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|Developer(s)||Kavin Bharti Mittal|
|Initial release||December 12, 2012|
|Operating system||Android, iOS, Windows|
|Available in||10 languages|
|Type||Instant messaging, voice over IP|
Hike is an Indian freeware, cross-platform messaging and Voice over IP (VoIP) application.Hike was launched on 12 December 2012. On 16 August 2016, Hike raised $175 million in a new round of funding led by Tencent & Foxconn. After raising this round Hike reached the valuation of $1.4 Billion and became the youngest startup to reach unicorn status having achieved it in just 3.7 years after launch. Hike's founder is Kavin Bharti Mittal. Hike decided to unbundle its app into separate app for separate features. With the latest plan main hike app will be focused as a messaging platform while other services of old hike hike app will be provided with separate application. Hike launched a revamped Hike 6.0 app which has a clean UI and free of other news, payments and joke features of older hike app.
Launched on 12 December 2012, Hike attained 15 million users in February 2014. Over the next few months, the application introduced free text messaging across India, chat themes, updated stickers, hidden chats and a revamped user interface. In August 2014, Hike reached 35 million users.
Hike made its first acquisition in 2015, buying free voice-calling company Zip Phones, which allowed it to launch free app based calling services that are emerging as a key draw for users. Later in 2015, Hike also integrated the brands TinyMogul and Hoppr under its own brand name.
In 2015 Hike launched the "Great Indian Sticker Challenge" to invite designers to design new stickers. According to the company, 30% of the traffic comes from stickers.
In October 2015, Hike announced that the user base of Hike had reached 70 million, with more than 20 billion messages shared each month. In December 2015, over 1 billion messages were being shared over the app in one day.
In January 2016, Hike crossed registered over 100 million users. "Crossing 100 million users is a milestone for us and we have achieved this magic number well ahead of our expectations", founder and CEO, Kavin Bharti Mittal said in a statement.
In November 2016, Hike announced the launch of Stories, a feature that allows people to share stories about their lives and real moments using fun live filters. These stories vanish in 24 hours.
In June 2017, Hike announced the launch of Hike 5.0 along with Hike Wallet. It became the first Indian messaging app to launch payments after this announcement. In addition to the Hike Wallet, Hike launched multiple new features including 10 new App Themes, a Night Mode and Magic Selfie. It also brought back its Timeline feature after multiple user requests.
Later in 2017, Hike also announced its acquisition of hardware startup Creo for an undisclosed amount.
It was announced on January 2019 that the company is dumping the super app approach and now looking at launching multiple apps through the year in continuance with its intent to focus on it's core. On May, they announced a collaboration with Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology, Delhi (IIIT-D) for developing artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). The area of research will comprise natural language processing (NLP), speech, link prediction, deep learning and computer vision. In April, the company as per promise finally launched the standalone app ‘Hike Sticker Chat' while a separate content app is now called 'Hike News & Content'.
Hike on August launched the web version of its app Hike Sticker Chat, which will enable its users to chat over their personal computers as well. To push adoption of the Hike Sticker Chat app, the company is also working on a feature to allow sharing of stickers across all messaging platforms.
Hike raised its first round of funding of $7 million from Bharti and SoftBank in April 2013. It received another round of investment of $14M from Bharti and Softbank in March 2014. In August 2014, Hike reached 35 million users and raised $65 million in a funding round led by Tiger Global.
On 16 August 2016 Hike raised $175 million in a new round of funding led by Tencent & Foxconn. After raising this round Hike reached the valuation of $1.4 Billion and became the youngest startup to reach unicorn status, having achieved it in just 3.7 years after launch.~
Total, built by Hike
In January 2018, the company announced the launch of 'Total, built by Hike'. Total allowed users to access services on their mobiles even in the offline mode or without the internet.
Hike teamed up with mobile carriers and OEMs for Total, with device makers bundling a tweaked version of Android that makes Hike the default text/call app and loads features like Hike’s wallet, cricket news and horoscopes. Hike announced Intex, Karbonn and Airtel Mera Pehla Smartphone as device partners and Airtel, BSNL and Aircel as telecom partners.
With 60 words news on the go, Hike News allows users to stay updated with the latest happenings around India and the world. Hike News comes in 8 Indian languages apart from English - Hindi, Malayalam, Telugu, Tamil, Bengali, Marathi, Gujarati and Kannada.
Users can get the latest cricket score updates with Hike Cricket.
Hike also aggregates the latest jokes and memes for users in an endless, snackable content feed.
In January 2018, Hike announced the launch of Hike ID to enhance its privacy features. Hike ID is a unique custom username that removes the need for sharing phone numbers to chat with someone. Users can also search for each other using their Hike ID.
Hike supports 2 way chat themes that a user can change according to their relationship with a person or their mood. The options for chat themes are limited but one can set the theme with their own pictures. The app also allows users to set their own App Theme, letting users choose from 10 different built-in themes. Hike also announced the launch of Night Mode - an app theme to reduce strain on eyes in low light conditions.
Apart from basic social messaging means like photos, videos, emoticons, audio files and emojis, Hike has 20000+ graphical stickers. Many of the sticker packs can be used across different geographies but a lot of them are highly customized for Indian users. The stickers are available in 40+ Indian languages. Hike also has sticker suggestions where the application suggests the best reply for any sticker message. Apart from this, Hike allows users to "nudge", a feature used to ping the receiver. In September 2017, Hike launched personalized sticker packs for over 500 colleges across India. The app also uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to design and automatically create multi-contextual stickers for users based on signals such as emotions, colours, fonts, and languages. From version 6, the app recommends new stickers for anything a user want to say but also suggests stickers to use in response to stickers sent by other users thorough machine learning by analyzing the context and mood of the conversations.
Voice and video
In January 2015, Hike introduced a voice calling feature for their users. The messenger provides free voice-calling over 2G, 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi across the globe in over 200 countries. In Sep 2015, Hike launched free group calls with up to 100 people in a conference call.
In October 2016, Hike introduced a Video calling feature for their users. The messenger provides free video-calling over 2G, 3G and Wi-Fi across the globe in over 200 countries. Hike has received more appreciations on this feature.
Timeline and Stories
In the Timeline, users can share pictures, videos, links or text updates with their friends or everyone on Hike, based on their privacy settings. Users can also upload Stories with various face filters and stickers. These stories stay for 24 hours for friends to see before disappearing.
Auto Backup & Hike Web
Due to people cleaning up & resetting or switching phones to buy a new one, it becomes tedious to backup & restore data. Users have to remember to take their backups and then further make a choice of whether to store their backup locally or on the cloud. To resolve this issue Automatic Backup feature instantly backup data on secure cloud by 128-bit AES and 2048 RSA encryption with zero data consumption. Hike Web was created ensuring a seamless experience for users with a strong focus on privacy and security keeping that in mind hike increased network security to AES-256 and TLS 1.2, which makes communication over web client more secure than ever.
- Hidden mode allows users to hide individual and group chats providing extended privacy.
- Hike also has a talking bot called Natasha, that uses AIML (Artificial Intelligence Markup Language) to chat with users.
- Hike Daily sends daily quotes and facts to all users.
- On April, 2014 Hike pranked it's users with HikeCoin by announcing that a photo of a real monetary note, attached and sent to friend would make the physical note invalid.
- On March 31, 2016 Hike announced Hike Smell, a fictional feature added as a prank on April Fools' Day. Users were informed that by using special sensors in their phones, they could capture and attach smells to their messages.
Hike uses a 128-bit Secure Sockets Layer encrypted firewall server for the exchange of media and text messages on WiFi. In addition of user choosing whom to share their last seen and profile pictures with, the app also supports a hidden mode with pattern lock for extended privacy. After the latest June 2019 update, all chats and calls are now being protected by 128-bit AES and 2048 RSA encryption and messages stored locally on device are auto backed-up to it's cloud server. It is used for validating identity (signing) and ensuring that only the intended recipient can access the information sent (encryption). The data stored on hike servers is completely encrypted with AES-128 algorithm with strong Key and Salt stored in a completely different key management system, KMS.
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