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Necessity was the mother of invention for these executives-turned-entrepreneurs.
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This story appears in the March 2005 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »
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When three executives with resumes featuring Apple, Inktomi and Microsoft vowed to start Vazu, their idea was born of frustration: Every time they bought new cell phones, it took hours to re-enter the names and phone numbers. "Absolutely everyone had this problem. What was surprising was that no one had solved it," says Ken Thom, 41, the Palo Alto, California, company's vice president of products.

Thom, along with Vazu CEO Ramiro Calvo, 42; and COO Soujanya Bhumkar, 37; and three other backers, devoted $100,000 in late 2002 to researching the technical possibilities.

The technology they have developed works with Internet Explorer to send information to cell phones via short text messages. Vazu Contacts transfers names and phone numbers from e-mail applications; Vazu Click can be used to select and send information, such as directions, from websites; and Vazu Seek is essentially an online directory. The services are free, but some users pay for the text messages, depending on their wireless plans.

Edition: May 2017

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