Kavin Mittal: Hike Put India On The Social Media Map

Social media is a platform dominated by various countries. The most prominent ones are based out of the United States, with China at second. However, we’ve seen a thing or two from the Indian sub-continent as well. Hike is the most popular one amongst the few Indian startups that have left a dent on the social media circuit. The Hike messaging is and Indian app and was developed by Kavin Bharti Mittal.

Quick Facts

Name Kavin Bharti Mittal
Born August 31, 1987
Age 32
Education University of York, Imperial College London
Occupation Founder and CEO of Hike Messenger

Family Background

Kavin Bharti Mittal is the son of Bharti Mittal, one of the richest Indians. Kavin charted out his own path despite solid business background. He grew up in a family where business was omnipresent.

Kavin found it much easy to set foot in the startup circuit when compared to his father due technological advancements (internet, etc.). Moreover, entrepreneurship has undergone drastic changes after the nineties.

Entrepreneurial Ambitions

Apps, both mobile and web, are the basis for several ventures today. The introduction of the iPhone paved way for development of new segments hitherto unknown. Kavin Mittal picked up the basics of entrepreneurship from his dad. The father-son relationship was also a mentor-mentee relationship that helped groom the lad in various ways.

Kavin witnessed the launch of applications like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube while in college. These platforms and the digital world in general—inspired Kavin to launch his first venture, Appspark. He saw an iPhone during his internship at Google in New York and was in awe of the device’s potential to change lives of people. Apple’s App Store was still in infancy, and Kavin thought of launching one idea every month, thereby creation and launch of eight apps on the App Store in eight months. This dream remained elusive as Kavin witnessed the hurdles transforming an idea from a figment of imagination to reality. After eight months of struggle, Kavin created his first app, Movies Now. It was the first-ever movie reservation app on the App Store. It allowed users to stream trailers both in HD and SD prints. Since the number of competing apps was negligible, Movies Now never received real competition.

The introduction of the iPad saw Movies Now improvise and get enhanced. It functioned much better than the earlier versions. While Movies Now was popular, it wasn’t an actual money spinner. Kavin had to think of another way to prove himself as a successful entrepreneur.

Also Read: Top Entrepreneurs in India

Kavin Mittal"s Hike Messenger

After returning to India, Kavin was living a normal life in New Delhi, the nation’s capital. He saw majority of the people in Delhi own the iconic Nokia 1100, the phone which set the ball rolling for the technology revolution in India. However, the phone had its limitations since it could only send SMS and be used for normal calls. Internet access was impossible. This limitation spurred Kavin’s willingness to bring Indians and internet closer, and inspired him to create a messaging platform—Hike. His team received funds worth $7 million from Bharti SoftBank, a collaboration between Bharti Enterprises and SoftBank, a Japanese telecom company.

After a series of developments, Hike was officially launched in the year 2012. Within two years, Hike Messenger became the most downloaded application on the App Store (in India) and the Play Store(in India).

Kavin’s smartness and strategy had a major hand to play in this achievement. After launching the app, he introduced the concept of “stickers”. This concept was recently implemented by WhatsApp—another messaging platform. The stickers in Hike were catchy and innovative, and attracted the youth. Thus, these stickers were imperative for surge in Hike’s popularity. While the platform was gaining prominence throughout India, Hike tied-up with Airtel and launched a policy in which if a user had an Airtel postpaid connection, the service provider gave free mobile data for 3 months to use Hike.

To keep up with the trend, Hike also launched unique two-way chat themes that were liked by many Hike users and attracted several new customers. This proved to be a master strategy since the company got a solid 15 million users strong base by the end of its first year. Hike gave stiff competition to other messaging apps like WhatsApp.

Also Read: Brian Acton: Connecting People Through WhatsApp

Success Mantras

  • According to Kavin, an entrepreneur must have a clear idea about their field of work. They need to decide between offline and online space. Finalizing the idea of the startup is one of the most important aspects for creating a business, Kavin mentions.
  • Failures and mistakes accompany growth. Learning from mistakes is the most important quality an entrepreneur should possess. As errors are an inevitable part of business, one should be ready to withstand them and grow as a leader.
  • Another important mantra is to strive to achieve one’s goals. Despite failures, an entrepreneur should work on improvement and not stop until the target is achieved.
  • The fourth mantra of success according to Kavin is passion. No one can become successful without having a passion about something. That’s the key to making it big.
  • The fifth of his mantras is patience. Patience has taken successful entrepreneurs to unfathomable levels of prosperity. Success is never achieved overnight; one has to wait for the right moment and work tirelessly to achieve fame.
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About Rishabh Rathi

I am a computer science student and freelancer. I love learning new things and challenging myself.
  • Nagpur