Messaging start-up Hike denies buyout talks with Creo

Hike is launching a video calling feature for Android smartphones this week and for iOS next month, founder and CEO Kavin Bharti Mittal said


In August, Hike, which runs the messaging app Hike Messenger, said that it had joined the billion-dollar valuation club by raising $175 million largely from Chinese Internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd and Foxconn Technology Group of Taiwan.
In August, Hike, which runs the messaging app Hike Messenger, said that it had joined the billion-dollar valuation club by raising $175 million largely from Chinese Internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd and Foxconn Technology Group of Taiwan.

Bengaluru: Hike, which runs the messaging app Hike Messenger, has denied that the start-up is in buyout talks with Bangalore-based Creo, maker of the media streaming device Teewe.

On Wednesday, news website The Ken reported that Bangalore-based Creo is in the final stages of being acquired by Hike, citing multiple unnamed people.

“I’m an investor in (Creo). I’m the one who seeded the company in the first place. We’re not acquiring them,” Hike’s founder and chief executive Kavin Bharti Mittal said.

“But, as Hike, we talk to 10-15 companies every month because we’re looking to expand our teams and I’ve been mentoring and guiding Creo for the last three years. So, there’s nothing to it. And if we do acquire them, then you guys will know about it. We’ll make noise about it and want people to know. But nothing so far,” said Mittal in an interview on the sidelines of the Nasscom Product Conclave in Bangalore.

Hike is launching a video calling feature for Android smartphones this week and for iOS next month, Mittal said.

“We really believe that to bring India online through messaging, sight and sound is key. And as a result of that, today we launched video calling on Hike. Rolling out on Android this week, iOS next month,” Mittal said.

In August, Hike, which runs the messaging app Hike Messenger, said that it had joined the billion-dollar valuation club by raising $175 million largely from Chinese Internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd and Foxconn Technology Group of Taiwan. With the fund-raise, Hike became the 10th Indian start-up to hit a valuation of at least $1 billion.

“We will not start trying to make money until 2018. It takes one and a half years to figure out what works in the application and we’ll start making meaningful money by 2020 which is why we raised so much money.” said Mittal, adding that Hike is not looking to raise any more funds for another three years.

“Three years is a long time and gives us enough time to make things happen. In three years, the company has to be in a much better shape and we have to understand completely what works in this market,” he added.

Hike is also planning to make the size of its current smartphone app much larger than the current version and is betting big on the next wave of 4G, as the entry of players like Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd is expected to accelerate consumer migration towards 4G plans.

“We are actually making the app bigger. Eventually data is going to become cheaper and consumers in the middle are going to graduate upwards. Our belief is if the value is incredible, people will spend an extra 5-10MBs downloading the app,” said Mittal. “4G is going to become very big next year. The next big bet we’re making is 50-100 million 4G customers.”

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