Facebook, with both Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp under its belt, handily dominates the instant message industry, but others in Silicon Valley want a piece of the pie.
Several Silicon Valley bigwigs, including WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg, Quora founder Adam D'Angelo and Dropbox's vice president of engineering Aditya Agarwal, invested an undisclosed sum in Indian company Hike Messenger, the Economic Times reported on Wednesday.
Hike, itself a joint venture between Bharti Enterprises and Japan's Softbank, is used almost exclusively in India. The key feature is users being able to message each other in eight different Indian languages, including Hindi, Telegu, Tamil and Marathi, as well as English.
"It's great to have the world's top brains in tech share Hike's vision; and not just entrust us with their investment," Hike founder Kevin Bharti Mittal said in a statement, adding that "each of them brings with him/her a core area of expertise, which we at Hike find immensely useful as we aggressively grow in India."
Being just over three years young, Hike has over 70 million users. On a global scale, its main competition are the Facebook-owned WhatsApp, which as of last September had 900 million active users, and Facebook Messenger, which in December hit 800 million monthly active users.
The Silicon Valley execs are no doubt hoping to take advantage of India's ongoing explosion of growth in Internet-related businesses. Following tens of millions gaining access to the information superhighway in recent years, the country now houses the world's second largest e-population, with IMRB International and the Internet and Mobile Association of India estimating that the country has over 400 million Internet users.