Kavin Bharti Mittal’s Hike Messenger acquired US based voice calling company Zip Phone for an undisclosed amount. Zip Phone was founded by Anuj Jain in the US, is a voice calling app that works globally.
Hike Messenger has over 35 million users and a favourite among the users who are below 25 years making 90% of its user base. The chat application has features which addresses the likes of infrastructural and cultural requirements. For ex: Hike Offline facility offers users to message other person if they are not online.
Another notable feature Hike Messenger offers Regional Stickers helps users express more in their own language. In Hike Messenger you can add up to 100 users in a group for broadcasting messages. User can go to Hidden Mode featured in the app along with maintain Last Seen status on the app.
Hike Messenger uses P2P (Peer to Peer) technology in the app, combination of SMS and data to deliver or receive messages.
On the other hand Zip Phone is a voice calling app that can automatically detect one’s contacts and routes the calls through Wifi or 3G. The company headed by Anuj Jain incubated at Y combinator, Silicon Valley Company.
After acquisitions Kavin Bharti Mittal said “From day one we have strongly believed that through communication, we can bring India online. With the acquisition we take one more step towards that mission. Zip Phone’s technology will allow us to bring free voice calling to the market much faster”.
“As a start up enthusiast, I had been keeping a close eye on Hike and its developments and I am excited to now be a part of one of the biggest and fastest growing startups in the Indian internet space and finally, building for India. “ said Anuj Jain of Zip Phone.
Hike Messenger is directly competing with global players in messaging Facebook owned What’s app messenger, China TenCent’s owned WeChat, Russia’s Telegram and Japanese Line.
GlobalWebIndex conducted a study in India; outcome of it was not surprising to many. What’s App messaging take a cake and has highest number of users followed by another product of Facebook, Facebook Messenger. In Voice Calling space, Skype rules the roost followed by WeChat and Viber. Hike Messenger does not figure in the GlobalWebIndex, which would be challenging for the company.
Earlier text messaging was a major revenue earner for telecom companies. However due to pickup in Instant Messaging, there is revenue loss to telecom companies. The loss figures are fluctuating from 5% to 10% in some quarters.
During end of 2014, Hike Messenger’s parent company, Airtel started charging Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) calls to customers. The decision was reversed after Airtel received flak from users.
Hike Messaging has raised a total of $ 86 million till now. During April, 2013 the company received Series ‘A’ funding of $ 7 million from Bharti SoftBank and further funded second round funding of Series ‘B’ for $ 14 million in March 2014. They received Series ‘C’ funding from BSB and Tiger Global Management of US.
It would be interesting to see Hike Messenger will be competing with the parent’s Airtel Messenger Services. Instant Messaging Services segment is witnessing lot of high drama. After acquisition of What’s App by Facebook for $19 billion, Rakuten of Japan acquired Viber for $900 million and Google is planning to launch their messaging services.