We missed this earlier: The Bharti Enterprises-owned messaging app Hike StickerChat has been shut down, its founder and CEO Kavin Bharti Mittal announced on Twitter. “Today we’re announcing that we will be sunsetting StickerChat in Jan’21. We thank you all for giving us your trust. We wouldn’t be here without you,” Mittal said on January 6. The announcement was buried in what was essentially a reorienting of Hike as a company — Vibe and Rush, an invite-only community and a minigames app respectively, will carry forward elements of Hike, like the messenger’s in-house emoji and its name (“Vibe by Hike”).
The app has since been taken down from the Play Store and the App Store. The takedown came just days before alternatives for WhatsApp started gaining traction amidst a debate on recent changes to its terms and conditions. However, Mittal dispelled any musings of a what might have been for Hike, saying in a tweet that it would be impossible for any Indian messenger app to compete with the likes of Telegram or Signal:
India won’t have its own messenger.
Both are very good. As entities they have the right incentives (more aligned with consumers) unlike FB products.
— Kavin Bharti Mittal (@kavinbm) January 10, 2021
Hike has received large investments over the years, netting US$$261 million, with US$175 million coming from Foxconn and Tencent in 2016; that round of funding valued the company at US$1.4 billion. But uptake flagged, as WhatsApp continued to dominate the Indian market. In December 2019, Hike had 2 million monthly active users. For comparison, Signal, which is run on a not-for-profit basis, added over 30 million installations just this month.