Instant messaging application Hike raised $175 million (₹1,200 crore) from China’s Tencent and Taiwanese firm Foxconn, marking one of the biggest transactions in the Indian startup industry this year. Its existing investors, Tiger Global, Bharti Enterprises and SoftBank Group, also participated in the round of funding. This takes the valuation of the company to $1.4 billion, making Hike the tenth unicorn—a startup valued at $1 billion—in India. Till now, Hike has raised $250 million.
Hike is taking on WhatsApp in India, which hosts one of the largest messaging markets globally. Till now, chat and messaging is largely dominated by Facebook (FB Messenger), which also owns WhatsApp, which has nearly 100 million active users in the country.
Kavin Bharti Mittal, founder and chief executive of Hike Messenger said, “WeChat did not take off. I think we understand the need to be very local in terms of how to operate; we understand the local nuances.”
Hike Messenger, which has over 100 million users, of which more than 90% are Indian, will use the money to expand its presence in the markets, hire more employees and improve its product.