Dallas-Based Startup Listeners on Call Connects People Looking for (Virtual) Human Interactions During the Pandemic

Listeners on Call utilizes technology to bring people together by providing a platform for the most basic of human needs: connection. Founder Cole Egger says he created the app focused on the epidemic of loneliness and mental health before “COVID” was even a common term.

Cole Egger, co-founder and chief executive officer of Listeners on Call, realized after his father’s five-year-long battle with cancer that he wanted to continue his father’s legacy of empathy. Listeners on Call is an app that accomplishes that by connecting people anonymously to trained Listeners who enjoy shared experiences at a low-cost.

Five years ago, Egger’s father who diagnosed with blood cancer was in need of a stem cell transplant. Unfortunately, there was no perfect match, so Egger being a half-match became the best option. Egger said this fact weighed heavily on him.

“For the first time of my life in my mid-30s, as a guy who grew up on a farm and ranch in West Texas with the pull yourself up by the bootstraps mentality, I found myself in a position I was really not equipped to handle,” Egger said.

After spending thousands over the course of six months on licensed therapy, Egger said he felt he was not getting what he needed because of a lack of compatibility. He took a step back and realized that in a world where technology allows us to have almost anything on demand, there wasn’t a platform that existed for the most basic of human needs: connection.

“My father is one of the most empathetic individuals that I had met. I saw time and time again, the empathy that he would even offer to complete strangers,” Egger said. “And I feel like that is certainly something that’s been lost in our society today.”

Listener on Call matches its users, called Callers, with its staff, called Listeners, based off of their shared connections determined by over 20 different topics and the availability of Listeners. Listeners on Call cost 50 cents per minute and is said to have several thousand people using the platform today.

“We really look to define a new category, much like Uber did with rideshare. We really look to define the category of consumer listening services,” Egger said. “We believe that experiences offer not only an abundance of empathy, but perspective that can ultimately benefit change in individual lives in a positive way.”

Listeners on Call trains its Listeners through Listening Academy, which is a free course under an hour long. All Listeners must be older than 18-years-old and are paid 30 cents per minute spent talking with Callers.

“Many of our courses are taught by licensed professionals,” Egger said. “We build our training program around proprietary curriculum that we created, called connected listening, in really ensuring that every Listener understands what the ultimate goal is of a call.”

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, two-thirds of adults believe that they are experiencing social isolation according to an AARP and United Health Foundation study. Egger said he created the app focused on the epidemic of loneliness and mental health before “COVID” was even a term in our society.

“I think today what COVID has done with the amplification of loneliness and isolation is that it has brought mental health and loneliness to the forefront of many of the conversations,” Egger said.

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