Truecaller, the popular phone search app, today unveiled 'TrueSDK' at a press meet in Bengaluru. The Software Development Kit(SDK) will enable third party apps to onboard users with their Truecaller profile and verified phone number. Scheduled to roll out officially in the next few weeks, Truecaller has partnered with and given early access to 12 popular Indian apps namely Quikr, Mobikwik, redBus, CarDekho, BharatMatrimony.com, ixigo, OYO Rooms, TO THE NEW Digital, FreshMenu, Terraa, Cash Care and ShopClues.
Headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, Truecaller was founded in 2009 by Alan Mamedi and Nami Zarringhalam. The company has so far raised $80 million across four rounds, including the most recent $60 million Series C round from Atomico, Sequoia Capital and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers in October 2014. Truecaller's main features and services include spam detection and blocking, caller ID, and search.
With a growing mobile internet population that is expected to cross 371 million by June 2016(According to a recent report released by IAMAI), India is one of the biggest markets of Truecaller. In November 2015, the Truecaller India team released a Hindi transliteration feature to help non-native English users in India better utilize their services. Truecaller has also followed an 'unbundling' strategy and launched Truedialer app in 2014 and a Messenger app.
Related read from 2014: How Truecaller went on to become world’s largest verified mobile phone community
With TrueSDK, service developers can sign up, update a user’s information, or purely verify the user’s phone number based identity in their mobile app with the user's consent. Available to registered third party apps and currently Android only, this feature is being launched with 12 partners. The aim is to simplify the app onboarding and user verification process for the partner's customer base. Nami, Chief Strategy Officer and co-founder of Truecaller said,
Our aim is to empower third party apps with a credible verification option and enable users to use the app of their choice by making their phone numbers their identity.
Talking to YourStory, Nami elaborated that they chose their 12 partners for the launch based on their synergy and going forward that as the platform will be open to the public, both early stage and mature app developers will be utilize the service. Truecaller also clarified that the service will be free to use for both end users and partners who utilize and integrate their SDK. The company believes that its USP is the permission based flow and 'light weight' client side SDK that requires minimal changes needed on developer’s backend.
Anurag Saran, CPO, Quikr said, "Security of consumers while transacting on our platform is crucial. Truecaller has a large existing community and the integration of TrueSDK on our mobile app reduces friction for mobile number verification. This gives our consumers an added layer of convenience and security.”
The company aims to launch TrueSDK for other operating systems too. App Developers are looking for ways to minimize friction in user onboarding and engagement flows. According to Priyam Bose, Director Worldwide Developer Relations at Truecaller, TrueSDK gives developers an opportunity to fulfill these needs and overtime bridge offline and online identity gap.
Truecaller has been the global leader in this space and crossed 100 million users towards the end of 2015. But now other platforms are showing interest in this space too. Facebook Messenger requests users to verify their mobile numbers and allows users to reverse search contacts based on their numbers. India's Hike Messenger too has a 'Caller' feature that provides caller information for unknown numbers and gives users an option for free OTT calling and messaging. Then there is 'That's them', a reverse phone number lookup service.
The mobile app space is seeing a lot of consolidation now. Successful players are cashing in on their userbase.Most recently Whatsapp too decided to take the B2B route by provoding tools that allow users to use WhatsApp to communicate with businesses
This is an interesting move by Truecaller and with their 100 million user database, lot of small, medium and large scale businesses can benefit from partnering with them. Truecaller still has to ensure that it lives up to its USPs involving permission based flow and 'light weight' client side SDK, which is critical for long term success. But with VOIP calling gaining traction globally, it will be interesting to see how Truecaller and other players in the space innovate and what the situation is two years down the line.