Customer Delight Is Our No.1 Priority: TrueCaller VP

by Malavika Subramanyan    Aug 01, 2016

Kari Krishnamurthy

With the increasing penetration of smartphones in the country, Truecaller has over 130 million users in India alone. Backed by meaningful, consumer centric solutions and constant innovations, Truecaller adds about 6,00,000 users per week in India, a proof of Truecaller’s growing popularity. In an exclusive interaction with CXO today, Kari Krishnamurthy, Vice President, Growth and Partnerships, Asia & Country Manager, India at TrueCaller talks about the company’s journey in the Indian market and future plans.  

What’s the inspiration behind Truecaller? 

The idea behind Truecaller came into existence back in 2009 when the two co-founders Alan Mamedi and Nami Zarringhalam were experiencing unknown work related calls and from friends and families who had moved abroad. If they missed these calls, it would be frustrating to figure out who was trying to reach them. 

With this problem in mind Alan and Nami created Truecaller, which first lived on an online forum. Amazingly, they saw 10,000 downloads of their app within a week (this was before App Stores existed and downloading apps to your phone was a major hassle).

From the furniture sector, how did the company venture into the utility app market?

Both their previous ventures were very local businesses, however Alan and Nami always had an ambition in creating a global consumer product. So, after they built Truecaller, which was an app they created for themselves – they realized the potential of it and saw that this was a global problem they were solving. 

What were the main challenges faced by the company in its initial days, and how were they resolved?

Some of the early challenges included convincing people of the great problem that existed in our daily communication. However, Truecaller was determined to find a solution. As a start-up, the other challenge was funding to sustain the progress and dream to take it on a global scale. Our belief in solving the issue for each caller and great focus on innovation helped us through that particular phase. The same belief even today is what keeps us motivated as an organization. As solution providers to this pertinent problem, it ensured a quick embrace and adoption by our users across geographies where the problem was acute and massive. As a brand and product, which was created with a global market in mind, the next big thing that stared us on our face was funding and finding the right investors. Our resolve in continued persistence on what we believed in, in terms of product enhancement and innovations, ensured we crossed the crucial phases without much of a roadblock. Our belief and core focus in offering continued customer delight remains as strong as ever to this day.

Could you give us an insight into the company’s journey in the Indian market so far? How is the Indian market different from its global counterpart?

In 2014, out of a global 55 million users, Truecaller had 30 million users in India which made it more than 50 per cent of our global user base. We also added 6,00,000 users per week in India alone which acted as a proof of Truecaller’s growing popularity. The market has a unique calling habits, very different from what we observe in the other parts of the world. The same determined Truecaller’s success in this market over and above the constant innovation that was led by our consumer centric approach. For instance- in India, anyone can call you at any time, which isn’t the case in Sweden. It makes it all the more important for the mobile users here to know who’s calling. And thus, the need created the opportunity. 

Truecaller reached 100 million in India in 2015 and presently has over 130 million users in India alone. The growth is backed by the meaningful solutions in offer along with the increasing penetration of smartphones contributes to the same. 

Is the company planning to introduce any new features or upgrades anytime soon? Could you please enlist them?

Truecaller as a brand has always been consistent with innovation and unique concepts to pave way to address real life problems. Recently Truecaller has added an array of features in order to enhance its users’ experience for both; Android and iOS. The integrated features in the latest update includes the following:

• Built-in dialer allows you to make all your calls directly with Truecaller.

• Smart Call History replaces unknown numbers with real names and faces in your call history, even for numbers that are not saved in your contacts. Now you don’t need to save contacts to your phonebook.

• Availability shows you if your friends and contacts are free to talk before you call. Now you’ll never get a busy signal or interrupt someone again. 

Could you please throw some light on the roadmap for Truecaller. 

Presently, the company is progressing in its new offering True SDK that was introduced in February this year. The same simplifies the app onboarding and verification for third party apps using phone numbers. As a start-up, we realize the challenges that start-ups and developer community face and we are determined to offer relevant solutions. Furthermore, we are trying to fix the existing gap in the native dialer. While mobile phones have come a long way, so have the way we use it, but the dialer is one aspect of our smartphones today which has continued to be as in early days. We aim to make Truecaller 7 a native dialer of your smartphone, providing advanced calling experience.