Hiya serves as both a way to cut down on spam and learn who is calling if that number is not in your contact list.
Online people-search company Whitepages has spun out a division of its business into a new startup called Hiya.
Both Seattle-based companies will be led by Whitepages founder and CEO Alex Algard.
Hiya, which has been operating as Whitepages Caller ID, is a caller-ID app for Android phones that aims to cut down on spam.
In the early days of cellphones, people would nearly always pick up calls because only a few people knew their numbers, Algard said. But telemarketers and spam calls have started targeting cell numbers.
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“People no longer pick up their phones anymore unless the number is in their address book,” he said.
Hiya serves as both a way to cut down on spam and learn who is calling if that number is not in your contact list. If your phone receives a call from a number Hiya knows to be a robotic call, the app will pop up with an alert.
Hiya gathers information about spam numbers from a database similar to Whitepages’, which uses public records, and from looking at patterns in users’ calls.
Hiya also lets users report spam and unwanted numbers and adds them to its database.
Algard said he expected leading two companies to be a lot of work.
“On the other hand,” he said. “I’ve already been leading both up until now.”
Hiya has been incubated within Whitepages for the past couple of years, and as its service gained popularity, Algard said the time was right to make it a stand-alone business.
The app has been downloaded more than 25 million times, and the company has a partnership with Samsung and T-Mobile US to integrate its service into some devices.
Hiya makes money from such partnerships, and from some premium features users can buy to upgrade the free app.
Whitepages is focused mainly on the U.S. market, but Hiya is growing quickly internationally, Algard said, where spam calls are more common in some places than in the U.S.
Hiya has about 40 employees and operates from an office in downtown Seattle, next door to Whitepages.