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Disposable Phone Numbers Are So Hot Right Now The venture capital money came pouring in for Burner, a mobile app that doles out disposable phone numbers for calling and texting.

By Michelle Goodman

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Illustration © James Yang

Tech veterans Greg Cohn and Will Carter tried to develop a social platform that would let users establish virtual "office hours" for chatting with strangers and colleagues. The reception among beta testers was lukewarm. But one feature stood out: the ability to create temporary phone numbers that forward to one's mobile phone.

Cohn and Carter's beta testers had a range of uses for fleeting phone numbers that would mask their permanent digits. Among them: Craigslist sales, online dating and maintaining a public internet persona without giving away private coordinates.

"There are all these things in our lives that internet platforms and mobile operating systems are enabling. And the phone number was trapped in 1985. It hasn't gotten smart," says Cohn, a former senior director at Yahoo.

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