Info-tech

Hike raises $175 million from Tencent, Foxconn

S Ronendra Singh New Delhi | Updated on January 17, 2018 Published on August 16, 2016

Kavin Bharti Mittal, Founder and CEO Hike Messenger   -  Kamal Narang

Homegrown messaging services app’s valuation reaches $1.5 billion

Kavin Bharti Mittal’s Hike Messenger on Tuesday announced that it had raised series D financing of over $175 million (around ₹1,100 crore) in a funding round led by Tencent Holdings and Foxconn Technology Group.

This is the fourth venture capital round and the biggest to date for Hike, taking the total investment to over $250 million so far, it said.

This has led to the company being valued at close to $1.5 billion (around ₹10,000 crore).

Existing investors Tiger, Bharti and the SoftBank Group also participated in the latest round, the company said.

What is interesting is that the fund raising comes at a time when many start-ups in the country are struggling to attract investor interest to expand their businesses.

Investor confidence

Experts and analysts say Hike has been able to do so because of the investor confidence it has generated.

Launched in December 2012, Hike received around $21 million in funding from Bharti SoftBank in 2013-14. In August 2014 it attracted investments to the tune of $65 million from a consortium led by Tiger Global.

“The new fund-raise is going to allow us to push Hike to greater heights and invest in areas that will be a key to our long-term vision and success,” said Mittal, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the company. The home-grown messaging app services provider is one of the fastest-growing messenger services after WhatsApp. Hike has more than 100 million users and 40 billion messages per month.

Ninety-five per cent of its users are based in India and 90 per cent of them are below the age of 30.

On an average, Hike users spend 120 minutes per week on the platform, the company said, adding that some of the key elements of the app were the 10,000+ stickers available in 40 languages, its themes and its multi-lingual user interface.

The platform also includes News in English and Hindi, Games, Live Cricket, Coupons, Just for Laughs and Hike Daily. The emphasis on ‘privacy’, especially a mode that enables a user to hide chats quickly, has also made Hike popular.

Features such as Hike2SMS and Hike Direct are built for India.

While Hike2SMS helps send free SMSes when there is no internet connectivity, the Hike Direct helps share files without the use of the internet.

“Tencent and Foxconn both have pedigrees that speak for themselves and such an investment, especially in today’s market, just goes to show the strong foundation on which Hike is being built,” said Mittal.

Published on August 16, 2016
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