Truecaller is on its way to foraying into the financial technology vertical in the Indian market, with reports stating that the Swedish company has begun a pilot programme to extend credit to small business owners.
According to a report from news agency Bloomberg, the chief executive officer of the world’s largest caller-identification platform, Alan Mamedi, has said the company will begin by offering the service first to some of its 140 million users in India early next year.
The move by the firm is the latest such action by internet messaging and communications platforms, who have begun leveraging their vast networks and ground-level reach to tap into the largely untapped financial services market.
According to Mamedi, out of its 140 million users in India, 20 million are small businesses who have trouble accessing credit from formal banking channels. The credit service offered by Truecaller will be in association with financial partners, Mamedi pointed out, adding the move would bolster the preparedness of the company for an initial public offering by 2022.
India is a crucial market for Truecaller, with over 70 per cent of its user base coming from the country and the company sees the new credit venture helping it reap substantial financial benefits. “In three years, revenue from subscriptions, advertising and fin-tech will be equal in size for Truecaller,” Mamedi has said, “In a market where very few are banked and digitalized, there’s a large potential.”
Truecaller has, over the recent past, expanded its offerings for the Indian market. The firm had initially aimed at providing information about incoming voice calls, but has now ventured into messaging and calling services. In 2017, it even began offering mobile payment services in the market. Its ad-free subscription service has also gained traction, with paid subscribers accounting for 30 per cent of its revenue. Mamedi says this number will cross USD 32 million this year.
The platform is also now offering businesses the option of setting up profile pages with service/product catalogues. "There’s a lack of a trusted directory for businesses in India, as well as in many other emerging markets. Before we enabled business profiles, people were very creative, using Photoshop to add images from stores to profile pictures and adding quotes from customers," Mamedi said.