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Benjamin Kuznicki helps a customer understand the features of her cell phone.[/caption]
If you’ve ever sat on hold or struggled to obtain assistance from a big wireless phone service provider, a new company called Wallace Murry
wants to prevent that from happening again.
The Milwaukee- and Boston-based company was founded in October 2017 by University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee student Benjamin Kuznicki and fellow Whitefish Bay native James Graham, who lives in Boston. It provides 24/7 customer support from the U.S. and proactively contacts customers regularly, Kuznicki said.
“People really seem to be unfairly treated by some other phone companies and we wanted to start something where it provides an outlet for people,” he said.
Graham, who previously founded enterprise software startup Caffeine Software Inc., received $100,000 via a 2017 Thiel Fellowship, from PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel’s foundation. Wallace Murry is being funded via the fellowship and with cash from the co-founders, Kuznicki said.
The company doesn’t have brick-and-mortar stores. Wallace Murry’s eight employees work out of their homes in Milwaukee and Boston, and go out to meet with customers one-on-one.
“The benefit of that is we actually go to our customers at a place convenient to them, like their house or a coffee shop,” Kuznicki said. “If (customers’) phones aren’t eligible on our network, then we’ll get them a new one but we’ll charge them exactly what we paid for it.”
So far, Wallace Murry has about 70 customers that have switched to its service, which it provides as a mobile virtual network operator – meaning it buys service and data in bulk from companies like Sprint.
The startup has been working to get its name – a nod to a character from popular book series “A Wrinkle in Time” – out there by providing free tech support at senior centers and assisted living facilities. Kuznicki said while Wallace Murry initially targeted seniors, it has expanded its reach to Milwaukee and Boston residents of all ages.
Wallace Murry offers four service plans, ranging from $25 per month for unlimited talk and text and 0.25 GB of data to $60 for unlimited talk, text and data.
Next, the company plans to change its name, to The Community Phone Co., to better communicate what it does, Kuznicki said.