Once the topper of Android and iOS’ free apps’ list, Hike app is off the google play store and Apple’s App Store.
The sad end to India’s homegrown unicorn’s journey came at a time when users are looking for a better alternative for WhatsApp, after its privacy upgrade backlash.
“Today we’re announcing that we will be sunsetting StickerChat in Jan’21. We thank you all for giving us your trust. We wouldn’t be here without you. All your data will be available to download in the app,” Mittal tweeted.
Hike was founded by Kavin Bharti Mittal, son of Sunil Bharti Mittal, chairman of Bharti Airtel Ltd., on December 12, 2012. After its launch, the app gained immense popularity. The app had close to 100 million registered users by August 2016 and supported several regional languages.
Valuation and becoming a Unicorn
Hike saw its valuation soaring as high as $1.4 billion in 2016.
The startup entered the prestigious Unicorn club within four years of inception in 2016. Hike has been the tenth Indian start-up to be valued at over $1 billion back then after it raised over $261 million from top-tier investors, including SoftBank, Tiger Global, and Tencent, Foxconn, and Bharti.
Throughout its journey, Hike has presented many offerings to its user-base including news, games, chat stickers, offline chat, and even payments.
- hidden chat option
- free chat option
- Hike Wallet- to send and receive money in the easiest manner
Star of the brand- Hike’s Blue Pockets
A beautifully designed envelope that users can insert money into and send to their friends. One had the privilege to choose from over 10 different beautifully crafted envelopes and can also add a personalized message to it to celebrate those special occasions. A Blue Packet can be sent to an individual or even a group of friends.
If you give Blue Packets to a group of your friends, you can have a little fun and select how many people in the group should get it. It works on a first come first serve basis and a Blue Packet when sent expires in 24 hours.
The ‘down’ curve in the journey
Grabbing US$175 million infusion from Foxconn and Tencent in 2016, the brand couldn’t stand against the growing popularity of Facebook-owned WhatsApp in the Indian market. While India becomes the largest market for WhatsApp, Hike saw its user base falling tremendously – with having 2 million monthly active users in December 2019.
Road Ahead: new launches under the brand Hike
While the closure reason still stays unclear; CEO Kavin Mittal launched Hike new products for 2021 – Rush and Vibe (earlier known as HikeLand).
Rush will be a bite-sized gaming platform that will have games like carrom and ludo, whereas HikeLand has been upgraded to Vibe that is now an approval only community platform, that means users will have to apply to join the service.
Let’s watch out the fresh start of the indigenous brand Hike via two new spaces.