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Free Messaging App Kik Hits 2 Million Downloads in 3 Weeks


Name: Kik

Quick Pitch: Kik’s app lets you send instantaneous, free messages between phones and see when they have been received.

Genius Idea: Within 15 days after Kik launched on October 21, the startup was watching the number of downloads hit 1 million. Employees gathered around a download ticker, handed out paper cups for champagne, and celebrated for about five minutes before getting back to work. The startup held a similar event when the 2 millionth user downloaded the app yesterday. In order to keep up with the explosion of users, it literally rented a plane last week to deliver additional servers to its data center.

Kik improves the SMS experience, which Founder Ted Livingston describes as expensive, slow and unreliable. When users ping someone using the Kik app, they can see when they’ve received the message, when they’re typing, and the message is delivered almost instantaneously. It’s a lot like BlackBerry Messenger, but it works across iPhone (iPhone), Android (Android) and BlackBerry phones (though we find it interesting that the app seems to have been removed from BlackBerry App World).

Other IM apps like Google Talk (google talk) and AIM (aim) also provide instantaneous, free messages between phones, but users of these services usually view them as desktop services. Kik lives on mobile, so nobody in the network will leave it at home. The company’s next project is to bring the same instantaneous mobile sharing experience to photos. Ultimately, they hope to build a social network that lives on your phone but can be transferred to other devices like computers and game consoles.

“Facebook (Facebook) is a social network where desktop is at the center and mobile is just an extension of it,” Livingston says. “Really what we’re trying to do is build a mobile social network where mobile is at the center and desktop is an extension of it.”

There’s no plan for monetizing the new and growing giant user base, but the Canada-based company is getting a lot of attention from VCs. “The Waterloo airport has been busier than it usually is,” Livingston puts it.


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