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Hike Messaging App – Interview with Kavin Bharti Mittal, the man behind the show

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From the utility of your month expenses to the whimsy of organizing the next office event round, it seems like there is an app for just about everything. But in the minds of the most adventurous app developers, this is just the first generation of technologies that we will wonder how we ever lived without.

When most people think of mobile app development, the first apps that come to mind are usually productivity apps such as Dropbox, Mail, and Evernote, games such as Angry Birds, Cut the rope, and Doodle Jump, or social apps like Facebook, TweetDeck, and Foursquare. All of these apps are constructed to slip into the cracks of our busy lifestyles, aiding us in some form or fashion. Catching up on Facebook while in line at KFC. Entertainment while waiting for a friend to arrive. Checking in to a restaurant while walking through the door. Although mobile apps like these are becoming more and more integrated into our everyday lives, there is still an entire sea of uncharted waters left to explore.

As technological innovations such as location based services, augmented reality, the accelerometer, etc. open new doors daily, apps are slowly starting to reach out and take advantage of all these new features and create truly unique experiences. Recently one of my friends referred me to download this app called hike, a free messaging tool. “I already use WhatsApp, why should I download this?” I asked her, and to my surprise, I instantly received a SMS from her saying “coz it gives you free messaging!” And believe me, without wasting a second more, I downloaded the app. However, it took me few days to realize the benefits of the app, when I could send my friends (who didn’t had smart phones) free SMS right from my mobile, and now it’s on my list of “most frequently used app.”

hike - Homepage

It was a pleasure to interview Kavin Bharti Mittal, the idea hero behind hike, and its upcoming success.

How would you introduce hike?

Hike Apphike is a cross platform messenger that aims to make communication simple and personal again. With a beautiful user experience and emotional emoticons, there hasn’t been a better and more simple way to express yourself to all your friends. With hike you can message all your friends. hike to hike is free globally and one can also message friends who don’t have the app installed for free, as making SMS messaging pretty seamless.

How was the idea conceptualized and developed? Any specific inspiration?

In India, given the low penetration of data enabled smartphones, there is fragmentation in messaging. Mobile users have 4-5 apps that keep them in touch with their friends. Over time this becomes very tedious to manage. We asked ourselves is there an app that combines the real-time, free nature of IM with the openness and ubiquity of SMS? We couldn’t find one so we built hike.

How is the feedback that you are receiving about the app’s growth in the market?

The feedback has been amazing. We’re seeing great number users come onto hike on all platforms including the S40 app we just recently launched.

Five years before AppSpark, did you know you would go with the stream of online enterprise?

Five years before AppSpark, I think I was just about to enter high school. I’m a big F1 fan and I won’t be surprised if back then I wanted to be involved in F1 in some way. Short answer is no.

WhatsApp has taken the market by the storm, how do you think that hike will bring a change in the scenario?

IM market globally is a very fragmented market. We have WhatsApp, WeChat, Kik, Line, KakaoTalk and each have between 50-150M users. As a matter of fact half of the overall smartphone users still don’t really use a messaging app like so. There are big players but the market is still early.

You are a young entrepreneur, how has the journey been so far? Any ups and down you came across?

Being an entrepreneur one always has ups and downs. There are days when sky is the limit and others when you’re up till 6 AM figuring out what went wrong with your servers. It’s been a fantastic journey. One of great learning. I’ve learnt more in these last 3-4 years than I have in my entire life.

You were all set in UK, how did starting a venture in India comes up as a thought?

India is a big market. The potential of building something that could impact 1B people that access the internet from a mobile device was too exciting of an opportunity to pass up on. That said, if it wasn’t for AppSpark, I don’t think I would’ve been in a position to run BSB.

According to you, what has made the investment worth it?

It’s still early days. Ask me that question in a year.

What were the risks as a starter for you? And now, what risks are you willing to take for ‘Hike’?

Risk was not taking the usual route of getting a job or joining other business in the group and starting from scratch. Honestly speaking that’s what gets me out of bed in the morning. I don’t care much for what people think, I do what I do, because I’m extremely passionate. hike is one of the most beautiful, well built products out there in the market and we’re going to do whatever it takes, so that it’s around for years to come.

According to you, what will be the future of mobile app industry?

Apps are a great form of distribution. There are people who build apps for the sake of apps and then there are those who get their services across users in the form of apps. We fall in the latter category and I hope more people follow.

There is no doubt in my mind that this has become and will remain a great source of distribution for years to come.

Any message that you would like to impart to young entrepreneurs out there?

Y
ou have to be passionate about what you do. Building a company from scratch isn’t easy. It comes with a lot of hard work and constant worrying. Any sane person would walk away. So it’s extremely important to be passionate about what you do.

Download hike app for Android:

Download hike app for iOS:

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hike messengerHike MessengerSocial NetworkingFreeDownload

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  • Yaman Saluja

    How do they generate revenue through the mobile apps which are free to use ?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1535778219 Bibhas S. Das

      When a company releases a free app there’s usually one of several strategies in play:

      1. Freemium: Companies will often release a free app as a “lite” version and offer a premium version for paid download. The app will often have just enough features to get a user hooked, but will be lacking a key feature or features that you need to take full advantage of the app.

      2. In-App Game Play Upgrades: Some game apps are released as free, but allow you to buy access to additional virtual tools that enhance the game play.

      3. Commerce Enablement: Apps like Amazon and Ebay are free, but enable transactions, which drive revenue. While these two apps are typically not used for anything other than researching or completing a purchase, we’ll start to see more free apps that offer some core utility but are really designed to drive revenue through e-commerce. These include apps which deliver goods, services, and paid content.

      4. Building a Base: With the tremendous growth in mobile, some companies are growing a base of loyal mobile users with free apps, with the hopes of monetizing that base with other paid apps, content, or commerce down the line.

      5. Branding: Many free apps are designed to enhance the perception of a brand. While it can be difficult to directly tie revenue to downloads, apps are a great way for brands like CocaCola, McDonalds, etc. to engage with users on a level they would not otherwise be able to achieve.

      6. Ad Revenue: You mentioned ad revenue, and it’s certainly a primary strategy for many free apps, though clearly not the only way to monetize a mobile app in today’s market.

      • kavinbm

        Spot on a few points. We’re not a fan of traditional ads. You’ll never see us put a banner add in such a beautifully crafted product.

        • http://darshangajara.wordpress.com/ Darshan Gajara

          This is what I love about your app 🙂

      • Priyanshu Chauhan

        Its just a matter of time when Apps like whats app or Hike starts to monetize their property. For now its just a zero sum game where in gaining market share is prime. m/

  • http://www.facebook.com/prynkskool Prynks Kool

    how to download hike to nokia e5

  • http://www.facebook.com/hardik.hingorani Hardik Hingorani

    hike for blackberry please…….!!!!!!!!!

    • βίηđũ įś ĝяёàţ

      Its already there in Blackberry market place

  • Gaurav Baid

    Hike for nokia x3-00 plzz… As whatsapp was not available for dis device..!!! So many Nokia X3-00 users have high hope on hike.!!

  • Mayank Gupta

    Calling all #Developers! Developing #S40 #Apps has never been
    more lucrative! http://www.developerleague.com/?pcode=LOD1&src=10002

    Join The #LeagueofDevelopers and earn more now!

  • http://darshangajara.wordpress.com/ Darshan Gajara

    Being an Indian I take pride to see the growth of hike is the past 2 years.

  • Vikram Chhajer

    Good Morning
    I have been useing this app from last 6 -8 months , liked this app . one most thing i like that if my friend is not on hike i can send sms to him , from last 4 months i have been using whatsapp with api and now i think should use hike with api . thru my pc can any one help for hike api in c# .
    Thanks In advance