Hike Doesn’t Compete With Whatsapp and FB Messenger: Kavin Bharti Mittal
Hike is India’s first homegrown messaging app and the second most used application in the voice calling and instant messaging space in India, after WhatsApp, according to one report. Hike Messenger’s founder and CEO, Kavin Bharti Mittal spoke to BloombergQuint about what sets Hike apart from its competitors.
Kavin launched Hike Messenger on December 12, 2012 and says the app now has 100 million users, and sees close to 40 billion messages exchanged on its platform every month. In India, Hike competes with messaging applications such as Facebook-owned WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Line, WeChat and Viber. According to a recent report by Morgan Stanley, “WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are the largest instant messaging services in India followed by Hike.”
According to the 2015 edition of the Ericsson Consumer Lab Report on Communication in the World of Apps, Hike is the second most used application in the voice calling and instant messaging space in India.
Since its inception, Hike has secured investments from Bharti Airtel, SoftBank, Tiger Global and some of Silicon Valley’s top tech experts. In April 2013, Bharti Airtel and Softbank invested $7 million and then, in March 2014, they invested double that amount, bringing their total investment in Hike to $21 million. Later that year in August, Hike raised $65 million from Tiger Global. Some individual investors include Adam D’Angelo, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Quora, Aditya Agarwal and Ruchi Sanghvi of Dropbox, and Matt Mullenweg, Co-Founder of WordPress.
The Net Neutrality Debate: Hike vs Airtel?
Over the last few years, the net neutrality debate between cellular operators and internet companies has been raging across India and the world. Kavin runs one of India’s fastest growing internet companies and his father, Sunil Bharti Mittal, happens to be the Chairman of Airtel, India’s largest telecom company. That puts Kavin in a novel situation, when it comes to net neutrality. In the second half of this conversation, Kavin explains his take on net neutrality and also answers the million-dollar question– how does Hike make any money?