Tencent-backed Hike, once India’s answer to WhatsApp, has given up on messaging – TechCrunch

India’s response to WhatsApp has gone completely messaging.

Hike Messenger, Supported by Tencent, Tiger Global and Softbank And was valued at $ 1.4 billion in 2016, having announced earlier this month that it was discontinuing its messaging app Sticker Chat.

The startup, founded by Kavita Bharti Mittal, has introduced two virtual social apps called Vibe and Rush this month, said Mittal, who is the son of Sunil Bharti Mittal, president of telecom giant Airtel.

In a series of tweets earlier this month, Kavin said that India would never have a domestic messenger that encroaches into the world’s second largest market unless it prohibits Western companies from operating in the nation . “Global network effects are very strong,” he said. Whatsapp More than 450 million users In India, it has the largest market by users.

Mittal described the opportunities for creating virtual worlds as “a much better approach to today’s world that is unrestricted without cheap, fast data, and powerful smartphones.”

In recent years, Hike placed bets on stickers and emojis to cater to the young population in India. In a meeting with TechCrunch in late 2019, Mittal said the startup was overwhelmed with engagement stickers on its platform and was working to automate the development of personalized stickers.

In a separate meeting last year, Mittal demonstrated a replica of human expressions and a virtual hangout place called Hikaland. Mittal said the vibe is a rebranded version of Hikland and the developed AMOSIS Hike will be available to users on both new apps.

Hike, which has raised more than $ 260 million so far, had a substantial runway last year, said Mittal, who indicated that the startup could raise more capital after one year.

Hike also attempted to create its own operating system through the acquisition of a startup called Creo. In 2018, Hike launched Total OS which aims to cater to users with low-cost Android smartphones and slow Internet data.

The startup later closed the project. Mittal told TechCrunch that the arrival of Reliance Jio, which prompted Airtel and Vodafone to reduce mobile data tariffs on their networks, solved data issues in the country and the total OS was no longer needed in the market.