Zip Phone, which launched last year and was founded by Indian entrepreneur Anuj Jain, lets users make secure, Wi-Fi-enabled phone calls. This means they don’t have to use up minutes on limited smartphone calling plans or incur roaming charges. Hike founder and CEO Kavin Bharti Mittal says acquiring Zip Phone will allow the messaging app to bring a free voice calling feature, one of its most requested features from users, to the market much more quickly.
It’s easy to see how Zip Phone fits into Hike’s business strategy. While there are scores of messaging apps based in Asia (including WeChat, Line, and KakaoTalk), Hike has several features designed specifically for consumers in India where data plans are often costly, including Hike2SMS, or free SMS credits for featurephones, and message notifications that pop up even if users have turned data off.
In addition to India, Hike is also keen to acquire users in international markets, including Europe and Latin America.
Hike claims to currently have over 35 million users, with 90 percent residing in India. It has raised $86 million from Tiger Global and BSB.