Bharti Softbank (BSB), a joint venture between Japan's Softbank and Bharti Enterprises, has put in $7 million (Rs 38 crore) in its messaging venture Hike Ltd which has P2P free messaging app Hike, one of the three products from BSB's stable, as per a company statement. Hike has recently seen an upsurge in traction when it crossed 5 million users globally.
Talking to Techcircle.in, Kavin Bharti Mittal, BSB's head of strategy & new product development, "We plan to use the money for marketing and localised product enhancement since we have seen a great response in the first few months itself."
He added that BSB has created separate legal entities for its products. Mittal did not say if this is meant to allow external funding in the future.
Giving a lowdown on how BSB will be funding its products, Mittal had earlier shared that it would put money in tranches. "We plan to invest in our startups early. Each startup has funding for a year and we will re-evaluate at the end of the year to see if the objectives have been achieved. This is the model we would be following in the future," he had stated. Their strategy so far been a mix of build, partner and acquire.
BSB is a little more than a year old and has three products under its belt. The first one was Hoppr, which is product from digital startup Y2CF Digital Media. BSB acquired 49 per cent stake in the startup.
Another is a joint venture initiative with Yahoo Japan for a mobile portal. Third is Hike.
Mittal had earlier talked about the fourth product which is a mobile gaming app. It was scheduled to be launched by end of 2012 but is yet to be rolled out. Mittal said that since Hike got an unexpected response the company focussed on that first. "The new product should be out in June this year, hopefully," he added.