Andreessen-Backed Startup Pindrop Agrees to Buy Next Caller

Voice security startup Pindrop Security Inc. has agreed to buy Next Caller Inc., making its first acquisition to build out personalization and verification services as the coronavirus pandemic spurs a surge in call volumes.

Pindrop Chief Executive Officer Vijay Balasubramaniyan said the deal was for a mix of cash and equity with additional payments for hitting certain financial milestones, but he declined to specify the deal terms. The purchase will boost revenues by 10% and speed up the timeline for a possible initial public offering to about 18 months, he said in an interview.

Pindrop’s technology is focused on voice security, helping call centers identify customers by analyzing the sound of their voice and behavior and flagging potential fraudsters. New York-based Next Caller verifies phone numbers and helps assign calls to specific customer service agents. During the pandemic, call volumes have surged with people stuck at home, Balasubramaniyan said.

“Voice and audio is having its moment in the sun,” he said. “It actually turned out to be very meaningful for us from a business standpoint and so acquisitions were a natural thing, and so we looked at what complements our technology.”

Founded in 2011 and based in Atlanta, Pindrop last raised money in 2018 at a $925 million valuation, Balasubramaniyan said. The company’s backed by investors including Andreessen Horowitz, Citi Ventures and Alphabet Inc.’s CapitalG.

The company reached profitability in the third quarter of last year, and expects to be profitable across this year as well, he said. It’s looking to expand into the Asia-Pacific region after the pandemic, and wants to make further acquisitions every nine to 12 months, according to Balasubramaniyan.

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