Journey of Hike Messenger - An Indian Messaging App

Rishabh Rathi Rishabh Rathi
Aug 26, 2021 10 min read
Journey of Hike Messenger - An Indian Messaging App

Company Profile is an initiative by StartupTalky to publish verified information on different startups and organizations. The content in this post has been approved by Hike.

Hike Messenger is Officially Shut down and has been removed from Google Play Store and Apple App Store. However, the company still exists. Know the Journey of Hike Messenger ahead...

Development in the communication sector has been fast and amazing. From letters, to landline phones; from pagers to smartphones, we have come a long way. And now, one of the most loved ways of communicating are messaging apps, which are making communication not just easy but fun too!

Speaking of the most trending messaging apps, one name that we won't afford to miss is Hike Messenger app owned by Kavin Bharti Mittal. With over 100 million users, this homegrown messaging app of India is giving fair competition to WhatsApp, the world's most preferred messenger app. Founded by Kavin Bharti Mittal in 2012, Hike Messenger is a billion-dollar startup. Read on to know more about this successful Indian startup.

Hike Messenger - Company Highlights

Startup Name Hike Messenger
Headquarter New Delhi
Founder/Owner Kavin Bharti Mittal
Sector Messaging App
Founded 2012
Funding $261 Million
Revenue ₹ 13,000 (FY20)
Parent Organization Hike Private Limited

Hike Messenger Officially Shuts Down (Latest News)
Hike Messenger - About
Hike Messenger introduces HikeLand
Hike Messenger - Founder/Owner
Hike Messenger - How it started | History
Hike Messenger - User Acquisition
Hike Messenger - Competitors
Hike Messenger - Funding and Investors
Hike Messenger - Name, Tagline and Logo
Hike Messenger - Growth
Hike Messenger - Acquisitions and Investments
Hike Messenger - Future Plans
Hike Messenger - FAQs

Hike Messenger Officially Shuts Down (Latest News)

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

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 Mittal didn’t give a reason for shutting down the service, Mittal tweeted that global network effects are too strong for India to have its own messenger.

Hike Messenger introduces HikeLand

Tencent-backed Hike Messenger has introduced a new offering called HikeLand which is a mobile virtual world where people can participate in many activities. HikeLand allows users to hang out with their friends and watch videos together in a virtual environment. The move has come when sharing experiences via social networks has strengthened due to people staying at homes.

The early preview of HikeLand includes two shared experiences - ‘Home’ and ‘Big Screen’.

It explained that the home screen will be only for the user themselves, more like a private space. In this mode, users can watch YouTube videos and talk about it with another user. There will be eight themes to choose from and the home screen can be customized depending on the likes of the user. No one who is uninvited can enter this room.

Big screen, on the other hand, is unlike Home and is more open. Hike’s Big Screen allows users to watch videos with other people. To start with, Big Screen is currently powered by YouTube and would be running shows 24x7 around comedy, sports, and others. Users that enjoy similar content can be a part of it. While viewing the show/video of choice, users can find out more about others watching the same content through their profiles and even message them.

“With advancements in technology, so much is possible today that wasn’t even just a few years ago. The world has evolved, it’s time for social products as well. With HikeLand, we’re launching the world’s first mobile-first Virtual World. A brand new take on how people can hangout online, transcending beyond the limitations of the offline world”, Hike founder and CEO Kavin Bharti Mittal said.

The company said HikeLand is a homegrown product that has been built from the ground up keeping India in mind.

“It is an India-first product built for a mobile-first/mobile-only audience. Leveraging diversity of art skills and resources, HikeLand also brought together a design team of not only UI (user interface) and UX (user experience) but also fashion, art, and 3D artists”, it added.

Hike Messenger - About

Hike is Indian app and essentially is a cool messaging platform for chatting with funky and killer stickers that came in to innovate the messaging world. Hike, founded in 2012 by Kavin Bharti Mittal, was the first messaging and social technology company made in India. Some of the features of Hike are:

  1. Two-way option: This option on Hike enables the users to add or accept the contacts before messaging and also the application has security measures that allow the users to prevent messages from strangers.
  2. Offline messages: The users can receive message notifications even when the mobile data is disabled.
  3. Free SMS: Hike messenger allows its users to send free SMS to any given number.
  4. Theme based interface: The whole idea of Hike is having conversations using some interesting graphic mediums like reaction stickers etc.

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Hike Messenger - Founder

Kavin Bharti Mittal is the founder and CEO of Indian instant messaging app Hike, and also the son of business tycoon Bharti Mittal.

Founder/Owner Hike
Kavin Bharti Mittal Founder & CEO, Hike

Before he started his venture, he was studying Electronics and Electrical Engineering at the University of New York and then went on to Imperial College in London to study further.

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Hike Messenger - How it started | History

All of this was based on a basic insight to make the messaging module a little bit more interesting. And right when the world was busy chatting on Whatsapp & Facebook, Kavin, owner of the hike app, thought of coming up with a trendy and cool way of messaging. And that’s how Hike was launched on 12-12-12. And it’d intrigue you to know that this application was made available in more than 100 countries ever since its launch.

Hike Messenger - User Acquisition

Operating in multiple countries can be a tedious task but Hike kept the users glued to the app using multiple marketing methods.

Following that, in August 2013, Hike launched its first-ever digital campaign which ran under the banner “keep your friends close”. The advertisement was a big hit and the users took it very well. Kavin knew that the key to any successful business is customer satisfaction. Hence the team started taking in real-time feedback from the users for further and better development of the product.

What also worked well for Hike was their tie-up with Airtel. They ran a scheme that if the user had an Airtel postpaid connection in India, they would be given free data for three months for using Hike Messenger. This campaign gave Hike the needed hike in their consumer base.

Hike also tied up with various brands like Dominos, CCD, Pizza Hut for discount coupons. This intrigued the actual customers and brought potential customers on board. With all these creative marketing strategies, Hike gained a base of 15 million loyal customers in just one year of inception.

Hike Messenger - Competitors

Hike Messenger competes with messaging platforms like WhatsApp, WeChat, Signal, Viber, and Telegram. All these platforms have a great market standing and each has its own set of user bases. Though Hike provides a unique kind of interface, it still faces cut-throat competition from these platforms.

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Hike Messenger - Funding and Investors

Hike has raised a total of $261M in funding over 6 rounds. Their latest funding was raised on Aug 24, 2021 from a Venture round led by Justin Mateen and Sean Rad. The round further saw participation from Kunal Shah, Binny Bansal, Softbank Vision Fund CEO Rajeev Mishra and others. Hike hasn't disclosed the amount yet.

The recent funds, according to the company, will be utilized to hire skilled employees across a wide range of sectors in order to improve the product strategy of Hike.

Date Stage Amount Investors
August 24 2021 Venture Round - Sean Rad, Justin Mateen
August 16, 2016 Series D $175M Foxconn Technology Group, Tencent Holdings
January 11, 2016 Venture Round - -
August 26, 2014 Series C $65M Tiger Global Management
March 31, 2014 Series B $14M Bharti Soft Bank
April 25, 2013 Series A $7M Bharti Soft Bank

Hike was launched in 2012 and soon after in the next year they raised $7 million from Bharti SoftBank. And this funding went straight into launching the most popular USP of the app - STICKERS to increase their customer engagement. In March 2014, Hike raised $14 Million from Bharti SoftBank and putting this money into more innovative features on the application, soon Hike crossed the 20 Million user mark. In August 2014, Hike again raised $65 Million from Tiger Global.

In January 2016, Hike raised an undisclosed amount in a venture round. Again, in August 2016, Hike raised around $175 million led by Tencent and Foxconn Technology Group in a Series D round. With this latest round of funding the startup was valued at $1.4 billion and achieved the “unicorn” status.

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Hike 4.0 launched on 26 August 2015 with the tagline 'Got a Gang? Get on Hike'

Hike Logo

Hike ran a full fledged marketing and brand campaign across TV, radio, and Cinemas. The tagline for one of their TV ad was “Hike up your life” to convince youth to download the Hike app.

Hike Messenger - Growth

  • In just one year of its launch, Hike was rated #1 App on Android Playstore, iOS Appstore, and Windows Store and had a customer base of 15 million.
  • In 7 years, more than 35 million user base out of which 60% of the base is in India and the rest is in Germany, the Middle East and other countries around the globe.

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Hike Messenger - Acquisitions and Investments

Hike has acquired 3 organizations - CREO, InstaLively, and Thought Mechanics.

Their most recent acquisition was CREO on Aug 11, 2017. CREO is on a mission to build software that empowers every device to deliver new experiences every month. Thought Mechanics is a web development company acquired by Hike in January 2015. InstaLively helps broadcast your event Live in just a single click. Hike acquired InstaLively in June 2017.

Acquired Date
January 2015 Thought Mechanics
June 2017 InstaLively
August 2017 CREO

Hike has invested in WinZO on Feb 22, 2019. This investment - Series A - WinZO - was valued at $5M.

Hike Messenger - Future Plans

Hike has officially called its social messenger to quits earlier in 2021 and has not been very active since then. However, the exponential growth that online gaming and the Crypto industry has witnessed has attracted the company, which is now looking to expand on those lines.

Hike has already forayed into the gaming industry by launching a social app, Vibe and Rush, an online gaming app.  The company is now looking to start its journey with cryptocurrency by offering crypto operations and services.

Hike Messenger - FAQs

What is Hike's origin country?

Hike is a messaging app originated in India and founded by Kavin Bharti Mittal.

Is Hike a Chinese app?

No, Hike is an Indian app.

Who is Hike Indian messenger app founder?

Kavin Bharti Mittal is the founder and CEO of Indian instant messaging app Hike, and also the son of business tycoon Bharti Mittal.

Who are the Hike investors?

Hike is mainly funded by investors Foxconn Technology Group, Tencent Holdings, Tiger Global Management, and Bharti Soft Bank.

What is Hike Timeline?

Timeline is an awesome hike feature where you can post photos and status updates.

What is Hike Rewards?

  1. Hike Rewards helps you expand your network on Hike. Invite your friends using exclusive invites offered by Hike and earn rewards by sending and receiving stickers to your friends.
  2. Earn points and redeem them for exclusive rewards and recharges.

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