Phone Warrior, a New Delhi-based startup that blocks mobile spam calls and text messages, is announcing a seed round of around $550,000 from Lightspeed Venture Partners.
The money raised will be used for bolstering marketing efforts to increase Phone Warrior’s user base by a factor of ten, from its current one million to 10 million, the startup’s founder Chandan Gupta tells me.
So far, Phone Warrior has seen over a million downloads of its app in the markets of India, Indonesia and the UK without any formal marketing campaign. The startup got registered as a company only three months ago, and is currently available as an app on Android and BlackBerry. By January next year, Phone Warrior plans to launch on iOS platform.
The closest rival for Phone Warrior is a call-filtering app called WhosCall, which was developed by Taipei-based Gogolook. Gupta says that unlike WhosCall, which is primarily focused on Taiwan and other Asian markets, Phone Warrior is seeing huge potential to grow in India. The country’s smartphone market grew by 229% annually in the third quarter with vendors shipping a total of 12.8 million smartphones during the period. Sweden-based Truecaller is another rival for Phone Warrior.
“WhosCall is big in China, Taiwan. We have a better database in India, U.S. and Indonesia,” says Gupta. He adds that Phone Warrior has blocked over 27 million spam calls and messages to date.
Phone Warrior currently has 300 million numbers in its database and it’s adding around 10 million new numbers every week.
For now, the basic Phone Warrior app can be downloaded for free, but Gupta tells me that it could change after the app hits 10 million users mark. A premium version of the app is also available for annual subscription of $3 on BlackBerry phones.
Lightspeed Ventures’ Anshoo Sharma says the seed funding will be enough to help Phone Warrior scale its user base over next 12-18 months, after which a subsequent round of funding may be explored.
Going forward, Phone Warrior plans to launch directory search services similar to what Truecaller offers. But for Phone Warrior to really take on established rival such as Truecaller, it will need to first match in terms of database. Both Truecaller and WhosCall already have over 600 million numbers in their database.