Nami Zarringhalam, Co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer, Truecaller debuts the first interaction session at the OnePlus Experience Store.
It is eight in the evening and Bengaluru’s Brigade road is lit up. Though the lights in the OnePlus Experience Store, which launched in January this year, are on, it isn't entertaining any walk-ins.
The posters displayed explain why — Nami Zarringhalam, Co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer, Truecaller, is set to inaugurate the first community event at the store.
A month ago when YourStory had spoken to Vikas Agarwal, General Manager India, OnePlus, he had said that they were looking to make this experience store double up as a venue for community interactions and talks.
The bustle at the door warns everyone that Nami has arrived at the location. Bengaluru’s traffic never ceases to be a nuisance but Nami and co-founder Alan Mamedi's Truecaller journey can make one forget it all. Vikas mentions,
"We have a big market and presence in India. So when it came to deciding the first session, we believed that Truecaller would be the perfect bet. At OnePlus, we feel it is our duty to ensure that the Indian startup ecosystem gets exposure to the best global entrepreneurial talent and understands how ecosystems are built because we live in a collaborative world."
Building a must-have app
Founded in 2009, Truecaller today is a must-have not just in every journalist’s phone but also for celebrities and entrepreneurs. Kunal Shah, Co-founder, FreeCharge, in his talk at TechSparks 2016, had spoken about how powerful Truecaller can be and its categorisation as a truly ‘Delta Four’ app as it completely hooks the user.
Kunal's declaration rings true as within a year, Truecaller went from two million to 20 million users. Today, the company website claims to have more than a 100 million users, and Alan has also tweeted that January 2017 was their strongest growth month ever. And paid user acquisition was at $0.
Speaking to an audience of bloggers, community members, and OnePlus fans, Nami said,
“When we started Truecaller, the systems weren’t based on Android or iOS — we had to work with a Windows phone and go through a rather cumbersome process of connecting to a laptop, downloading it there, and then opening it again on the mobile phone.”
Three times lucky
Friends since their college days, Truecaller is Alan and Nami’s third startup together, the first two being a home solutions furniture website and a recruitment site respectively. Reminiscing over the journey, Nami says,
“College, pizzas, similar home furnishing, and with zero idea of how to run a business, we started our foray into the world of entrepreneurship.”
When the duo came up with the idea of Truecaller, they were surprised that at a time when social media platforms like Facebook were taking the world by storm and smartphones were penetrating the world, one couldn’t find out who was calling.
Alan had also faced this problem at his workplace, where he would get continuous calls and wouldn’t be able to identify the number. When they began work on Truecaller, the assumed that it would do well in Sweden. But then a friend of Alan’s one day called and said how big Truecaller was in Lebanon. It was then that they decided to pump in some investments and grow in Jordan.
“But in 2012, we got a call from Sequoia India asking if we could talk. We said sure, why don’t you fly down to Stockholm, which they did,” quips Nami. He adds that at that point in time, they hadn't realised that India had already touched a sizable market of over two million users. The conversation with Sequoia India changed that for Truecaller and they set up a centre in Delhi by 2013.
Today, India is one of their biggest markets. Last year, Truecaller launched their SDK in Bengaluru and the company is also hiring aggressively for their development centre in the city. Nami elusively ended his talk by saying:
“By the end of March, we are going to have a big announcement in Delhi.”
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