Online directory service Truecaller has secured $60 million in funding from Atomico, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) and existing investor Sequoia Capital. Truecaller had raised $18.8 million investment from Sequoia Capital, Open Ocean, Truecaller Chairman Stefan Lennhammer, and an unnamed private investor, in February this year. The company had also raised $1.3 million from the Open Ocean in September 2012.
KPCB’s John Doerr, Atomico’s Mattias Ljungman, and Insight Venture Partners co-founder Jerry Murdock have been added to the Truecaller Board of Directors, and Atomico founder and Skype co-founder, Niklas Zennström has come onboard as special adviser. The Stockholm, Sweden-based company will be using the funds for hiring and improving the technology behind the app.
India numbers: In August 2014, Truecaller’s vice-president of growth & partnerships in Asia, Middle East & Africa Kari Krishnamurthy told The Times of India that more than 50% of Truecaller’s 70 million registered user base is in India and claimed that the company is adding 110,000 users on a daily basis. This translates to over 35 million registered users in the country, up from the 30 million registered users reported in April this year and 22 million registered users in December 2013. It’s worth noting that these numbers represent the number of registered Truecaller users and not necessarily active users of the app.
Spam calls: Truecaller’s popularity in India is possibly linked to the fact that the app allows users to identify and block spam calls. Due to the loopholes in India’s National Do Not Call (NDNC) policy users who have opted for the service still receive spam calls. In April, Truecaller was reportedly blocking more than 2 million spam calls on a daily basis in India itself. Interestingly, the amount of spam calls blocked by Truecaller seems to have gone down significantly in the past few months. Krishnamurthy told TOI that they are currently blocking 1 million spam calls every day, of which 50% is from India.
Privacy concerns: There are significant privacy issues with the app. Truecaller users who have your number are essentially sharing your contact details online that anyone can look up. The company does offer an ‘unlist a number’ option, however we are not sure how many people are actually aware that their number is already shared on the service by their friends or acquaintances and then go about unlisting their number on the service.
Truecaller had also started listing all the numbers searched by its users on its website, in July this year. It seems the ‘recent search’ pages were basically being used to improve SEO. The company later took down those pages, after we wrote about it.
Updates: The Privacy concerns bit was edited for more clarity.