Exclusive Interview with Kavin Bharti Mittal

Bharti Softbank (BSB), a joint venture between Bharti Enterprises and Japanese Internet firm Softbank Corp, has launched Hike, a peer-to-peer (P2P) messaging app that uses both data and SMS to deliver messages.

Unlike the cross-platform mobile messaging app WhatsApp, hike lets you message those who don’t have it, so now you can message a non-hike user as well.In other words, users need not install the app on their phones to receive messages. Hike also claims to have in-built filters that block spam SMS.
WirelessDuniya spoke with BSB’s Kavin Bharti Mittal ,Head of Strategy/New Product Development in an exclusive interview on the launch of the hike messaging app .


WD: Why did you guys chose to launch a Messaging app, when there are lots of apps available already ?

Kavin: India is crazy about messaging. There are over 400M SMS users in the country that send on average close to a 100 messages a month.

We see two big problems with messaging.

  1. Too much spam. SMS has become a channel for tele-marketers to try to get their messages across. Messaging over SMS isn’t pleasant anymore.
  2. Secondly, the SMS replacements are closed networks which means one needs the app at both the sender and the receivers end to communicate. This defeats the whole idea behind SMS which is open and ubiquitous communication.

We asked ourselves, why isn’t there an app that combines the real-time, free nature of an Instant Messaging app with the openness of SMS thats completely spam free? We couldn’t find a single app that did this hence we decided to go built it ourselves. We call it hike

WD : What are the key features of the hike app that sets it apart from the competition?

Kavin: I’d like to highlight the four key features that set it apart from the competition:

 1. It is Open
Messaging couldn’t be simpler than the hike experience. As long as you have hike, there is no need to worry whether your friends have hike or not. Send a message and hike handles the rest. If a friend isn’t on hike, we send the message over SMS to which your friend can reply to at normal SMS rates. The message comes straight back to the hike application making the conversation a lot more seamless. For both you and your friend messaging remains as its always been, though a whole new experience.

 2. It is Spam-free
hike has smart filters built in that block the spam you might see on SMS. These smart filters not only block spam but learn over time to be more efficient and predict in advance who spam users might be.
But just in case one or two slip out we give users the full set of tools to take control. Blocking spam users is just a tap away.

 3. Its absolutely Free
On top of all that, messaging on hike is completely free. You can message your friends and family for free especially those who aren’t on hike. hike to hike is always free but our users receive 100 free hike SMS every month to message those who aren’t on hike.

Think 100 is too little? No problem. The more friends our users invite the more free hike SMS they’ll get. Each user earns an additional 10 free hike SMS per month for each friend that joins hike because of him.

 4. Its Beautiful and Simple with a great intuitive user experience
We keep challenging ourselves to build a great intuitive user experience and simplicity is at the center of it. Its very complex to build something very simple. Most people believe adding features is what makes a product better. We believe in the exact opposite. That to us is a great user experience.

We also spend a ton of time making our apps pixel perfect. As a result, hike has turned out to be a stunning app, absolutely gorgeous and that isn’t only on the higher end devices.

You’ll have to look hard to find an app thats simpler to use and that looks this good.

WD: On what mobile platforms is the “hike” app currently available ?

Kavin: We have currently launched the Hike app on the Android platforms. You can download the app on your Android device by clicking on this download link: bit.ly/Nm6YZv .
Hike will also be available soon on , iOs, WP7, Blackberry, Nokia S60 & Others.

You can check our Facebook  page  Facebook.com/hikeapp  and also follow us on Twitter @hikeapp

Our website: http://get.hike.in


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