Craig Walker (businessman)
|Alma mater||UC Berkeley, Georgetown University|
|Occupation||Technology entrepreneur, Investor|
|Known for||Creating Yahoo! Voice & Google Voice|
|Title||Founder & CEO of Switch.co|
Craig Walker is the CEO of Switch Communications, Inc., the company behind Switch.co, UberConference and Waitlist.me, and was the first entrepreneur in residence at Google Ventures. Before co-founding Switch.co, Walker was also the Group Product Manager for Real-Time Communications at Google, where he oversaw all of Google’s voice communications products, including Google Voice, Google Talk, and Google Talk Video. He is both a technology entrepreneur and investor.
Walker has been involved in early-stage technology companies for many years, in a variety of capacities. He started working in the Silicon Valley as a corporate and securities attorney, representing technology companies, venture capitalists, and investment banks while an attorney at Gunderson, Dettmer and at Brobeck, Phleger and Harrison. He was also a venture capital investor at both Sterling Payot and TeleSoft Partners, focusing on Internet and telecommunications investments.
In 1999, Walker became a founding investor in Dialpad Communications, one of the earliest companies to offer a VoIP soft client, and later joined as the company’s CEO in 2001. Yahoo! acquired Dialpad Communications in June 2005, and as part of the acquisition, Walker joined Yahoo! to become their Senior Director of VoIP.
Walker left Yahoo! later in 2005 to start GrandCentral Communications with his business partner, Vincent Paquet. Walker served as the company’s CEO and Chairman until Google acquired it in July 2007. GrandCentral re-launched as Google Voice in 2009.
Walker left Google in 2010 to join Google Ventures as their first Entrepreneur in Residence, where he started working on the ideas that would become Firespotter Labs. In 2012, Firespotter launched UberConference, followed by the launch of Switch.co in 2014 (the company simultaneously changed its name from Firespotter Labs to Switch Communications, Inc.).
The core mission of Switch.co is to make business communications great with products that let people work how, when, and where they want. Its cloud-based business phone system is built on the WebRTC framework and runs on a redundant global network of seven data centers across four continents. Customers range from Fortune 500 multi-nationals like Motorola Solutions to startups like Uber. The service is a preferred partner of Google, Microsoft and Sprint. Switch.co is currently backed by several venture funds, including Google Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, Amasia, Felicis Ventures, Softbank, and Work-Bench.
As CEO of GrandCentral, Walker started Project CARE (Communications and Respect for Everybody) in 2006, with a goal of giving a local telephone number and voicemail account to every homeless person in the US. In 2008, Walker announced a pilot deployment of Project CARE in San Francisco with the Office of the Mayor of San Francisco.
Walker is also very involved with the plight of Russian orphans and serves on the Board of Advisors to Ascent Russian Orphan Aid Foundation.
- "Switch Aims to Plug Hole in Google's Business Suite".
- "TechCrunch, Google Voice Founder Resigns, Joins Google Ventures as EIR".
- "eComm 2010: Emerging Communications Conference: Craig Walker".
- "ZDNET, GrandCentral founder: How to get over an App Store Rejection".
- "GigaOm - Yahoo buys Dial Pad".
- "Google Blog: All aboard".
- "Google Blog: Here comes Google Voice".
- https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/switch-co#/entity. Missing or empty
- "McDoonough School of Business: Alumni Entrepreneurs Turn Big Dreams Into Big Business".
- "Google Blog: Project CARE in San Francisco".