Hiya, the company behind the caller ID and spam-blocking app of the same name, has raised $18 million in a series A round of funding as it looks to “transform mobile calling worldwide,” according to a statement.
By way of a quick recap, Hiya was spun out of online directory services Whitepages as a standalone company way back in April 2016, having previously been known as WhitePages CallerID. Founder and CEO Alex Algard resigned his lead role at Whitepages last September to focus all his efforts on the new spin-off company.
In a nutshell, Hiya offers a consumer-focused app for Android and iOS that tells users who is calling — regardless of whether the incoming number is in their local address book. Users can also decide to auto-block certain numbers they know to be scam- or robo-callers, and nuisance numbers flagged by the community can be filtered out too. Hiya also partners with smartphone manufacturers, such as Samsung, and carriers, including AT&T’s Call Protect and T-Mobile’s Name ID, to better integrate its services.
Earlier this year, Hiya launched Business Profiles, which is available embedded into the dialer app on Samsung phones (as Samsung Places) in more than 28 countries. This new feature allows users to search for information about companies and call them directly — all from within the dialer.
The $18 million investment, led by Europe’s Balderton Capital, with participation from Nautilus Venture Partners and Lumia Capital, represents the company’s first outside funding. The cash injection will be used to grow the service in Hiya’s domestic U.S. market, as well as helping it expand globally. A “significant” chunk of the money will support Hiya’s push into AI and machine learning, in addition to boosting its data and engineering teams.
As a result of Balderton’s investment, Lars Fjeldsoe-Nielsen will join Hiya’s board, while Algard has relocated from Seattle to London to oversee Hiya’s global expansion.
“We are now in hyper-growth mode, and this investment will help sustain our momentum,” noted Algard. “But we are also benefiting from uniquely relevant strategic and operational know-how for mobile. Lars and Lumia Capital’s Chris Rogers, for example, spent many years deep in the trenches as founders or early executives building Uber, Dropbox, and Nextel.”
Hiya bears similarities to European caller ID startup Truecaller, which has raised around $100 million since its foundation back in 2009, though Algard noted that Hiya has a long history of providing caller ID services for Android, going as far back as 2008 when it was called Whitepages CallerID.
“We were first to market to offer caller ID for Android back in 2008 and have remained the leading caller ID app in the U.S. ever since, working to better our full-service caller ID and spam-detection offering with each release,” he said. “Our recent Samsung partnership has expanded our reach to a global level, where we have already seen great traction in just a small amount of time.”