stunt from SXSW.

As you’ll see in the video, the Mayor of DC is also the Mayor of DCTech and as such, a very enthusiastic cheerleader for all DC startups.

DC’s Free & Easy Conference Call Startup Speek Throwing Free And Easy Mega Launch Party

Speek, DC Startup,startup launch, startup partyA Friday night party at 1776 will be a who’s who of the startup world. Evite co-founder John Bracken and the legendary Danny Boice, the founders of Speek.com, are throwing their official launch party.


Speek eliminates long dial in numbers, bridge codes, and awful elevator music for conference calls. To use the Speek platform to conference call somebody, you just go to their Speek page and click one button. For example, if you wanted to conference call me you would just go to speek.com/kyle.

Speek went into beta last summer and has been iterating over the course of the last year. They’ve added robust mobile apps and packed the website with easy-to-use and easy-to-understand features.

Boice is a party animal, diehard tech guy, and a startup aficionado. In fact, he spoke at Everywhereelse.co with a great talk called “You Only Launch Once”. We next saw him at SXSW in Austin, Texas. As part of his speed pitch he said that if Speek got the most votes in a pitch contest, the slightly more reserved Bracken would get a tattoo of their monkey logo on his ass. Needless to say they won and Bracken got the tattoo.


So to celebrate their official launch, Speek is hosting the launch party of all launch parties at 1776 in DC. Because Speek and the DC tech scene are so intertwined with the fine folks at Startup America, this party will include dueling pianos (will Scott Case be back from Seattle?). In addition there will be an open bar, raffles and giveaways. The picture above is the temporary tattoos of the Speek Monkey that you can put on your ass, to match Bracken’s which it doesn’t come off.

The party starts at 8pm on the campus of 1776: 1133, 15th Street NW, 12th Floor, Washington DC 20005. It’s free, all you have to do is register here.

DC Startup Speek, The Easiest Way To Conference, Comes Out Of Beta

Speek, DC Startup,startups,We’ve been reporting on Speek, the easiest way to conference call, since we saw co-founder John Bracken pitch at TechBuzz in Washington DC last May. If Bracken’s name sounds familiar it’s because he was also a co-founder of e-vite, the easiest way to invite people to an event, which was the precursor to things like Eventbrite and Facebook events.

We quickly hopped on board the Speek train as soon as the beta was ready. In fact I was such an early user that my Speek page is http://speek.com/kyle. This URL allows anyone to conference call me anytime, on the fly and without the use of long, hard to remember toll free numbers, pin numbers and crappy elevator music.

How it works:

1. Head to speek.com
2. register your preferred username (it’s free)
3. direct people who want to conference call you to go to your speek.com page and click the button

It’s that easy. You can also use Speek as a way to give people access to you by phone without having to reveal your number. Speek’s mobile apps deliver the same easy to conference functionality in the palm of your hand.

While UberConference was the winner of the TechCrunch Disrupt battlefield last year at TechCrunch Disrupt NY, we stil found Speek to be easier to use, and much more intuitive. We got to interview the 500 startups backed, Speek team last year as well.

Now Speek is ready to come out of beta. Their official launch is coming with a new app, new ux, new design, new features, pay wall, webrtc client for VOIP and much more. They’ve seen growth double in every key metric every two months since launching in beta. Not only that but along the way Speek’s other cofounder Danny Boice, pitched their startup at SXSW this year on the Tech Cocktail stage, resulting in Bracken getting the Speek monkey tatooed on his ass.

Both Bracken and Boice are diehard startup guys. Boice even spoke at the inaugural everywhereelse.co The Startup Conference, delivering a talk he called “You Only Launch Once” (YOLO).

We’re excited to be joining Speek in two weeks at their official launch party in Washington DC. In the meantime we highly suggest that you get over to speek.com and start using the easiest way to conference.

We’ve been tracking Speek since the beginning.


Speek Now Available For Windows Phone

Speek,Windows Phone, DC Startup,startup news

Speek co-founder Danny Boice has lot’s of tattoos, his co-founder John Bracken has just one (photo: NMI 2013)

While I don’t know many Windows Phone users just yet, for those that I know, conference calling just got easier. Our good friends at Washington DC conference calling startup Speek just announced the availability of their Windows Phone 8 app, and no one had to get a tattoo on their ass in the process.

Speek was founded by John Bracken, one of the co-founders of e-vite, and Danny Boice, a startup renaissance man, who coerced Bracken into getting a Speek monkey tattooed on his butt at SXSW, during a startup pitch contest.

Aside from the fact that the founding team is based in DC and cool as shit, Speek is by far the absolute easiest way to initiate a conference call. You just go to the Speek user’s id like mine for instance, speek.com/kyle and hit the call button. Then the magic happens and it’s like a party line. As many people as you like can join the call, and the facilitator (user) can control just about everything from their iPhone, and now Windows phone app.

So what is so paramountly epic about this, well for starters you don’t need to remember some crazy dial in number and then remember some 11 digit pin. Do you know how hard it is to get back into a dropped conference call while driving 70mph down 95? Well with Speek, you just mosey on back to the interwebs, re-hit that button and your back in, or just get back in through the mobile app.

They also don’t make you wait through a bunch of operator instructions or Musak, but if you ask nicely they may put some Korn or OAR on hold for you.

Seriously, it’s that easy and everyone needs to use Speek, Windows Phone users can go here now.  iPhone users look in the iTunes app store, and Android users are up next.

Don’t look now there’s a Speek Monkey on your Ass.

This Pitch From DC Startup Speek Results In A Monkey Tattoo On John Bracken’s Ass [video][sxsw]

Speek,DC Startup,John Bracken,Danny Boice, Monkey Tattoo,startup,startup pitch,sxsw,sxswiWe’ve been following Washington DC conference calling startup Speek since they were little more than a pitch deck last year at a DC tech event.

The company was founded by John Bracken, one of the cofounders of E-Vite (the precursor to Facebook events lol) and Danny Boice, a startup renaissance man, who even spoke at our huge “everywhereelse.co The Startup Conference”.

Anyone who knows the Speek team knows that John and Danny compliment each other greatly. John is the yin to Dany’s yang. Danny is a constant cutup bringing fun into every situation and John plays a playful straight man to Danny’s antics. Well if John had been at Danny’s pitch during the TechCocktail Pitch Jam on Saturday at SXSW 2013, this great stunt, that made the Wall Street Journal, may not have happened.

Danny knows they have something great going on with Speek. It’s by far the easiest way to hold a conference call and it does away with the need for long phone numbers and longer “pin” numbers. You simply go to someone’s speek page, like speek.com/kyle (my page) and click the call button. Voila. But after partaking in SXSW libations all day long and being couped up because of the rain, Danny had something cool in mind to win the Pitch Jam contest.

After going through is normal 60 second pitch, he added a twist. Call it humor, or a little jealousy, but John had to bail on the event to go have dinner with DC Mayor Vince Gray, and left Danny alone, to pitch, and to say whatever he wanted. And he did.

Danny told the audience at the end of the pitch that John would get a tattoo of Speek’s mascot monkey on his ass if they won. Since there was a lot of spill over from the DC Tech Meetup earlier in the day, there were plenty of people who knew John, and wanted to see him get a monkey tattoed on his ass.

Well low and behold, Danny won. The next day, John got this:

(photo: Wall Street Journal)

And here’s Danny Boice’s winning pitch video:

We’ve got more startup coverage from SXSW than any other site, click here and see for yourself.

We really need some help, click that button below:

YOLO: You Only Launch Once With Speek Co-Founder Danny Boice At Everywhereelse.co The Startup Conference

Danny Boice, Speek, DC startup,startups, everywhereelse.co the startup conferenceTo launch or not to launch, that’s a tough question facing startup founders everywhere. Some startup founders prescribe to the lean methodology, push out a minimum viable product and iterate until it’s right. Others prefer to take all the time they need and handle iteration internally until they have the product they feel is ready for consumers.  No matter what method you choose you only launch once.

That’s the basis for the talk that Danny Boice, co-founder of Washington DC startup Speek, will speak about on Monday February 11th at everywhereelse.co The Startup Conference.

Boice is the CTO at Speek, which is the easiest conference calling platform we’ve ever used here at nibletz (and we’ve tried many). There are no bridges to remember, no needing to have your cell phone and a pad and paper to write down a long pin number, and no frantically dialing back when you get cut off.

To execute a call using Speek’s platform you just sign up for an account and click the link.

Speek is an easy product to use with a nice and easy to understand UI. They also have a cute mascott to boot.

As for Boice he founded a startup called Jaxara that was acquired in 2006. He attended Harvard, and he’s a former exec at The College Board.  Speek’s other co-founder is John Bracken who originally founded E-vite.

Speek is an incredibly competitive space, even as such, they are constantly creating buzz, interacting with people and speaking about Speek. There almost grass roots marketing strategy is both effective and deliberate.  If you’re even the least bit over 20 than you probably remember in great detail how e-vite was the platform for events, before eventbrite and before Facebook events.

Boice has a great background and a great story. He’s also one of many successful startup founders that’s a true believer in the “everywhere else” concept, and the purpose of the conference.

Get your ticket to everywhereelse.co the startup conference below. There are still a couple of exhibiting startup village booths as well.


500 Startups Backed, Speek, Releases iPhone App

Speek, DC startup, statup news, launchLast year after TechCrunch Disrupt NYC, most people thought that conference calling app Uber Conference was the bees knees. They had won the TechCrunch Disrupt Battlefield and were all the rage from the big publications. Meanwhile, back in the Washington DC suburbs Evite founder John Bracken and co-founder and PandoDaily contributor Danny Boice were busy working on Speek.

Speek is actually the easiest way to execute great sounding conference calls. Everything is handled through a web/cloud based interface and all you do to initiate a call is direct the participants to  your Speek page, for instance mine is http://speek.com/kyle from there I can control who’s in the call, file sharing, information and anything else that pertains to a conference call.

The whole process is extremely easy and doesn’t require jotting down pin numbers or long codes, which can be quite cumbersome driving down the highway.

Well today Speek has released their iPhone app which makes it just as easy to initiate conference calls from your iPhone as it is from the web (although it was pretty easy just using a mobile browser like Chrome).

With Speek’s iPhone app, you can make super simple, free and visual conference calls. Reserve an easy-to-remember username (i.e.,http://speek.com/YourName) for your calls, instead of fumbling for a traditional phone number and PIN.


  • Talk instantly with one-click calls
  • Know who’s joined the call
  • Know who’s talking
  • Share images from your phone
  • Comment, mute and add/remove participants

Avoid the hassles of traditional conference calls with:

  • No telephone numbers and PINs
  • No scheduling
  • No elevator music
  • No interruptions

Check out Speek in the iTunes app store and go register your user name before all the good ones disappear. If for some reason you want to try it out feel free to Speek to me at http://speek.com/kyle 

Join the nearly 1800 people who’ve bought tickets to the largest startup conference in the United States, more info here!

DC Startup Speek Raises $1.2 Million Dollar Seed Round

Speek,DC startup,funding, startup newsWe’ve been tracking DC startup Speek since last May when they pitched the initial concept and platform at the TechBuzz competition in Washington DC as part of Capital Connection.

What originally attracted us to Speek was the super easy interface for their conference calling application. The conference calling space is definitely a hot one. Back in May, another conference calling startup UberConference won the highly coveted TechCrunch Disrupt Battlefield at TechCrunch Disrupt NY.

Speek is actually easier to use. With Speek you simply go to the website, pick a username and enter some information, like your primary phone number. From there, when you want to make a conference call you go to that user’s page on Speek and hit the big button in the middle of the page and voila, conference call initiated.  For example, my Speek address is http://speek.com/kyle yes I was using it early enough.

The other main attraction to Speek is the startup pedigree. The company was founded by John Bracken who sold his first big startup e-vite to TicketMaster. Speek’s CTO Danny Boice was the founder at Jaxara a startup he sold to Pantheon in 2006.

Today they announced that they’ve raised a seed round of $1.2 million by “several early stage venture funds”.

“Conference calls today are a painful experience in a $3 billion market that hasn’t innovated in over twenty years,” said Speek.com co-founder and CEO John Bracken. “Speek is revolutionizing conference calling by turning a limited telephone-based service into one that is simple, free and in-tune with the next generation of web and mobile services.”
“Speek makes conducting a conference call fast and easy,” said co-founder and CTO Danny Boice. “No longer do you have to frantically search for a PIN number or wonder who’s on the call or who’s talking. Nearly ninety-percent of people who have used Speek would be disappointed if our service disappeared.”

Speek Holding Speek Easy During Digital Capital Week (DC Tech Week)

Speek,Speek app, DC startup,Digital Capital Week, DC Tech Week, startup,startups,startup eventWhile the Washington DC area and the rest of the north east are being pummeled by Hurricane Sandy, “Frankenstorm”, entrepreneurs are still planning on attending DC’s Tech Week which starts this Friday.

Our friends at TechCocktail and many others have put together a weeks worth of great programming for entrepreneurs, founders, startups, developers, designers, coders and anyone else in the tech scene.  Hopefully we will be able to travel to DC for the event.

One of the big parties you don’t want to miss is the “Speek Easy” being hosted by Speek at Capitale in NorthWest Washington DC Saturday night November 3rd from 8:00pm-2:00am.

Speek is the easiest to use conference calling platform. Rather than a call in “bridge” number with a bunch of codes to memorize and enter, with Speek you just direct your participants to your Speek page, they click a button and get brought into the conference. You can speek me at speek.com/kyle.

Speek’s pulling out all the stops and taking the “speak easy” theme back to the roaring 20’s. They’ll have 1920’s style photo booths, burlesque dancers and they’re encouraging everyone who attends to register for their Speek link before the party. Attendees with Speek links will be eligible for some cool prizes.

The free “Speek Easy” party is happening at

1301 K Street NW
Washington DC 2005


Sign up for the party here

More on Digital Capital Week here

Check out Speek at nibletz.com here

While you’re at it sign up for this event too!

We Speak With Washington DC 500 Startups, Startup: Speek


Speek,DC startup, 500 startups,startup,startup interviewWhile a lot of people are talking about TechCrunch Disrupt NY Battlefield winner UberConference when it comes to conference calling startups, another conference calling startup has been brewing in the Washington DC area. We first got to check out Speek back in May at the Capital Connection and TechBuzz conference in Washington DC.  After carefully checking out both UberConference and Speek, Speek seems to be the simplest, most easy to understand conference calling solution out there.

It’s no wonder that Speek has everything together, it’s founded by John Bracken the founder of e-vite and Danny Boice who attended Harvard  and is a former executive with The College Board.

More importantly though is how easy it is to setup Speek and get started with your own special url.

Speek is working out of AOL’s Fishbowl incubator in the Washington DC area, along another great DC startup CONT3NT.  But Boice and Bracken were on the road to startup success even before that.

As Boice tells us in the interview below, Speek was created when two internet entrepreneurs attacked the group calling problem with startup vigor. Both Boice and Bracken had come from big corporate jobs and were always on conference calls. It was the clunkiness that is typical of big conference calls that drove these two to create Speek.

Check out our interview with Boice below:

Read More…

E-vite founder John Bracken Shows Off HIs New Startup Speek VIDEO

Before “Startup” was one word, before Facebook and Google alumni were the “in crowd” in the startup scene, and before everyone had cable internet, a new revolution was happening in the Washington DC area. That revolution was AOL alumni founding startups.

John Bracken is one of those AOL alumni. At the time, the largest consumer online service was based in Northern Virginia. We call it a consumer online service because Steve Case said last week at an event that it wasn’t before AOL turned six years old that the service could actually access the internet. Commercial companies were banned until then.

If you think you’ve heard Bracken’s name before you might have. He was a co-founder for e-vite which was the original online invitation and event service. This was years before Eventbrite.

Well Bracken is back and just like e-vite, Bracken’s new startup self serves a problem that he has had with conference calls. A problem that he knows others have. In fact a startup in the conference call space, UberConference, won the TechCrunch Disrupt Battlefield Cup last week in New York.

Bracken’s startup is called Speek and it allows people to initiate conference calls much easier than they could with traditional conference calling methods.  With Speek, long gone are the days of tedious 800 numbers to remember, and unusually long codes to remember.

More after the break
Read More…