Truecaller Raises $60 Million to Expand Caller-ID App

Big 5

Truecaller, whose application helps smartphone users manage contacts and screen calls, raised $60 million in a round of funding as investors focus on startups that augment mobile communications and messaging.

The Stockholm-based company’s Series C funding was led by Atomico, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Sequoia Capital, Jerry Murdock and Stefan Lennhammer. The investment follows $18.8 million raised in February led by Sequoia, bringing total financing to more than $80 million, Truecaller said in a statement today. The startup’s valuation wasn’t disclosed.

Truecaller’s crowd-sourced phone-book app lets people identify and block incoming calls or look up callers by number, as well as connect to search and social apps such as Yelp Inc. (YELP) and Twitter Inc. The company, which was started in 2009 and now has more than 85 million users, will use the funding to develop products, increase its staff and expand around the globe, aiming to become the “Google of online phone directory,” said co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Alan Mamedi.

Truecaller also said Kleiner partner John Doerr, Atomico managing partner Mattias Ljungman, and Insight Venture Partners’ Murdock are joining its board, along with Atomico founder Niklas Zennstrom, who will be a special adviser.

“It is great to see a team from Sweden that’s re-thinking how we communicate and scaling their technology globally,” Zennstrom, also co-founder of Web video-conferencing company Skype, said in the statement. “We look forward to working with the team to help them reach the next 100 million users.”

Messaging Competition

Messaging is a market where competition is heating up. Earlier this week, Facebook Inc. completed its acquisition of mobile-message service WhatsApp for about $19 billion, and a person with knowledge of the matter last week said Yahoo! Inc. was close to investing in disappearing-photo app Snapchat Inc.

The lack of one dominant mobile-message app creates a scattered pool of contact information that’s hard to manage — especially for finding numbers of service providers, Atomico’s Ljungman said.

“Truecaller gives you a much smaller process — that’s something that all businesses value and will pay for,” Ljungman said.

While studying at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, computer-science students Nami Zarringhalam and Mamedi started Truecaller as a “hobby project” to track down unidentified calls and to find out more about callers. Truecaller attracted over 10,000 users in the first week of its release, Mamedi said in an interview.

Like LinkedIn Corp.’s model, Truecaller’s app is free, with additional costs for premium services or to unlock features such as sending contact requests and seeing who searched a person’s name.

Following offices in Stockholm and New Delhi, Truecaller is preparing to open an outpost in San Francisco in a few months, Mamedi said.

“The greatest thing is that we’re getting attraction from the Valley,” he said. “It’s necessary for companies to be here to succeed.”

Source : Bloomberg