Phones are getting smarter, so now more than ever it’s easier to binge on House of Cards, send money around the world, or turn all the lights in your house on from your phone. But what about using your phone to just make a call? Bolt founder (and former Twilion) Andrew Benton is on a mission to make it easier for you to call friends and family, even easier than your default dialer.
The Bolt app recently launched for Android as an alternative to the default phone app. We talked with Andrew about founding Bolt, how they’re using Twilio, and what’s next for the company.
What was the “aha” moment that lead you to found Bolt?
I founded Bolt after years of increasing frustration with Google Voice and Skype failing to deliver the world from carrier lock-in. I wanted to pay my mobile carrier for data, but not rely on them for voice calls and messaging. And all the other products in the market offer broken experiences in some way.
How did you build the “unbundled” experience you mention in your blog post (technically speaking)? What technologies or languages are you using?
We are an Android-first company, so we use a lot of Java. Postgres and Redis are also a big part of our infrastructure.
How are you using Twilio?
We use Twilio SMS to deliver authentication messages worldwide. We have built Bolt as a “passwordless product” as mentioned here. So every time you authenticate with Bolt, whether it’s the first time or the hundredth, we send you an authentication code via SMS which you enter in-app to log in.
It’s incredibly useful to have a single, reliable API to deliver those authentication messages anywhere in the world.
What’s next for you guys after launching?
An iOS app is coming soon. Following that, we’re going to tackle messaging in the same way we’ve tackled voice.
Anything you’d like to add?
I’m a big believer in designing experiences that don’t make people think. What we’re building at Bolt is a set of products that will push the mobile ecosystem towards a data-only future without requiring people to think about a full switch right away.