Hike Messenger Ltd, which is operated by Bharti SoftBank Holdings Pte. Ltd, has acquired InstaLively Livestreaming Pvt. Ltd-owned social networking app Pulse.
According to the LinkedIn profiles of Pulse co-founders Karthik Vaidyanath and Prakhar Khanduja, the company was taken over by Hike in February. As part of the deal, Vaidyanath has joined Hike as director of engineering while Khanduja is responsible for marketing and user growth.
The social networking app, which was launched in December 2015, enables users to stay connected with their college and school communities.
In early 2016, Pulse had secured angel money from a host of investors including Google vice president, South East Asia & India, Rajan Anandan; InnerChef co-founder, and GSF Accelerator founder, Rajesh Sawhney; founder and CEO of People Group, Anupam Mittal; Star TV India CEO Uday Shankar; and Facebook director Anand Chandrasekaran.
Subsequently, in November, it had raised $500,000 (around Rs 3.4 crore) from venture and growth capital fund SAIF Partners.
Pulse’s acquisition was first reported by Inc42.
Email queries to Hike did not elicit any response till the time of writing this report.
Hike Messenger, founded in 2012 by Bharti Enterprises chairman Sunil Mittal’s son Kavin Bharti Mittal, is part of a joint-venture initiative between Bharti and Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp.
Hike, which had recently launched an in-app payment wallet, seeks to gain early-mover advantage over rival WhatsApp. With Hike 5.0, users can recharge their phones and pay post-paid bills from within the Hike platform. Additionally, it is introducing a personalised digital gift envelope, Blue Packets, using which one can send money to a friend’s Hike wallet.
Hike follows the lead of China-based messaging app and WhatsApp rival WeChat, which is owned by Tencent Holdings Ltd.
In August 2016, Tencent had led a $175-million funding round in Hike, along with Foxconn .
The social networking space in India has witnessed a series of deals over the past months.
In November, ShareChat, a regional language social networking app operated by Mohalla Tech Pvt. Ltd, had raised $4 million in a Series A round led by Lightspeed India Partners.
The same month saw Nodd Ventures Pvt Ltd, which operates networking app Nodd, raising $146,000 from former Just Dial Ltd’s chief technology officer Sandipan Chattopadhyay and IKYA associate partner Jaison Jose, among others.
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