Last week Hike Messenger , the messaging app, became the latest startup to join the so-called ‘unicorn’ pack in India—companies valued at at least $1 billion. Hike has been the fastest of the pack to reach the milestone, in just about three and half years after launch. It took e-commerce major Flipkart five years, rival Snapdeal seven years and analytics firm Mu Sigma nine years to become unicorns. Hike is also the lone company in the unicorn pack that is free. It is yet to make money. Hike will only “start to try making money by 2018, perhaps 2020”, says 28-year old founder Kavin Bharti Mittal. Yet, thanks to the $175 million collected from a clutch of overseas investors (see Plenty of Funds), the app is valued at $1.4 billion. Mittal believes the $175 million raised by Hike “is like Flipkart raising $1 billion. That’s the value we see and we are the only local rich messaging app with scale in the country.” Says Vishal Tripathi, … [Read more...] about Is Hike Messenger worth the hype and $1.4 billion?
NEW DELHI: Hike Messenger has begun laying off 20-25% of its workforce, with a significant portion of the affected employees coming from its two acquisitions — hardware maker Creo and social networking venture InstaLively — that it announced last year. According to a source with knowledge of the matter, the total number of retrenchments could range between 50 and 75 employees across locations. When contacted by ET, Hike Messenger spokesperson confirmed the layoffs but did not comment on the numbers. “We made a few acquisitions last year that skyrocketed the team size, mostly in Bengaluru. We’re integrating and streamlining these teams. Just business as usual,” a company spokesperson wrote in response to an email from ET. The layoffs are expected to be across functions, including human resources, accounting and finance, among others. Employees, according to the source cited above, are being provided with a severance package, starting with two months … [Read more...] about Hike Messenger lays off 25% of its workforce
Focusing on different industries: Silicon Valley needs to refocus its strengths in innovation aimed at solving global challenges. By one count, only 18% of U.S. unicorns focus on solving problems in healthcare, education, financial inclusion, and agriculture. These are untapped opportunities with huge upside and impact potential. For instance, there are 55 million Americans that are underbanked and over 80 million who have no or limited health insurance. Additionally, these needs are critical to the well-being of the general populous, and many innovations in this space will continue to progress even through a potential downturn, as spending starts to slow on luxury or excess consumption. … [Read more...] about Here’s how Silicon Valley can avoid Detroit’s fate