Sep 24, 2014 Liina Hilkamo
Alan Mamedi and his team are building a solution for these situations. Mamedi is the co-founder and CEO of Truecaller, a Stockholm-based company founded in 2009. With Truecaller you can see who is calling even if the number is not saved in your phone book. In addition to that, Truecaller lets you search for phone numbers and names and report spam calls. Currently about 75 million people – three times more than the population of Scandinavia – in more than 200 countries are using Truecaller. The company has it’s biggest base in India, where Truecaller blocks and identifies around two million spam calls every day.
Mamedi will be seen on the Slush stage in November, but prior to that, hear what he has to say about fast-growth markets, the Nordic startup scene and more!
I was always most excited about building something with my best friends. It was not just work, it was pure passion for creating something together with my buddies. It was also a shock that the idea of Truecaller had not been around sooner – with so many smartphones out there, this was an idea that needed to become a reality to make having a smartphone easier.
One entrepreneur who’s inspired me from the start of building Truecaller, and even now, would be Skype’s co-founder Niklas Zennström.
The number of mobile phones is estimated to increase from 4.55 billion to 5.13 billion in 2017. Half of these will be smartphones. Much of the growth will come from the so called ‘next billion markets’, which is why it is so important not get too obsessive with the Western World, even if it is close to your comfort zone. At Truecaller we followed where the data pointed and since then we’ve been fully committed to these markets.
I also believe that the next wave of hugely successful mobile apps won’t be “standalone products”. Instead, they will be more focused on tying together all our services and devices and managing the huge flow of information they produce.
To succeed in India or any other fast-growth markets (like the Middle East, Africa and Latin America) you need to put yourself in the shoes of a potential user in that market. Your product needs to run smoothly on the popular devices of the market, which may be much less powerful than the devices your European and North American customers are using. Likewise, wireless infrastructure may be much less robust, and apps that don’t depend on a constant cellular data connection have an advantage.
If you can, make a deal with a carrier or OEM for an arrangement like pre-loading your app on their phone. You’ll gain much-needed exposure by partnering with an established brand, and they’ll be able to differentiate their device or service from the competition thanks to your product.
There has been a very significant shift in how people view entrepreneurship during the past 5-10 years. I see more and more young people, who have a clear ambition to start something of their own.
There is a lot of buzz around the Nordic startup scene and decision makers constantly point out the role new innovative startups have in reviving the economy and creating new jobs. However, a lot more could be done in terms of regulations and support to assure that the Nordics truly would provide the optimal environment for setting up your own business. Less talking, more walking.
I hope that by telling our story I can inspire young and promising entrepreneurs to pursue their dreams. At the same time I also hope that Slush and all the talented people I hopefully get to meet will inspire me.
The Nordics are one of the most buzzing startup scenes in the world and with promising startups, inspiring speakers, and the biggest technical production in the history of Finland, this year’s Slush will be an event not worth missing.
Photos by Truecaller
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