Craig Walker

Founder and CEO, GrandCentral Communications

Craig Walker
Craig founded GrandCentral Communications in November 2005 to solve the problem of having too many phone numbers, voicemail systems, and no real way to control inbound calls. Getting off a plane and having to check three different voicemail boxes, each with their own key prompts, made him realize that this was a growing problem that needed to be solved.

Walker had been senior director of VoIP at Yahoo! after selling his prior company, Dialpad Communications, to Yahoo! in June 2005. While at Yahoo!, he was responsible for integrating the Dialpad team with the Yahoo! Messenger group and overseeing all business relationships within the VoIP communications group.

Walker was a founding investor in Dialpad in 1999 and was recruited by the board to join the company as CEO in November 2001 to turn around the failing effort. After having burned through $80+ million in little over 18 months, Dialpad was successfully reorganized and the business model was changed from a free service with advertising revenue to a pay service. On less than $4 million of total investment in the new company, Dialpad was transformed into the most profitable VoIP company in the industry and was acquired by Yahoo! four years later.

Prior to Dialpad, Walker was a venture investor at Sterling Payot Capital, where he focused on consumer internet service opportunities. Prior to Sterling, he was both general counsel and associate at TeleSoft Partners, an early stage telecom-focused VC fund, where he was the 4th member of what is now a $500 million global fund.

Walker began his career as a corporate and securities attorney in the Silicon Valley at the firms of Gunderson Dettmer, and at Brobeck, Phleger and Harrison, where he represented companies ranging from early stage start-ups to tier-one venture capitalists to Cisco Systems. He received his B.A. from UC Berkeley, his M.B.A. from Georgetown University, and his J.D. from Boalt Hall School of Law at UC Berkeley.

Outside of work, Walker spends his free time with his wife and three kids and is a board member of the Ascent Russian Orphan Aid Foundation. To help a kid in need, go to iorphan.com.

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O'Reilly Emerging Telephony Conference 2007