People always seem to be looking for the next hot new mobile web-based app that performs a new and creative function and captures their attention, such as Twitter has done. New apps always set out trying to acquire larger audiences than their competitors, but most never even approach their goal. However, the dating app Skout has been busy trying to quietly take over the world.
Skout is a social networking and dating application and one of the first mobile dating apps to emphasize a user’s general location. In 2007 Skout was founded as a mobile-web social network by Niklas Lindstrom and Christian Wiklund, Skout’s CTO and CEO respectively. Skout was re-launched in 2009 as a dating application after recognizing that over 80 percent of users were using Skout as a dating platform. Which the found out about through Facebook interactions.
People are always using their smartphones to connect with others, whether for friendship, casual dating, or finding a lasting relationship. The Skout app helps people meet up locally using GPS-match mapping, like many other dating applications, employing the global positioning system in a smartphone to help users find each other within a set predetermined radius. While Skout doesn’t have the same draw of a Match.com, Skout is continually looking for fresh and innovative ways to capture and engage more people.
While searching, users are able to view both the profile and recent activities of a user they find interesting. To protect a person’s privacy, Skout doesn’t identify a user’s exact location and users are also able to opt-out of the locating feature on iPhone. Additionally, the GPS location feature is only enabled for adult users.
Skout, and its investors, are betting big on a new secondary messaging app called “Fuse,” which is a combination of group messaging and ephemerality, like Snapchat. Once anyone begins a Fuse everyone else has only ten minutes to reply. Once the session ends, as indicated by a timer going off, all the contents inside the Fuse are automatically and permanently deleted. This function creates a little pressure for people to get involve right away or risk their chance to speak.
The Fuse app also allows users to post in what is known as “Ghost Mode,” keeping their replies anonymous. Christian Wiklund, Skout’s CEO points out that Fuse can be looked at almost like a dinner conversation, meaning the app is contextually based on whoever is currently near you. While this feature seems to be very popular it may actually act as a barrier in getting to know someone as people are more likely to say things anonymously than they would if they were face-to-face.
In addition to receiving $22 million in investment capital from Andreessen Horowitz, Skout received start-up funding from several early-stage investors including Jarl Mohn, founding president and CEO of Liberty Digital, Janice Brandt, of AOL, and Hans Akerblom, founder of Scandinavian Leadership AB. Skout’s board reported the company became profitable during December 2013.
Skout is available in 14 languages and 180 countries worldwide. Skout also has a travel feature, aptly named “Travel,” allowing users to meet others while away from their home area. Users can also instant message and send virtual gifts. Skout is available for both Android an iOS smartphone operating systems and reports over a billion connections have been made with its app.