Free messaging has clearly been successful and now messaging apps are taking the next step. After WhatsApp revealed plans to add voice-calling to its popular instant messenger, Hike is getting down with a similar idea.
In order to bring free VoIP voice-calling feature, Hike acquired a US-based startup, Zip Phone with plans to integrate the service into its own mobile app. It also marks the first acquisition for the messaging app that was started two years ago.
The financial details of the deal were kept off the table but Hike founder and CEO Kavin Bharti Mittal revealed how the acquisition can help in improving the service for its Indian consumers.
"With the acquisition we take one more step towards that mission. Zip Phone's technology will allow us to bring free voice calling to the market much faster," Mittal explained. "Incidentally, this is one of the top requested features from our users as well. We can't wait to launch this."
Hike was launched in December 2012 and has gathered more than 35 million users on its network so far. Funded by Tiger Global and BSB, the company has raised $86 million. Hike appeals to the young crowd as 90% of its entire user-base is aged under 25 years and from India. Features like Hike Offline, Hidden Mode, Regional Stickers and more are quite the trend among youngsters.
Hike has grown by leaps and bounds over the past two years. The app reached its first milestone of 5 million users in just four months after launch and crossed 20 million in June last year. In July, Hike was the number one app in App stores. The 35-million milestone was achieved in August last year and the company hasn't shared its next milestone yet.
Zip Phone was founded by Anuj Jain and based in the US. The service offers voice-calling feature around the world using Wi-Fi or cellular data. "As a start-up enthusiast, I had been keeping a close eye on Hike and its developments and I am excited to now be a part of one of the biggest and fastest growing startups in the Indian Internet space and finally, building for India," Jain said.