Hike Messenger, India’s homegrown messaging platform and the largest Indian internet company by users, has raised a Series D financing of over USD 175 Million in a new funding round led by Tencent Holdings Limited and Foxconn Technology Group valuing the company close to USD 1.4 Billion.
Existing investors Tiger, Bharti and the SoftBank Group also participated in this round. This is the fourth venture capital round and the biggest to date for Hike, taking the total investment to over USD 250 Million so far.
Moving forward and taking a lead from this investment, Hike is set to focus towards generating innovation around Artificial Intelligence, Virtual reality and Augmented Reality and deliver unique experiences to its customers in India.
Talking about Tencent’s investment in Hike, Tencent President Martin Lau said, “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.”
Talking about Foxconn’s investment in Hike, FIH Mobile CEO, Calvin Chih, said, “Messaging platforms are where consumers and their social networks reside and represent significant investment potential, particularly in a market like India, where most people will access the internet for the first time on their mobile phones. As a leading provider of mobiles technology and Internet of Things solutions, FIH Mobile understands the value that mobile platforms, such as Hike Messenger, bring to our business portfolio and our strategy for delivering cutting-edge products and solutions that meet the needs of our customers and consumers, enabling us to achieve sustainable business growth. Hike with its hyperlocal strategy is clearly the company of choice for us to co-invest with our partners, SoftBank and Tencent.”
Masayoshi Son, Founder, Chairman and CEO, SoftBank Group, the longest standing investor in Hike said, “Hike is one of SoftBank’s best performing portfolio companies in India and we are happy to have stayed invested in it from the beginning. The team has reached an outstanding scale in a short span of 3.5 years. As an investor, we share their vision and are happy that they are moving ahead in their journey so quickly in a competitive environment.”
Speaking on the occasion, Founder and CEO, Hike Messenger, Kavin Bharti Mittal said, “I’m thrilled to announce this new milestone in our journey. 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. 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”.
Kavin further added, “I’m also equally excited to have our existing shareholders Tiger, SoftBank and Bharti follow in this round who continue to show strong support in our long term vision. I must say it’s an incredibly exciting time to be at Hike. Not only do we get to wake up every morning everyday knowing that our work will impact millions of people, we now also have two incredible new partners to do that with, as we further our mission to bring India online.”
Hike also has a roster of some of the most prominent people in the technology space as angel investors such as Adam D’Angelo, Founder and CEO, Quora; Aditya Agarwal, Vice President Engineering, Dropbox; Ruchi Sanghvi, erstwhile Vice President, Operations, Dropbox and Matt Mullenweg, Founder and CEO of Automattic Inc. and Co-Founder, WordPress.
In January 2016, Hike had announced that it has a user base of a 100 million users. 95% of Hike users are based in India and 90% of them are young and below the age of 30. Hike users, on an average, exchange 40 Billion messages per month and spend 120 min. per user per week on the platform. Hike has been built for these young consumers around 3 key pillars:
1. Local Expressive Content that includes Hike’s very popular 10,000+ stickers available in 40 languages, themes and multi-lingual user interface. The availability of the Platform adds to this piece as it makes relevant local content available for customers to enjoy and share with their network of friends. The Platform includes News in English and Hindi, Games (Beta) on Hike, Live Cricket, Coupons, Just for Laughs and Hike Daily.
2. Emphasis on Privacy that includes the innovative feature Hidden Mode that hides chats quickly and elegantly and Favorites so customers can choose who sees last seen, display pictures and status updates.
3. Data Constraints. Features such as Hike2SMS and Hike Direct are built for India. Hike2SMS helps send free SMS when there is no internet connectivity and Hike Direct helps share files without the use of internet.