Wharton Family Blog

Vidtel has launched!

In spite of the tough economic climate these days, Scott and I are feeling very grateful for this holiday season for not only our health, happiness, great family and friends but the fulfillment of our dream! We’ve launched Vidtel, a video and voice provider and we’re now in business online (and we have a wholesale relationships in place). We’re offering video calling, voice calling and video mail to allow people to see and interact with loved ones as easily as using a regular phone.

In five months, we built a phenomenal team of top-notch telecom and VoIP professionals and began developing our phone service. Last month I devoted a lot of time to developing our website.  Our  team has built a video and voice service for 10-100x lower start-up costs than traditional phone companies by using an innovative architecture approach, cloud computing, open source technology and software as a service.  We mask all the complexity in the technology so to the customer it’s plug and play!

Today, we have over 130 people making video and voice calls through our service. People tell us they feel closer to far-flung family, it’s easy to use, it’s fun and they are saving money over traditional phone service (plus they get video and cool features). We think this is ideal for new moms, aunts, cousins, grandparents, single parents who don’t get to see their kids as often as they want, and people who want to keep any eye on pets (the video phone can be set on auto answer!) as examples. We are building a base of small/medium business customers, too, who use the service to maintain face-to-face contact on a spontaneous basis.

Since we’re just getting started, we would love your help! Check out www.vidtel.com and send to your network of family and friends. It’s a unique and valuable holiday gift, especially with the cash crunch when it’s difficult to travel as much to see loved ones.

Below are a couple of videos I had made for our website and YouTube:

Let me know what you think! I’d love your feedback.

Thanks and happy holidays!

~ Mariette


Blazing skies and happy guys
November 2, 2008, 11:08 am
Filed under: Family | Tags: , ,

A boy’s dream come true. Building and shooting rockets up to 1100 feet. Dane’s cub scout pack set the sky ablaze. Here’s a view from the rocket…



Dane and I went to the Stanford football game on Saturday vs. Washington State (the pounding 58-0 made the rain tolerable). Dane enjoyed participating in the pre-game flag ceremony on the field with a dozen other scouts. Cool fireworks, too!

Stanford Flag Ceremony

Stanford Flag Ceremony

The boys saw the Blue Angels in San Francisco.

More guy fun…Daddies’ Day at Reid’s school.

Daddies' Day at Childrens House


Scott is out running 13 miles right now. Hot coffee, pancakes, and eager family await him.  :}

~ Mariette

Successful Vidtel alpha test!
October 12, 2008, 3:07 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,
This is what the video phone looks like!

Most of our beta users are using this video phone

Vidtel’s alpha program launched last month, ahead of schedule! Fortunately, we have a technical guru who cranked and made it possible. We made and received high-quality video calls between California and many locales including the U.K., New York, Washington, Florida and the interior of Alaska! It has been really fantastic. We had so much fun interacting with 1 month-old Luc in Alaska and 6 month-old Aryanna in NY and seeing our other friends and family spread miles apart. We got overwhelmingly positive feedback and are very excited to now be in private beta phase! We have about 30 video phones out and things are going really well. ~ Mariette

Walkathon Mania
October 12, 2008, 6:16 am
Filed under: Family

From now on, we’re going to try to participate in every local school’s Walkathon…yesterday Dane and Reid walked about 8 miles around the school fields (powered by candy, natch) and they are still sleeping in! Reid aka Spiderman was unstoppable. The target for 2nd grade was 40 laps but he insisted on going 60 (he garned some extra laps for picking up trash, mercifully). He barely had the energy to get on his bike for the 1/2 mile ride home. It was a really fun day. Music blasting all day, lots of really fun families to chat with.

Great evening afterwards with friends. Our friend John is the architect who designed and built the Tesla showroom in Menlo Park. Too bad the raffle tickets at the Walkathon were not for the Tesla! ~ mariette

There he goes again!
Can I have more money for candy, Mommy?
More money for candy, please?

Never too young to start investing
September 24, 2008, 9:43 pm
Filed under: Family, Vidtel

It just goes to show that video calling appeals to all ages, certainly ranging from 7 ½ to 72, evidenced by Vidtel’s angel investors.

This week Vidtel received a special investment outside the normal “qualified investor” parameters…Our 7 ½ year-old son proudly offered his prized dollar to Vidtel.  I do believe there is some free wall space in our office for that.

~ Mariette

Partying with San Francisco / Silicon Valley Yale Alums

The regional Yale alumni groups, including Yale School of Management, sponsored a party at our house – it was great and so much fun! A lot of people helped and we met over 60 interesting and fun people, did a lot of demos (thanks, Dan!) and received some new Vidtel beta testers and future customers! (Photos courtesy of Andrew deLory.)

Andrew knows how to make us look good (he generously functioned as Grill Meister in addition to photographer…good thing, too, because Scott was ignoring the tri-tip)

:} Mariette

Maryland Landed Gentry No More
September 22, 2008, 5:49 pm
Filed under: Family

More good news…our house in Maryland is officially sold…Break out another bottle of the bubbly!! We are grateful to our super realtor, Cindy Henschel. ~ Mariette