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Leigh McMillan will lead Whitepages as its new CEO. (Whitepages Photo)

Seattle-based Whitepages is splitting into two separate companies — Whitepages and Ekata — as it looks to expand growth around the world.

Rob Eleveld. (Whitepages Photo)

The Whitepages business will focus on consumers and small businesses. Ekata, previously known as Whitepages Pro, will sell enterprise identity verification products.

Both companies will remain in Seattle. Whitepages employs 32 people, with plans to add another 10 over the next year. Ekata has 135 employees across three offices (120 in Seattle), and will add another 50 people.

Rob Eleveld, who became CEO of Whitepages in 2016, will lead Ekata as CEO. Leigh McMillian, previously consumer business general manager, is now CEO of Whitepages.

The idea behind the split is to better serve different customer needs.

“Our new brand and independent operations reflect the integral role we play in helping many of the world’s biggest digital commerce businesses link a digital identity back to a human,” Eleveld said in a statement. “Airbnb, Microsoft, Alipay, and Stripe – among many other industry leaders – already use our verification services to approve transactions, reduce customer friction and catch fraud. By splitting the business units into two separate companies we are better positioned to expand Ekata’s business internationally.”

Whitepages has more than 35 million monthly active users. People use its technology for identity verification, business search, reverse phone searches, background checks, tenant screening, and more.

The company originally launched in 1997. Founder Alex Algard remains as chairman of Ekata and Whitepages. He is also CEO of Hiya, a caller ID startup that spun out of Whitepages in 2016 and raised $18 million one year later.

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