Zen to Zenith: The other Mittal connecting Indians

He has taken his venture through the rough and tumble of the startup space, but Kavin Bharti Mittal doesn’t fit into your conventional stereotype of an entrepreneur.

DKODING | Kavin Bharti Mittal

He is a keen follower of Zen philosophy and likes to begin his day with meditation to realign and rejuvenate his mind. Kavin believes in having a harmonious, balanced, and ‘zen’ outlook with a ‘glass half-full’ perspective all the way.

Not Choosing an Easy Path

For the son of  Bharti Enterprise chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal, it would have been natural to simply follow his father’s legacy like most other scions of wealthy families. But Kavin had other plans. At the age of 20, he was doing his Masters in Imperial College, London and already giving wings to his entrepreneurial dreams with apps like AppSpark, MoviesNow, and Foodster.

DKODING | Kavin Bharti Mittal

But Kavin soon realized that India has a tremendous opportunity for internet and mobile technology, and came back in 2011. A young, brave, and enterprising businessman, Kavin has managed to come out of his father’s shadow and make his own mark.

Fitness Freak

DKODING | Kavin Bharti Mittal

Giving up on dairy, gluten and sodas, he streamlined his dietary intake in 2018. More than half of his food intake was is plant based. He also discovered the benefits of fasting. He says “body doesn’t need as much as food one thinks”. But this freak also loses his control while travelling. Pizza and choclate chip cookies are his cheat meal he would love to have.

Dreams and Virtuousness


DKODING | Kavin Bharti Mittal

Kavin launched Hike Messenger in December 2012, an app to keep Indians connected. The early days proved challenging, as Kavin himself had no background in building a messaging app. The greatest learning for him in those days was that an entrepreneur should always keep his ego in check, especially because a company’s success is directly proportional to the learning curve of the founder CEO.

The second virtue he learned is perseverance. The Hike team had their backs to the wall very early, as they had a target of 3 million till March 2013, and were still languishing at 0 in January. That was when they launched talk-time rewards, giving incentives to people to get their friends on the app. In three months, the user base increased to 5 million.

For him, it was not about the funding he received, but it was all about relentlessly chasing his own aspirations.


DKODING | Kavin Bharti Mittal

Thirdly, Kavin firmly believes that a fit body and mind is critical to take good decisions even in difficult times. He counts his father, Steve Jobs and Niki Lauda (Formula One) as his role models. For him, all three have two things in common – they have a very clear state of mind and want to change the world around them.

Hike‘s user base increased quickly to more than 100 million by January 2016. It became a unicorn in just 3.7 years.

Ups and Downs

In 2018, Kavin admitted that the company had moved too far from its core business model too soon. Some of its acquisitions were draining finances and they had not thought through monetization. To control the blood-letting, Hike closed its Bengaluru office and laid off almost 25% of its workforce in May 2018.


DKODING | Kavin Bharti Mittal

After that shock, Hike plans to launch several apps in 2019 that will solve specific problems and focus on the pillars of content and social. Hike previously used to keep them bundled within a single app like popular Chinese app WeChat. But the Indian market is not that evolved, so Hike has adapted.

What’s Ahead

Kavin will have his task cut out in the coming years since different apps will have to deal with well-entrenched competition, and Hike has to firmly lay out a path to monetization and further scale up. But one can expect Kavin to be game for the challenge, with his humility, perseverance, eagerness to learn and balanced approach to life.

In retrospect, one can say that even if he is away from the family business, Kavin is living up to his father’s legacy in the best way possible.

DKODING as the name suggests is on a crusade to bring out the ‘OTHER SIDE OF THE STORY’ in a world drowning with fury and frenzy. It provides deeper insights and perspectives beyond NEWS.

Breaking burning issues through a narrative that is fresh, fearless and fiery.


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