Phonebook app, Truecaller, grew by 570 percent in 2014 in Kenya, according to Nami Zarringhalam, Co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer. Kenya’s growth is higher than Sub-Saharan Africa’s average uptake which Zarringalam says grew by 500 percent.
“Truecaller is rapidly expanding in solving a pain point that many smartphone owners encounter. With the increasing amount of unregistered numbers, sales calls, and lack of public information on numbers, Truecaller provides a quick and relevant solution for free,” explains Zarringhalam.
Launched in 2009 in Sweden by Zarringhalam and Alan Mamedi, Truecaller has over 100 million users in the world who use the app to identify contacts within the network and block unwanted calls.
“We expect 2015 to show even more growth. We are very happy with this growth and this is a clear sign of the popularity of Truecaller based on the great value provided to users.”
Zarringhalam talks to Capital Business about building a global business from a simple app.
5 tips on how to build a universally accepted app
- Don’t be afraid to launch your product globally from the start – The feedback will be immensely valuable
- Listen to your users feedback and make sure you listen to the market – Don’t assume product market/fit until you’ve gotten enough feedback
- Even though the product is global make it feel as native and local as possible for the user – Personalize the content
- Make sure the content and the way you display it feels as native and local as possible for the user – Localize the content & the language
- Always stay true to the above 4
Seeing that Truecaller is free for use, what is your business model?
Truecaller uses a freemium model, meaning that you are able to purchase premium services in the app. For instance, when you request somebody’s contact information, they receive a text message asking for permission to share their details, which is a premium feature.
What is the plan for Africa?
We see the African countries as a strong growth opportunity given that smartphone penetration rates are rapidly growing throughout the region. We know that startups are a growing trend in Africa, and we’d like to be a part of that and be more involved. Collaborating with network operators, OEM’s and ecosystem owners is important, but we also want to engage with local app developers and the start-up community. And to do so, it’s extremely important for us to have local knowledge about the markets. Something that we’ve been doing that is very successful is to interact with passionate people that both love our brand and have great understanding of the market.
We are constantly searching for passionate people who love Truecaller to join our brand ambassador program.