SEATTLE and LONDON, Oct. 19, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Hiya, the fast-growth startup which makes mobile phone calls more contextual for millions of users, today announced that it has raised $18M in Series A funding to expand globally. The round was led by Balderton Capital, Europe's leading early-stage venture investor, with participation from Nautilus Venture Partners and Lumia Capital. Balderton general partner Lars Fjeldsoe-Nielsen, an early executive at Uber and Dropbox, will join Hiya's board.
Founded by serial entrepreneur Alex Algard, Hiya was launched in 2016 to revolutionize the way people make and receive phone calls. The company analyzes more than 3.5B calls per month to provide rich contextual information to users about who is on the other end of the line. Hiya also makes it easier to place outbound calls to businesses by integrating the local search experience directly into the phone's dialer.
The company already provides these services to more than 20M users in 196 countries, mainly via partnerships with some of the world's leading carriers and smartphone OEMs including AT&T and Samsung mobile. Headquartered in Seattle, Hiya is rapidly growing with more than 50 employees across four offices worldwide.
The new capital will be used for domestic and international expansion, with a significant portion invested in supporting and expanding Hiya's AI and machine learning product roadmap, as well as growing its data and engineering teams. The company plans to double its headcount in the coming year.
"As the telecom industry becomes more competitive, leading wireless carriers and smartphone OEMs are adjusting by innovating faster than ever before -- and Hiya is helping them," says the company's CEO Alex Algard, who has re-located to London to oversee Hiya's international expansion. "We are now in hyper-growth mode, and this investment will help sustain our momentum. 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."
Through established partnerships with AT&T, Samsung, T-Mobile, ZTE and proprietary apps for both Android and iOS, Hiya's global database of comprehensive Caller Profile information identifies legitimate numbers as well as blocks known spam or scam calls, enabling users to avoid falling victim to ever-increasing fraudulent activity.
Hiya Business Profiles, which was launched earlier this year and is available embedded into the dialer functionality for Samsung users as "Samsung Places" in more than 28 countries, enhances the outbound phone call experience between consumers and businesses. With integrated search and discovery, users can quickly find and call any local business directly from Samsung phone dialers, eliminating the need to conduct a web search or open a third-party app.
"The Hiya team is embarking on a huge journey to tackle the ever-growing menace of spam and scam calls at a global scale, and in the process, it's building a worldwide database of local businesses," says Balderton's Lars Fjeldsoe-Nielsen, who will be Hiya's fourth board director, alongside Alex Algard, Geoff Entress, Managing Director at Pioneer Square Labs, and Mike McSherry, CEO of Xealth. "We're incredibly excited about the potential of Hiya's contextual technology embedded within the dialer app, which facilitates a connection between local businesses and consumers at the optimal moment."
Hiya is revolutionizing the way people make and receive phone calls. With a mission to provide a better phone experience, Hiya Caller and Business Profiles provide users with important context, giving them the right information at the right time. Through analysis of more than 3.5 billion calls per month, Hiya protects tens of millions of users from unwanted robo and spam calls globally. Hiya is available as a consumer app on Google Android and iPhone and is integrated into the phone experience for AT&T Call Protect, T-Mobile Name ID, ZTE Axon 7 and Samsung Galaxy S7, Galaxy S8, Galaxy Note8, and all A-Series and J-Series users worldwide. For more information, please visit www.hiya.com.
About Balderton Capital
Balderton Capital is Europe's largest early stage venture capital investor, focused exclusively on European technology companies at Series A. Based in London, the firm manages $2.3bn and invests in entrepreneurs building globally ambitious businesses. Balderton's Partners and advisory team include the founders and operational leaders of multi-billion dollar companies including Business Objects, Dropbox, Google, Uber and Yahoo. Investments include Talend, Magic Pony Technologies (Twitter), Betfair, and YOOX Group. Among Balderton's current portfolio are: Aircall, Carwow, Citymapper, Kobalt Music, LoveCrafts, Nutmeg, Prodigy Finance, Revolut, ROLI, SOPHiA Genetics, The Hut Group and Zopa. For more see http://www.balderton.com or follow @balderton.