Truecaller’s True Calling

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When Swedish nationals Nami Zarringhalam and Alan Mamedi founded Truecaller in 2009, they didn’t have India on their radar, not even remotely. They had built the caller-id app for personal use, to screen calls from angry companies who wanted reviews on their workplaces taken down from a website founded by Zarringhalam and Mamedi. That site was called Jobbigt, meaning troublesome, it was later sold for $20,000, and the money was used to buy equipment to test Truecaller.

However, Sanchit Vir Gogia, founder, Greyhound Research, isn’t too optimistic. “What works for them is that the app is already on a user’s smartphone,” he says. But lending products are heavily based on user trust. “Truecaller, sadly, is still not beyond suspicion, even in the savvy user’s mind, when it comes to the safety of data and transactions,” he adds.

Gogia says, “What Truecaller is doing is not dramatically different from WhatsApp or Google. What may be arguable or worth contesting is the user education. Even amongst the more educated, they have to communicate better, in terms of how they aggregate data and what they do with data.”

To grow, Truecaller will keep offering every possible service on its platform. It would want to be a super app, like WeChat in China but it has to remember that WeChat didn’t click in India, because WhatsApp is wildly popular. “I don’t feel India is still a market for super apps. It hasn’t been proven sufficiently,” says Gogia.

[Outlook Business]


Sanchit Vir Gogia: Sanchit is the Chief Analyst, Founder & CEO of Greyhound Research, a Global, Award-Winning, Technology & Innovation Research & Advisory firm. To read more about him, click here.

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