Zakaria Hersi to help Truecaller identify and signup new partners in Africa

Truecaller, the mobile and web app which helps users identify unknown calls, block spam calls and spam SMS, has set up its regional headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya.

As part of its new expansion drive, the Swedish firm has also recruited Zakaria Hersi as Director of Partnerships for Africa with the responsibility to spearhead its expansion in the region by forging partnerships with potential clients.

(TOP: Zakaria Hersi as Truecaller’s director of partnerships for Africa).

Hersi has a background in launching startups globally, and has previously helped the Swedish Investment firm Kinnevik launch Saltside in Nigeria where he was the Managing Director. He also had two stints working for Swedish based company Besedo, where he helped open offices in Colombia and Mauritius.

During his period at Besedo, Hersi worked closely with some of the largest marketplaces (eBay, and OLX) in Europe and South America, and was responsible for post-merger integration of the company and French AI company IoSquare.

The Truecaller app has already attracted more than 50 million users in Africa. The service is identifying more than half a billion calls on a monthly basis in the region, and 50 percent of all SMS users receives is considered as spam.

The company also revealed that it has more than 6 million users in Kenya alone, where the user base has grown with over 35 percent over the past year. The Truecaller app is blocking and filtering out more than 4.4 million calls, and 14 million spam SMS on a monthly basis in the country, with 11% more women than men reporting spam calls and texts.

“Over the years, Kenya has consistently been a top market for us, with some of our highest usage globally, which is why it made sense for us to set up a strategic headquarters in Nairobi. With this positive momentum of growth, we look forward to bringing new, innovative and localized services and offerings, and expand our presence and start engaging more deeply with the tech eco-system,” said Hersi.

Late last year Truecaller launched its Developer Program with Truecaller SDK, its mobile identity product for digital start-ups and app developers, and announced that it will be doubling down on its monetization initiative, and introduce its Truecaller Priority program in Sub-Sahara Africa.

The Truecaller SDK enables third party app developers, digital businesses and startups to verify end users quickly and frictionlessly by utilizing their Truecaller profile with a one touch and password free experience. The Truecaller SDK is available on Android, iOS and web platforms and can be used by any app or a website to instantly onboard, autofill user information, or verify the user’s phone number based identity through users’ consent.

Truecaller Priority is a new service that ensures that users will always know when it’s a relevant and important call made from a company – and not a spam call. This will provide an enhanced delivery experience by giving Truecaller users more context to calls, which allows people to know, for example, when their package has arrived.

In a recent study conducted by Truecaller, South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya and Egypt rank among the top 20 countries in the world being plagued by unwanted spam calls.

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