The key to building a successful start-up is understanding the value of time, according to 29-year-old Kavin Bharti Mittal, who is founder and CEO of Indian messaging platform Hike Messenger.
Mittal started Hike in 2012 as an instant messaging app that has now evolved into a platform offering various services, including payments and news. The company is backed by two of Asia's most prominent tech names: SoftBank Group and Tencent. It is also one of the handful of Indian start-ups that are part of the so-called unicorn club.
The company was reportedly valued at $1.4 billion, according to CB Insights. And in the five years it's been around, Hike has amassed more than 100 million registered users — nearly a tenth of India's population.
"Time compels everything," Mittal told CNBC earlier this month. "If you don't realize the value of time, it's going to be very hard for you to succeed because you're always up against something, someone or against your own funding. You've got to make progress every six months or a year."
Mittal got the idea to build a messaging app for the Indian consumer in 2011 while he enjoyed street food in an alley at Connaught Place, one of New Delhi's prominent financial and business centers. Although he had enjoyed internet connectivity for about 15 years while living abroad, Mittal said he was surprised to find the vendor serving him had no idea what the internet was.
"There's a billion people in the country like that," Mittal said. "It dawned upon me that (they) would come onto the internet for the first time in their lives. It'd be very different from how we came online."