By Prarthana Mitra
Sweden-based call-screening app Truecaller on Wednesday acquired Mumbai-based domestic mobile payments start-up Chillr. The move is Truecaller’s first ever acquisition in India.
Although the bid went for an undisclosed amount, Truecaller has clearly showcased its interest in becoming a full-stack mobile payments and financial services platform, especially after the launch of its UPI-based payments service Truecaller Pay in 2017 through the acquisition.
Here’s what happened
Truecaller started off in India as an online directory for mobile phone numbers before diversifying into call management, messaging, and instant payments through UPI. Now the company plans to integrate financial services such as loans, financing, micro-insurance in India.
The Chillr acquisition will enable Truecaller to launch mobile recharges, bill payments, and other utility payment services besides the peer-to-peer payments it already supports through a partnership with ICICI Bank.
“The aim is to go deeper into mobile payments and other associated financial services. We have decided not to charge anything from the users for basic services and are determined to make the process as simple as paying directly through the messaging tab,” said Sony Joy, co-founder of Chillr. “This will take us beyond just handling messages and calls.”
Joy will join Truecaller Pay as Vice President, while Chillr will gradually dilute its brand, and migrate its existing users to Truecaller. Chillr has been scouting for investors and merger opportunities since early 2017. The merged entity will be able to reach Truecaller’s 150 million registered Indian users. Both companies are backed by common investor Sequoia Capital.
“We will, together, have a far bigger impact in this space through the foundation of the team’s expertise and a strong user base that trusts our platform and use it on a daily basis,” said Nami Zarringhalam, Truecaller co-founder and chief strategy officer. Unfazed by brewing competition in the space, Truecaller Pay hopes to become one of India’s top three payment apps over the next two years.
Prarthana Mitra is a staff writer at Qrius.
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