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Instant messaging app Hike is officially shutting down



hike Messenger

Hike Sticker Chat, the instant messaging app formerly known as Hike Messenger is shutdown and removed from the app stores.

Kavin Bharti Mittal, the CEO of Hike announced the news on his Twitter handle that the company will now focus on gaming and social networking applications.

Rise of a star

The startup was founded by Kavin Bharti Mittal in 2012. He is the son of Sunil Bharti Mittal, CEO and founder of telecom giant Airtel. Initially, Hike didn’t find it difficult to raise funds and grow its user base.

By 2016, the platform had amassed over 100 million (10 crore) users and had become the 10th unicorn from India.

Over the years, it has raised over $261 million (₹1,909 crore) in funding from marquee investors including SoftBank, Tiger Global, Tencent, Foxconn, and Bharti.

Hike became very popular with its sticker feature, and once accounted for 30% of the sticker usage traffic in India. It was the first social messaging app to enable mobile payment services in India. This was part of its plan to become a Super App akin to what WeChat accomplished in China.

Also read: Facebook India’s profit doubles in FY20 as net revenue grew 43%

Fall of the Super App

The plan to become an all-in-one app didn’t go well for the company, and in 2019 it launched a specialized app for content called Hike News & Content.

The standalone messaging app was called Hike Sticker Chat, which used AI and Machine Learning to predict custom stickers for different situations and moods. In 2020, it introduced a dating and socializing app Vibe, and a gaming app called Rush.

Hike’s instant messaging application has not been able to fend off the overbearing presence of Facebook’s WhatsApp, which has more than 400 million (40 crore) users in India.

Unlike how the founder predicted, India didn’t have two leading messaging app, as WhatsApp became ubiquitous in online messaging. Except the recent launch of other messaging apps, following the backlash against the new privacy policy, WhatsApp is yet to face any major competitor

The only other app which comes even close to become one is Facebook’s own Messenger.

In the Twitter statement, Kavin also informed that existing users will be able to download all their data from the app, and HikeMoji will be available for use in Vibe and Rush.

Also read: WhatsApp introduces Carts, making it easier for users to go shopping

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Google and Snapchat in talks to invest in social media platform ShareChat



ShareChat logo

Google and Snapchat are in advanced stages of talks to invest money in Indian social media startup ShareChat.

It will be a part of the Series E funding round for the Twitter-backed startup. This round is expected to raise $200 million (₹1,462 crore), of which $100 million (₹731 crore) will come from Google. Messaging platform Snapchat is expected to join this round along with ShareChat’s existing investors.

After this round, the multilingual social media platform is expected to be valued at more than $1 billion (₹7,311 crore). Till now, the Bengaluru-based startup has raised $264 million (₹1,930 crore), and was valued at nearly $700 million (₹5,117 crore) last year.

In September 2020, ShareChat had crossed over 160 million (16 crore) monthly active users, who on average spent 31 minutes daily on its platform. Additionally, ShareChat’s short video app Moj has garnered over 80 million (8 crore) users since its launch in June 2020.

Also read: Dailyhunt becomes a unicorn after investment from Google

Moj was available on Google Play Store the same day Tik Tok was banned in India by the Union government. Other large players such as Dailyhunt’s Josh, InMobi’s Roposo and Times Internet’s Taka Tak have tried to fill the gap left by the Chinese giant in the segment.

Recently, Google invested in Dailyhunt and InMobi, and this investment in ShareChat will enable it to dominate in the market across different verticals.

Comparatively, Twitter and Snapchat are yet to become mainstream in the country, and their primary user base is still limited to the youth in large cities. As such, the stake in ShareChat gives them an access to the millions of non-English speaking rural population.

Other details and the official announcement is still awaited from all three firms. Last year, Google was in talks with ShareChat with an acquisition plan, but it did not come through.  

Also read: InMobi raises $145 million from Google

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