Today we got some nice investment news coming out of Stockholm. You may be familiar with Truecaller, a crowdsourced phone directory that helps you figure out who that random number is that’s calling you. Today Open Ocean Capital has invested $1.3 million (€1 million) into the company to help it expand globally.
There are so few surprises in today’s connected world that I almost appreciate a random phone number every now and then. You get two seconds of confused excitement as you wonder “Why in the world is a German calling me?!” before you take the phonecall. There’s something special in those two seconds though. That being said, Truecaller correctly points out that phone directories haven’t changed in over a decade. There’s a huge market opportunity to build a global network for number search.
Truecaller provides public phone directories crowdsourced from mobile phones. Users can share their phone’s phonebook, and then get access to the greater system. For privacy concerns, users can opt-out at any time.
The company says that the Nordic market already has the most developed existing coverage, where the largest provider covers 60% of all numbers. The U.S. and Western Europe only hits around 30% (of which most numbers are landlines).
But a huge market exists in places like India, where 99% of their 600 million mobile subscribers are prepaid. Due to this, there has traditionally been no way to build a public directory until Truecaller provided a way to search for those numbers.
The startup says that it’s growing exponentially, and that its millions of users perform more than 120 million searches each month.
“We are excited to invest in Truecaller, as the company aims to deliver a service that is valuable for every citizen as well as all businesses in the World. Truecaller is a perfect fit for Open Ocean Fund Three’s investment focus, developing a rapidly scalable business on the basis of a crowdsourcing strategy and high virality.”, says Ralf Wahlsten Open Ocean Partner. “We believe that Truecaller is positioned to be the leading service in the global mobile white pages industry.”
Since Open Ocean is in the news, I have to promote that we’re throwing a data hackathon, called OOHack Hackaton 1 in partnership with Open Ocean Capital on October 16th.