Hans Osnabrugge, CEO of Talk360 tells us about the international calling app that enables people to call to any mobile and landline number.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Hans Osnabrugge: We are doing well. The whole Talk360 team has been working from home since March 2020, just like many other companies. It definitely has been a weird year for everyone, and it wasn’t always easy, but the team did great, and together we made it work.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Talk360.
Hans Osnabrugge: In 2016, I started Talk360 together with Dean Hiine, who is based in South Africa. Our mission was mainly to become the calling app that everyone could use, regardless of their social or financial background, which means that even people without a bank account could use the app. We want to positively impact the world by making reliable communication accessible and affordable for everyone. We achieve this by keeping our app easy to use, supporting different languages and currencies, and continuously adding numerous mobile wallets, cash, and online payment methods.
We find it a beautiful thing that we enable people to stay connected with their loved ones. Our app is not just a calling app. It is a way to connect lives. Behind every call, there is a different story and a different person. It could be a way to talk to your dad for advice, a way to ask your grandparents how they are, or a way to stay in touch with your daughter while she is travelling. With our app, we make these connections possible, and that makes our job even more special and worthwhile every day. We are passionate to make sure everyone in the world can be connected with their friends and family.
How does Talk360 innovate?
Hans Osnabrugge: Talk360 is a company with an international calling app. We often hear that people think the app is not relevant anymore, but it is actually more relevant than they think. Many people have an internet connection, but still, 41% of the world population doesn’t have internet, or they have a bad connection. This means that they cannot be reached with free calling apps like Skype or WhatsApp. With our app, we enable people to call to any mobile and landline number. So, the receiver of your call does not need to have a mobile phone.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Hans Osnabrugge: When the Pandemic started in March 2020, we saw this in our data, and it actually had a positive effect on our business. Due to the Pandemic, a lot of people could not travel to other countries anymore. For them, our app was often the only way to get in touch with friends and family abroad. Another thing we saw in our data was that people made more calls to landline numbers. For example, the elderly often do not have mobile phones, and with the Talk360 app, it is also possible to call landline numbers. The Pandemic gave us an extra boost, but it wasn’t the main reason for our growth. In the last year, we doubled our turnover, and the main reason for that was the focus on social impact and the creation of jobs in developing countries with our innovative Ambassador Portal.
What did Talk360 do in the last year to keep growing, and what tools did you use?
Hans Osnabrugge: In the past year, we have also implemented our purpose more emphatically with the new tagline: “Connecting lives – Bridging distance.” The focus is not only on connecting people but also on social impact. To achieve this, we have significantly expanded our team to work more locally and create jobs from Africa to India. The different countries and communities’ infrastructure and cultural needs require a great diversity of cash, mobile and online payment methods. We strive to ensure that everyone in the world, regardless of their social or financial background, can buy call credit for our app and stay in touch with their friends and family all over the world.
Your final thoughts?
Hans Osnabrugge: We are pleased that we are now moving on to the next growth phase and that we can help more and more ‘underserved’ communities by making international calling accessible. It is wonderful to see how our growth has accelerated now that we focus more on our mission instead of cold numbers. Our journey has only just begun. We strive for a world where 100% of the population has the opportunity to purchase Talk360 credit and be in contact with their loved ones.
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