Earlier today, Truecaller confirmed that it has raised $18.8 mn from Sequoia Capital India. The company, which has 45 million users worldwide, has over 25 million users in India and is adding 75,000 users every day in the country. “One out of four smartphone users in using Truecaller in India,” Alan Mamedi, Co-Founder and CEO of Truecaller told NextBigWhat in an interview. The company is looking to partner with exciting services from India. Edited Excerpts.
How many users do you have in India?
In total, we have 45 million users and 25 million comes from India. We are adding around 75,000 users in India every day from India.
What specifically do you have in mind for the Indian market?
We opened our first office in New Delhi and recruited our first team member who is partnering with OEMs and others like Twitter India. We will continue engaging the with the community and engaging with the startup community as well.
What is your broad strategy behind these partnerships?
It depends on the kind of innovation we want to create. There are great engineers and entrepreneurs from India who create very useful services. It’s not like we say we want to go with a particular type of partners. It’s more about finding great entrepreneurs.
What would your core objective behind a partnership be?
We want to bring something useful to our community.
So we’ll see more on the lines of your recent partnership with Twitter India?
Absolutely. Last time I was in India, I was getting a lot of text messages and SMS was very unreliable. It’s a very old technology. So we wanted to create something more fun and partnered with Twitter so people can communicate with others in a more open and fun way.
How many people are you in India, expansion?
The office was started last summer. Now that we have Sequoia on board, we will continue to see that team scale. At the moment we have all team of 35 people. We have three Indian engineers in Sweden where all the engineering happens. We have more than 25 different nationalities. It helps us understand different cultures and users better. In India, we will expand our team which will consist of marketing, design and engineering (for projects & working with OEMs).
Why raise money from Sequoia India? They have a global fund as well..
India is a huge market. One out of four smartphone users in using Truecaller in India. We are market leaders in Middle East. We are big in Africa and Indonesia is very interesting. It makes a lot of sense for us to raise money from Sequoia. It works pretty straight forward for us. They have offices all over the world and together, we can continue and grow even faster in other regions in Asia. We want to focus on fast growing markets.
Key learning as a startup?
We follow what many successful companies do. That is, being very active and engaged with the community. You will make mistakes. You will make a buggy product. And you have to be very open about it. For instance, we’d like to know the Indian culture better so that when there is a big holiday in India, we can engage and celebrate together with them. Our ambassador program has also been very successful. Having a very flat structure in the company is always great.
What is your take on privacy?
We always tell our users what we do. Everything is permission based and everything is disabled by default. That’s the way we have been from day one. There are a lot of misunderstanding about how the product actually works. In fact, if you download Truecaller, we don’t collect names and numbers from your phone-book and make them publicly searchable. This is a community based service and is all permission based. We will be working more to make sure that people understand how it works.