Hike logs out as company shifts focus to new apps Rush, Vibe | Mint
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Business News/ Companies / News/  Hike logs out as company shifts focus to new apps Rush, Vibe
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Hike logs out as company shifts focus to new apps Rush, Vibe

Hike users were informed in advance and were given time till 14 January to download and backup their data, according to the company
  • Despite offering multiple features Hike struggled to wean users away from rivals, especially WhatsApp, which currently has over 400 million users in India
  • Hike chief executive Kavin Bharti MittalPremium
    Hike chief executive Kavin Bharti Mittal

    Homegrown instant messaging app Hike Sticker Chat, formerly Hike Messenger, has been officially shut down and was removed from Google Play Store and App Store. Hike users were informed in advance and were given time till 14 January to migrate data, according to the company.

    On 6 January, Hike chief executive Kavin Bharti Mittal announced on Twitter that “we will be sunsetting StickjerChat in Jan’21" and the company will instead focus on two new mobile platforms, Vibe and Rush. Kavin Mittal is Bharti Airtel’s founder and chairman Sunil Mittal’s son.

    Mittal had earlier indicated a shift from a super app to multi-apps strategy.

    Vibe is a social media platform, which has evolved from a section within Hike known as HikeLand. Vibe will be an approval-based community app and users can join it by requesting an invite on Vibe by Hike webpage after entering their phone numbers.

    Rush is a competitive gaming platform offering bite -sized games, such as carrom and ludo, similar to WinZO. The app is available on App Store, while the Android version will soon be on Google Play Store.

    Launched in December 2012, Hike was once regarded as a competition to global messaging platforms, such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Viber. According to news reports, Hike had more than 2 million weekly active users in end-2019. Last March, the daily time spent on the app grew by 33%. The company put a lot of emphasis on artificial intelligence (AI)-generated stickers and was planning to generate revenue from the app in 2020.

    “Stickers is a vanity thing to have in chats. However, it is not something that will expand substantially and explode your user base. It had very good capabilities, but monetizing through stickers was always going to be a challenge in a market like India," said Faisal Kawoosa, founder and chief analyst at techARC.

    Between 2017 and 2018, Hike had filed 66 technology patents. In 2017, the company also introduced a UPI payment-enabled mobile wallet called Hike Wallet.

    In August 2016, the company was reportedly valued at close to $1.4 billion after it raised more than $261 million in capital over five rounds from top tier investors, including SoftBank Group, Tiger Global, Foxconn Technology Group, Tencent Holdings, and Bharti Enterprises. In 2019, Hike, led a $5 million investment with Kalaari as one of the investors in WinZO.

    Despite offering multiple features, Hike struggled to wean users away from rivals, especially WhatsApp, which has more than 400 million users in India.

    “I didn’t see friends, family, colleagues, businesses, or clients on Hike. WhatsApp on the other hand has become a document sharing platform. It has evolved into a customer service platform. The meaning of the whole platform has changed and that in itself is a disadvantage for the likes of Hike, which could not evolve from a destination perspective," said Arnav Gupta, analyst, Forrester Research.

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    ABOUT THE AUTHOR
    Abhijit Ahaskar
    Abhijit writes on tech policy, gaming, security, AI, robotics, electronics and startups. He has been in the media industry for over 12 years.
    Catch all the Corporate news and Updates on Live Mint. Check all the latest action on Budget 2024 here. Download The Mint News App to get Daily Market Updates & Live Business News.
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    Published: 18 Jan 2021, 07:49 PM IST
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