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BusINess » Business Technology » New text platform originates in Crown Point

New text platform originates in Crown Point

Tarik El-Naggar, chief operating officer at Get Vext, holds a cell phone on in his Crown Point office. The origins of GetVEXT came one year ago when a member of the Living Stones Fellowship congregation—where the business is partly based—thought it would be a good idea to be able to send a text message while driving without having to type. (Photograph by The Times.)

Tarik El-Naggar, chief operating officer at Get Vext, holds a cell phone on in his Crown Point office. The origins of GetVEXT came one year ago when a member of the Living Stones Fellowship congregation—where the business is partly based—thought it would be a good idea to be able to send a text message while driving without having to type.
(Photograph by The Times.)

A new dial-in platform that allows users to send text messages while driving completely hands-free has its beginnings in Crown Point.

The origins of GetVEXT came one year ago when a member of the Living Stones Fellowship congregation—where the business is partly based—thought it would be a good idea to be able to send a text message while driving without having to type.

The church has within itself a company—Maven Holdings—which helps businesses start up, said GetVEXT chief operating officer and Maven partner Tarik El-Naggar.

“It’s for people who want to be in the marketplace with ideas,” he said.

The first step toward GetVEXT began with researching and locating a company with voice technology and then launching the platform.

“We invented it here,” El-Naggar said. “We’re not software people—just idea people. We found a company in Canada with 20 to 30 jobs that we hope to bring here.

About the business

Company name: GetVEXT

Location: 909 North Pratt Street, Crown Point

Phone: 219.663.7729 ext 28

Chief Operating Officer: Tarik El-Naggar

Number of employees: 10

When started: August 2009

Web site: getvext.com

How does it work?

GetVext.com provides mobile subscribers with access to email and text messages by voice on any mobile device.

Customers can dial a number provided when they register for the service, say their four-digit PIN, say the name of the person they would like to “Vext” and then follow the instructions to record an e-mail or text message.

Maven Holdings is based in Oklahoma and El-Naggar hopes to move that company also.

“The whole operation will end up being housed in Crown Point if all goes well,” he said.

Initial funding for GetVEXT came from “angel” donors—people who put in anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a couple thousand, El-Naggar said.

“We got all of our development done and now we’ve got some major investors who are looking at possibly picking this up as well.”

Insurance companies, as well as individuals, are looking at offering GetVEXT to its customers, according to El-Naggar.

“They will do it because they know it will reduce accidents,” he said.

GetVEXT also offers affiliate programs for schools, nonprofits, churches and sports teams.

“The real market for this is not somebody who wants to send a text message pouring their heart out or writing poetry. It’s designed to do the short quick-burst messages—probably 50 characters or less,” El-Naggar said.

Another area that’s drawing interest to GetVext is people with mobility issues and parents who have teens who only read texts as opposed to actually answering their phones.

El-Naggar said the market is currently for the U.S. and Canada but the business may eventually expant to the United Kingdom, Africa and Australia.

GetVEXT touts its differences among competitors as working on landlines as well as cell phones (not limited to smart phones). The company also has a privacy guarantee in which no live operators are listening to the messages.

“GetVEXT is great for teens, business people, truckers and soccer moms who want to stay safe while driving,” said Jim McGough, company president. “Everyone should have this simple-to-use voice command product on speed dial in their cell phones.”

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