"Hike deeply understands India; a highly diverse market with many nuances"
Indian messaging startup, Hike Messenger has raised more than $175 million in a funding round. The investors of the app are Tencent Holdings Limited and Foxconn Technology Group.
Tencent, the company that developed messaging with WeChat made a huge investment which has taken Hike to $250 million.
Existing investors including Tiger Global, Bharti and SoftBank also gave funding.
CEO Kavin Bharti Mittal confirmed to TechCrunch that the Series D round values the company at nearly $1.4 billion.
Martin Lau, President of Tencent proudly stated:
“Hike deeply understands India; a highly diverse market with many nuances. It is on a mission synergistic to ours, which is to enhance the quality of human life through internet services. With our investment, Hike will be able to leverage our deep domain expertise in the messaging platform space to provide more value to its users in India,”
Hike has smartly tailored the app to the Indian market, focusing on what will appeal to young Indians.
The four-year-old messaging app has portrayed a cool and fun image with its marketing and advertising campaign.
The app allows young users to avoid nosey parents and relatives, which is known to happen in India!
The user is able to hide status updates, offer stickers and virtual cartoons, which users can use to communicate with one another in local languages.
A Hike user can also use the app offline and send text messages, which are features designed for those who can only buy limited data. This feature is useful as well as popular in India because of poor Internet connection.
A spokeswoman at Tencent said:
“This minority investment helps us understand more about the market in India, which is one of the world’s fastest-growing markets in terms of mobile Internet users.”
Kavin Bharti Mittal, son of Sunil Bharti and founder of Bharti Enterprises announced:
“The new fund raise is going to allow us to push Hike to greater heights and invest in areas that will be key to our long term vision and success,” said Kavin Bharti Mittal, founder and chief executive of Hike.
Mr Mittal further added that the app which launched in December 2012, will use the fund to “invest in services, people, and more office space.”
Hike received its last investment of $65 million in August 2014. The funding was from Bharti SoftBank and Tiger Global Management.
Currently in India, WhatsApp which is owned by Facebook is the dominant messaging app. The app has more than 100 million active users in the country, making it market leader in India.
However, an announcement by Hike earlier revealed that it has over 100 million registered users. This may mean serious competition for WhatsApp!