Hike, a mobile messaging app based in India, has raised $65 million in new funding from Tiger Global with participation from BSB, a joint-venture between Bharti Enterprises and SoftBank Corp. Hike is the largest India-based mobile app, providing instant messaging services to over 35 million users. Over 50% are active every month. Hike handles over 10 billion messages per month and over 3 billion stickers per month. Over 90% users from India; over 80% under the age of 25.
Founded in 2012, Hike has raised over $86 million to date and will use the latest cash to back product development and marketing efforts, as well as build out its current team of 100.
Hike is founded by Kavin Bharti Mittal, son of Sunil Mittal, Chairman and Group CEO of Bharti Enterprises, the parent company of Airtel.
Kavin Bharti Mittal, Founder & CEO, Hike, said, “This is a big milestone for us. We’ve almost doubled our user base, adding 15M users in the last 2 months itself. We can see that our users love hike and we’re now doing over 10 Billion messages per month. That’s a pretty big number. With the new investment we’re going to double down. We now have the ammo to tackle the more audacious items on our list. We have a great shot at becoming the first mobile-Internet company for India to cross a 100M users and we’re extremely excited to have Tiger Global join us on our mission to bring India online”.
Hike has been the number 1 free app in India recently on both Google Play and iOS App Store surpassing the leaders like Whatsapp, WeChat etc. Hike is the fastest growing mobile app in India adding more than 300k hike users per day. Hike is available on iOS, android, Blackberry, Windows Phone and Symbian.
As of April, 2014 hike is offering unlimited free SMS to its users. According to the latest plan from the company, the more a user chats on Hike, the more free SMS they will get and there is no limit to the amount of free SMS that can be earned. Users will also get 20 free SMS from the company as they join Hike for the first time, and will get a quick one-time bump of 50 free SMS on a successful invite sent to their friends. Notably, the free SMS balance lapses if a user remains inactive for more than 30 days. Hike pays to the mobile operator for the free SMS. However the plan is free for the consumers.
Hike allows users to share pictures, audio/video notes, location and contacts. Users can set chat wallpapers, block contacts and turn off last seen updates. Hike also allows to send files as attachment.
Hike helps you to chat with your friends even when there is no internet connection. The free SMS is your savior. Hike offers large varieties of stickers. As the founders say the stickers speak more than words. You can set chat wallpapers according to your mood and emotions which is another feature that personalize hike.
There is an option to hide your messages from stalkers and strangers. You can transfer files of size up to 100 MB. The read feature will help you whether your message has been read or not. Not just delivered but even the read status! Interesting feature which even Whatsapp doesn’t provide.
About Tiger Global Management:
Tiger Global is a fundamentally oriented, global investment firm. The Firm deploys capital in private equity partnerships and public equity funds. Tiger Global’s private equity partnerships have ten-year investment horizons and invest in growth companies in the global Internet and technology sectors. Tiger Global’s private investments have included SurveyMonkey, Warby Parker, Yandex, Facebook, Linkedin, Jingdong, Despegar, Mail.ru Group, Ctrip, Flipkart, Makemytrip, Justdial, Netshoes, MercadoLibre, OnDeck, and Eventbrite. The Firm’s public equity funds focus on long-term trends in the technology, telecom, media, retail and consumer sectors. Tiger Global was founded in 2001 and is based in New York.
About Bharti SoftBank:
BSB is a joint venture between Bharti Enterprises and SoftBank Co. with a focus on innovating in the Mobile-Internet ecosystem.
Hike has recently rolled out brand campaigns as part of their marketing strategies for India at a time when WeChat started their TVCs. Hike up your life is the new tagline and the ads along with social media channels are contributing to the success of campaign. The campaign conceptualized by Taproot, aims to strike an emotional chord with the teens through its youthful, witty, jingle-based ad.
The future looks bright for Hike. The free SMS feature allows the people to use hike even when they are disconnected to internet. There is still market for free SMS because the internet penetration in India is still on the lower side. We Indians use more stickers than words. Thats clearly visible in the number of stickers used each month. Pictures speak more than words. But Hike has to face strong competition from US-based Whatsapp, China’s WeChat, Japan’s Line and India’s own Nimbuzz.
The vision of reaching 100M users for Hike is not far. If they can add 15M users in the last two months, 100M is still achievable even when there is a strong competition from other players.
Image Reference: Hike app