Hike messenger — the $1.4 billion valued Unicorn of India, raising investments rapidly, topic of discussion in the business circles. But not everyone shares the sentiment and there are questions being asked about the company — is it really worth $1.4 billion? Is it hyped? Will it make it big? And what not.
I had heard about Hike, but a satisfied user of Whatssap never thought of switching to Hike. But the publicity definitely got me interested in what Hike actually was, and why was it thinking it could make it big in the already populated messenger market.
I hence decided to give it a try. Download, installation, scanning contacts, and all the other painfully and long processes later, I finally got a chance to navigate the user interface of Hike.
Blank screen, add friends, navigation through contact list, and the other usual clicks later, I sent my friend who was on Hike a Hi! Further down the list were my friends who were not on Hike, but I could message them or was I going to send them a request to download Hike? To quench this curiosity, I obviously sent another of my friend (not a user of Hike) a Hi. And to my amazement got a reply! I asked my friend how was he interacting with me when he did not have Hike installed? The reply amazed me — it looked like a normal SMS to him! Now that is interesting.
So this is a very interesting strategy of Hike — almost bypass through the pain of generating the critical mass. So even though my whole circle of friends is not available on Hike, I could still contact them through Hike, but that is only if I am impressed by the application, and want to give up Whatssap for Hike, which brings me to the question — do I like Hike?
A Whatssap addict who keeps on checking the app every 5 minute to keep a track of the queue of messages that need to be read, my whole circle uses Whatssap. In this scenario — how do I remember Hike? I do by the regular push notifications sent to my phone about the regular news, jokes, etc. etc. that they keep on sending me. Yes, that reminds me that I have the app on my phone but does nothing more than annoy me. If I want news, I already have apps on my phone to send me notifications of breaking news, or others for jokes.
What Hike is trying to do here is trying to bundle some services that users use during the course of their day, but these users already are comfortable with the current application they use, and are unlikely to switch unless Hike does 10 times better than their regular applications. And does it? I doubt it.
So, who will be Hike’s target? Will it be able to generate the critical mass? Looks like with 400 million internet users in India, with most of them being active mobile users, Hike will have to either target the 60% who do not use Messaging applications or rob the customers out from existing users — 80% who use Whatssap, Facebook, Hangout, etc. and the chances of that happening likely seems bleak. But then, the beauty of India lies in the huge population and the ever-changing markets! So much so that any product always has hope!