Kavin Bharti Mittal, founder and CEO of Hike, said the messaging app acquired a user base of 100 million in 2016 and his focus currently is on the large Indian market, in particular the younger generation. Also Read - Today’s Tech News: OnePlus Band launched, Samsung Galaxy S20 price cut
“If you look at the journey of Hike from day one, we’ve gone from a simple messaging app to a full social transactional platform today. It is one stop sort of gateway where people can come and do much more than messaging with their friends,” Mittal, who was in the US recently to attend the Harvard India Conference in Boston, told PTI. Also Read - Hike reports 33% surge in daily time spent on its platform
“We focus most of our attention on youth because the market itself in India is very, very large,” he said.
“The question that we’re asking ourselves is that in 3-4 years from now where the market will be and what are the opportunities?” he said.
Mittal said Hike is now looking at the billion plus people of India beyond the 200 million Internet users.
“Hike has always been targeting the mass market,” he said as such the company has developed tools to simplify the first-time users of mobile on Internet.
As such Hike has now launched for the next billion users “Total”, which he described as “our version” of android.
“We have simplified the 15-20 steps experience for someone coming online into three or four steps. We just took all the incredible stuff that we put into Hike, messaging all the content, all the transactional services, recharge, UPI, all unbundled into the phone. We have put deeply at the OS pretty embedded, so when someone buys a device that has Total on it, you have all these services ready to go with the single sign on with phone number and all of that works without data,” he said.
“So, the first-time experience for someone buying a smartphone becomes very, very seamless and easy. All the basic services like news, astrology, cricket scores, recharge, messaging, all of that stuff one can work without data. But as one wants to do richer services on the platform, like send a photo, watching video, data is sold at as low as one rupee,” he said.
Most of the Hike’s 100 million users are in India. In December, Hike announced that it is doing 10 million transactions on its platform.
“We are seeing us evolved into a big transactional platform,” he said, adding that Hike is also launching taxi booking and movie ticketing.
“We have gone from social, to content and now to transactions,” he said.
Hike, he said has taken a “very different” tune in 2018.
“We have gotten to a place where we realise that the market is so different, it is not the US, it is not even China and that there are massive opportunities to build products, evolve social products into a place where they become this dream that we’ve always had of a social content transactional platform,” he said.
“We moved away from the simple messaging game a long time back and we’ve always believed in a market like India, there’s room for two players, one that’s doing simple super messenger, which is to just like SMS replacement and one is in a slightly more niche product that actually does much more of the messaging in a market like India,” he said