Hike, which pivoted from instant messaging to bet on social, gaming, and crypto earlier last year, Friday said it has raised fresh capital led by the crypto division of Jump Trading Group, Jump Crypto.
The latest funding comes just months after Ethereum-based blockchain scaling service provider Polygon invested an undisclosed sum in Hike in January to support its social gaming metaverse Rush Gaming Universe (RGU).
Hike is hosting RGU on its network to help build its Web 3.0 presence.
Web 3.0 or Web3, is the internet’s third generation that interconnects data in a decentralized way to deliver a faster and more personalized user experience.
Tribe Capital and Republic Capital’s Republic Crypto participated in latest funding round, said Hike in a statement without disclosing the investment amount.
The fresh capital will be used for hiring and boosting RGU’s product strategy, the statement said. RGU is clocking in over 160 million gameplays every quarter with over $90 million in gross winnings annually across 1.8 million monthly active users (MAUs) in just 13 months since its launch.
Kavin Bharti Mittal, Founder and CEO, Hike, noted that gaming has always been bite-sized entertainment and now it can also be a means to provide brand new economic opportunities to the world.
"India being a mobile-first market needs a unique approach and our years of building for this market help tremendously in building a seamless user experience to bring the next billion users on-chain," he added.
Before this fund-raising, Hike raised $175 million in Series D funding led by internet giant Tencent and manufacturing firm Foxconn in 2016. The round had valued the company at $1.4 billion, propelling it to the elite list of unicorns, or privately-held companies valued at least $1 billion.
Hike's switched to its current avatar closing down its eight-year-old instant messaging app in January 2021. Mittal blamed western messaging apps and strong ‘global network effects’ for shutting down the platform. The company then shifted focus towards its community-based product HikeLand and rebranded it to ‘Vibe by Hike’.
Vibe provides a virtual space for individuals to interact and watch content with other users with similar interests. Hike also announced its pivot towards virtual gaming by launching ‘Rush’, a new bite-sized gaming service for its users.
Months after pivoting, Hike raised fresh funds in August led by Tinder co-founders Justin Mateen and Sean Rad, joined by SoftBank Vision Fund’s chief executive officer Rajeev Misra, Tribe Capital co-founder Arjun Sethi, Zeta co-founder Bhavin Turakhia, Flipkart co-founder Binny Bansal and Cred founder Kunal Shah, among others. Snapdeal co-founders Kunal Bahl and Rohit Kumar Bansal also participated in the round.