Kavin Bharti Mittal

Building a New Social Future
Kavin Bharti Mittal is one of India’s youngest billionaire entrepreneurs. The Founder and CEO of Hike, a cross-platform instant messaging platform, has built his startup into a $1.4 billion corporation. The Delhi-based startup was launched in 2012, and reached unicorn status in just four years. In 2016, Hike became the 10th Indian startup to cross $1 billion in valuation. It is backed by some of the most prominent global investors, including Tencent, Foxconn, Tiger Global, SoftBank, Bharti Enterprises (the promoter of telecom major Bharti Airtel), and other angels. Hike has raised more than $260 million in funding so far. Kavin, who’s had prior stints at Google and Goldman Sachs, believes that he’s building a “new social future” for Indian millennials who are obsessed with communication.


Awards and Recognitions
YourStory’s 100 Emerging Voices of 2019
Kavin is a prominent voice in the world of Indian social tech, and has consistently shared deep, meaningful insights on behavioural patterns of online consumers. He has written on myriad subjects, including the meteoric rise of instant messengers in India, the millennial obsession with emojis (which prompted Hike to launch HikeMoji in November), the rising need for language integration, the emergence of newer revenue models, and the advancements in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and more. Kavin believes that changing social behaviour will dictate business models for consumer tech startups in the future. He’s particularly pleased with Hike’s “wise decision” of pulling the plug on payments this year. It had rolled out peer-to-peer payments on the Hike app in mid-2017. Even though payments scaled fast in terms of users, growth had to be driven with incentives like cashbacks. “And this was going to be a big capital sink,” Kavin says. Hike could, in fact, set a precedent for several homegrown startups chasing ‘superapp’ dreams without figuring out a business model to support such ambitions.

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