As we all know, there has been a smartphone revolution happening all around us, but this has also led to massive security and privacy compromises as well. Today, we face threats and nuisance in different forms. Apart from security breaches, there are a range of issues such as – Missed calls, blank calls, fake calls, etc. that continue to pester us on a regular basis.
Till sometime ago, it was nearly impossible to track such unknown numbers down, but with the recent advancement in technology, we now feel more secured, safe, and well aware.
And the man who has given us this ease is a face who likes to stay awake from the limelight – Alan Mamedi.
Alan Mamedi is the founder of Truecaller. Truecaller has been developed by True Software Scandinavia AB, which is a privately held company in Stockholm, Sweden and was founded by Alan Mamedi and along with Nami Zarringhalam in 2009.
As most of us already know, Truecaller helps us find contact details globally by searching for the name or telephone number, and also has an integrated caller ID service which automatically searches for contact details as you receive a call, it also helps one to achieve call-blocking functionality and social media integration to keep the phonebook up-to-date.
The app with a userbase of more than 100 million gets its name from the ability to show the True name of the Caller. Devices with Android, BlackBerry OS, iOS, Series 40, Symbian s60, Firefox OS, and Windows Phone operating systems can use this app.
Talking about his qualifications; Alan has completed his Bachelors in Science with specialisation in Computer Science from the KTH Royal Institute of Technology.
How Did It All Begin?
The young genius that he was, Alan began his career while he pursuing his Bachelors in 2004. His first job was as a Salesman at The Phone House. He worked here for almost 2 years after which he went on to found a range of companies.
The first company that he founded was called ‘Bidding.se’ in 2006. Bidding.se was one of the first “Unique bid auction” websites in Sweden. The basic premise of the product was a type of strategy which was related to traditional auctions and to win this bid one must have the lowest unique bid. Within 3 months of its initiation the product was acquired.
While he was at it, he had also cofounded another venture of his called Möbeljakt.se in 2007 which was known to be Sweden´s largest search engine for home interior. A year later, he also joined Birdstep Technology in 2008 as the Chief Architect.
Later he also acted as the Chief Architect at Företagsinformation i Mediaportalen (English Translation – Corporate Media Portal) in Sweden till 2008 for approximately 2 years, after which he moved to Babybjörn as their new Webmaster for roughly 5 months.
In 2009, Alan founded Jobbigt.se, which as claimed by the founder was known to be the largest network for employee reviews and was acquired in the same year itself.
Now during this phase, he began thinking – what next? What should be their next venture? And thus came in place their most ambitious venture – Truecaller!
The True Story of Truecaller…!
Now Alan and his old friend Nami Zarringhalam, were both cell phone geeks and often shared their smartphone experiences with each other.
One day, they got into a discussion noticing the fact that the Internet had greatly sidelined the old Yellow Pages phone directories (Commercial), but at the same time there was nothing for verification of personal phone numbers or as many international countries have it – White Pages.
They saw that while a quick web search can get you from a phone number, address, to pretty much everything about most of the businesses, but it was nearly impossible to find reliable information about an individual.
And due to few other reasons like the recent evolution from landlines to mobile, and the fact that mobile companies do not share customer information, made it even more difficult for anyone to even think of building something like White Pages in today’s times.
Other than that, the white pages that was available online; if you went and searched for some name, it was pretty much definite that you would never find the right person.
This was what got them to thinking!
What added fuel to fire was that, one random day, they were constantly being pestered by repeated calls from some unknown numbers, which eventually turned out to become their own relatives calling them.
Only if there was an easier way to look up phone numbers for the missed calls they had received from relatives living abroad, or for that matter their customers calling them their previous job. Basically, an easy and a fast solution to identify the unknown caller!
This anger of theirs led them to brainstorm on thinking of a product that could provide the users with names of the callers whose numbers weren’t saved on the phone.
Having said that – in 2009 Truecaller was finally born!
The Initail Days…
In 2009, in an attempt for a better solution to look up phone numbers Alan along with Nami had created Truecaller. In the beginning Truecaller was nothing more than an online forum.
The first set of the application was initially launched on Symbian and Microsoft Windows, which was further released for Android and Apple iPhone as well.
At first, this application used to give them the names of all the people who were calling them, and was published for a small closed group before putting it online for the public.
To their shock, amazingly the app saw 10,000 downloads within the first week of their online release, and this was all long before App Stores existed when downloading apps to a phone used to be a major hassle!
This instilled a great deal of confidence, and also motivated them to work even harder.
Now since their starting days, one thing the founders were very clear about was that they will always spend their funds wisely. This ideology was more inclined towards their marketing efforts of the product.
And with a self-funded marketing budget, the only option they were left with was to use the power of their community, social media and most importantly, a simple product with a built-in viral mechanism.
They very well knew that, Word of mouth is the most powerful tool in marketing and had the potential to take you to a different level.
So after deep brainstorming for a long time on questions like – ‘how to go more viral, how to make their users share their ‘Truecaller’ experience with their friends, etc., they boiled down to one simple thing – Virality Pack.
The company executed a five-point plan that helped it grow its Facebook “likes” and shares extremely, at the same time the plan also helped them improve their reviews on app stores.
With such straightforward tactics, the results were bound to be dramatic. Truecaller increased its monthly Facebook “likes” by 120%, increased the number of monthly shares by 2,000%, and hit a Google Play rating of 4.3 Stars and also got more than 100,000 reviews.
In a matter of a year, the app had enough traction to leave their day jobs and divert their focus completely on Truecaller.
Since both the partners where available fulltime, they thought of connecting all white and yellow pages around the world and creating a database of the same, but after researching a little bit, they figured that many directories provided poor results, while many other countries like India did not have such directories.
And with mobile phone operators unwilling to share their customer information and with a vast amount of pre-paid phone users, the solution to the problem became obvious. Hence they stuck to their original plan and left it on the users to name the unknown numbers.
By 2012, Truecaller had reached to a userbase of more than 5 Million who were performing 120 million searches of the telephone number database every month. Additionally, the company also launched their app on RIM Blackberry, Windows Phone and Nokia Series as well.
In the same year the company also received Venture funds, using which Truecaller began their global expansion, more specifically in key markets like — North America, Asia and the Middle East.
The year of 2014 began with Truecaller receiving another round of funding and then the company also partnered with Yelp to use Yelp’s API data to help identify business numbers when they call a smartphone.
By 2014, India had also become the biggest market for Truecaller and one out of four smartphone users here were using Truecaller in India. To add to that, their userbase had also boosted drastically from 10 million users in 2013, to 100 million users in 2014!
The company so far monetizes with ads and by unlocking premium functionalities, but are also looking for more ways to boost their financials.
In 2015, the company launched their first SMS App called ‘Truemessenger’ in India exclusively. Truemessenger basically helps the users in identifying the sender of an SMS.
Today, Truecaller has grown on to become a full fledge app which offers features like global telephone directory that has caller ID, social media integration and call-blocking functionality and has also added Truedialer and Truemessenger, to its list.
The company presently adds around 600,000 users every week in India and is expecting to double its user base globally to 300 million, with half of this figure being from India.
They now hold over 2 billion global searches on Truecaller every month, with more than 2 million call blocks per day for our Indian users. The company which now employs 60 people globally is also looking at ramp up their team to a round figure of 100 soon.
They have also partnered with Twitter for India Nokia X series smartphones, Micromax Informatics Ltd, Karbonn (and many more local manufacturers), etc to boost their userbase and business in general.
The biggest challenge the company faces is finding the right candidate for their team and scaling up their organization.
And lastly, talking about their funding, the company has raised a total of $80.1 Million in 4 Rounds from 11 Investors including – Atomico, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Sequoia Capital, etc
- True Software Scandinavia AB won ‘Company of the Year’ at Mobilgalan (2014)
- Won the ‘Best Utility App’ at Gold Mobile at the annual Swedish mobile awards (Mobilgalan) (2011)