Tuesday, November 28

India’s Messenger App Hike Has Revenue Issues

[dropcap]A[/dropcap]fter Flipkart, Ola and Paytm, another potential Indian Unicorn Hike, the Indian chat messenger is seeing some hard days! It is not generating any revenue!

Its latest filings with RoC shows that the five year old company is right back where it started; as per its March 2017 reports. Once valued at $1.4 billion, the company fails to come up with a significant revenue stream in financial year 2016-coupons that users bought to play in-app games accounted for almost all the operating revenue.

In the filings, the company showed a total income of Rs 11.4 crore in comparison to the 34,9 crore in FY2016, which had come on the back of profit from sale of investments.

The total expenditure in FY17 was Rs 227.3 crore in comparison to last year’s Rs 252.2 crore. The net loss that was reported was Rs 215.9 crore, a bit lower than Rs 217.3 crore.

Hike does not charge for its services unlike peer-to-peer messaging app like Facebook-owned WhatsApp; it does not advertise on its platform either. Founded in July 2012 by Kavin, son of Bharti Enterprises Ltd chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal, it was part of Bharti SoftBank—the joint venture between Bharti Enterprises and Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp.

The company had earlier raised a sum of $175 million from China’s Tencent Holdings Ltd, Taiwan’s Foxconn Technology Group and other investors. This fourth round of funding took the total raised amount to $250 million. Its early investors include US hedge fund titan Tiger Global.

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Hike competes with WhatsApp which has 201 million monthly active users in the country as of February, in comparison to Hike’s 100 million.

“Though revenue is meager vis-a-vis their losses, they have a user base of around 100 million, which is fairly decent. On top of that, they have the backing of top-class global investors, so it’s unlikely that they will run out of capital even as losses mount,” an industry analyst said on the condition of anonymity.

Hike currently has around 300 employees spread across its two offices in Delhi and Bangalore.