Nothing fails like a failure, isn’t it? And when a made-in-India technology succumbs to global competition, it hurts even more. But let’s not get emotional or philosophical about it because that’ll blur our perspective through which this case must be studied & analyzed.
In short, This Happened to Hike Messenger -
Hike shut down its messaging service, by shifting its focus to two new social products—Rush and Vibe. It was rebranded as Hike Sticker Chat with a sticker-centric experience in April 2019. (Know the detailed perspective in the article ahead!)
Is Hike Messenger an overnight success story that had to fail due to its own business, technical inadequacies? No.
Was Hike’s success a fluke, a marketing gimmick, a modern day fad that lost its appeal over time? No, it wasn’t.
Then did it give in to the pressures of business from its rival tech giants WhatsApp & WeChat? Most likely yes!
Having said that, we must know that it isn’t easy to list down top 5-10 reasons for the supposed failure of a well established, popular, financially sound co… especially in a demography like that of India. It is so big & so diverse that there could be multitude of explanations as to why a good business idea/model failed.
Let’s try & capture a Few reasons of Hike's failure keeping this inherent truth in mind.
Lets find out! What actually happened to Hike Messenger?
The Rise of Hike Messenger
Hike within a few months of its launch in Dec 2012 by Bharti Enterprises, caught user’s fancy (users which comprise mostly youth below age 30) almost immediately. Millions of users got on it, 70 M by the end of Oct 2015. WhatsApp was picking up slowly but surely in India at the time. India being a huge market, there was undoubtedly enough space & scope for another co. to succeed. Hike did just that. It kept adding millions of users month over month with addition of cool smart features like free unlimited SMS called Hike Offline, in-app news, cricket scores, personalized stickers store unlike any other app; and added many superior tech features over time such as Hike ID, Hike Wallet, Hike Direct, Hike Web (some of these outperformed WhatsApp) to enhance user experience while keeping user privacy & security intact.
So what went wrong? Why couldn’t it sustain its user base unlike its rival WhatApp? What was unique about WA? Was it just the fact that it captured the booming market of mobile phone users before tech cos. could even realize and anticipate the potential of more than 1 billion market? Probably yes. Let’s analyze further.
Hike - India’s Fastest Growing Unicorn?
Hike was being hailed as the youngest startup in India to get a unicorn title, with a valuation of over 1 Billion within just 4 yrs of launch i.e. around Aug 2016. Hike was most certainly the best & biggest competitor of other widely popular Instant Messaging apps. Then came Jan 2016, when Hike revealed to press that Facebook blocked an option in its ads which allowed users to visit Hike website. FB gave no confirmation but it admitted that certain products & services can’t be advertised on its platform. Smart business decision you’d say but cutting out competition from a Co. born on the land you’re doing business in, puts the blame on the state’s unfavorable policies, inadequate regulations & not-so-friendly business environment yet, more than it does on the company. But all is not so grim, Indian startup community has begun to get its fair share of financial, policy boost.
The Fall of Hike Messenger
On January 6, 2021, Hike informed its users that it will be shutting down its messenger and were given a deadline till January 14 to migrate their data.
Kavin Bharti Mittal, Founder of Hike Messenger did not clearly mention the reason behind this move but tweeted on Jan 10, 2021 about it vaguely as follows-
It is a fact though, given the dominance of American tech giants globally. There isn’t another China in the world, to refuse to bow down to USA’s shrewd business practices, as yet. Even Hike's marketing team has to share the blame for its failure. Because while WhatsApp was growing leaps & bounds, why didn't Hike get its fare share? Why wasn't it as conspicuous & as much talked about as its rivals WA, Telegram or Signal etc? Why wasn't there enough buzz around it?!
All in all, the fall of Hike is as remarkable as its rise. Needs detailed study, if the start-up scene in India has to improve.
Hike Messenger - The Road Ahead
Hike, the super app may have closed its flagship IM brand but it hasn’t gone out of business or ideas. It has split up into Vibe by Hike & Rush by Hike - its two next generation apps for its loyal user base. Vibe is a community based social media platform enabling friendship & dating over secure & verified platform. Rush is an online gaming app. Well, these apps will sure have takers but given the current market scenario which is flooded with such apps…Hike sure has to innovate to set its foot in the market even if doesn’t aim to beat Tinder or Nintendo.
Therefore, however deeply & multifariously you look into the reasons for a big Co’s success or failure, you are bound to miss an important development or phase that must have contributed to it.
Nevertheless, if you’ve an idea you trust, and willing to take risks, there are sea of changes taking place in every business / industry, especially in technology. India is on the road to development, and in the fast lane. Hence every innovation counts in bringing along the revolution that’s happening in digital space & beyond.
Last word - Failure sure hits hard like a rock, but if you use these very rocks & turn them into what they call 'stepping stones', you might meet success at the very next juncture. And a budding entrepreneur must always remember that there’s never a last opportunity, just a lost one!
Hike Messenger - FAQs
Hike App is from Which Country?
Hike is a messaging app originated in India. It is headquartered in Delhi.
Who is Hike Messenger Owner?
Kavin Bharti Mittal is the founder and CEO of Indian instant messaging app Hike, and also the son of business tycoon Bharti Mittal
What happened to Hike Messenger?
Hike Messenger is Officially Shut down and has been removed from Google Play Store and Apple App Store
When was Hike Messenger Launched?
Hike Messenger was launched in 2012.
What is Hike Messenger App?
Hike was essentially a cool messaging platform for chatting with funky and killer stickers that came in to innovate the messaging world