Messaging app Hike Messenger, developed by the Kavin Bharti Mittal-led Hike Ltd., has raised $175 million (approximately Rs 11.7 thousand crore) at an estimated valuation of $1.4 billion (approximately Rs 93.6 thousand crore). TechCrunch reported that the Series-D round of funding was led by Chinese technology giant Tencent Holdings Limited, with Foxconn Technology Group, Tiger Global, Bharti and SoftBank Corp. also taking part in the round.
While the messaging service has not yet disclosed the number of monthly active users who engage with its app, Mittal said the new financing would be used to expand the company’s 250-member strong team, improve product services and possibly explore acquisitions in the burgeoning artificial intelligence sector. “We have been tinkering with some stuff but now we can double down,” he added. Hike’s biggest rival in India is the Facebook-owned WhatsApp Messenger, which has about 100 million users in India.
The company, which has raised $250 million (approximately Rs 16.7 thousand crore) till date is the tenth Indian start-up to achieve ‘unicorn’ status (a ‘unicorn’ is a start-up with a valuation of more than $1 billion). Other Indian companies to have achieved this include e-commerce platform Flipkart Ltd, mobile payments company Paytm and taxi aggregator Ola.