Social, Mobile, Local

Loopt, Whrrl, Brightkite, Meetro and many other promising young startups have all ended up as casualties on the Hamburger Hill called social, mobile, local.  With the emergence of a critical mass of GPS enabled smartphones, it stands to reason that that there would be an important new social graph to be discovered. C’mon, don’t you want to know when your friends are near you? How about a serendipitous meeting at an airport?

As it turns out—not really.

Foursquare was first to crack the code… It was really the first killer mobile, social, local application and it, at first, had nothing to do with meeting up with your friends. It used clever game mechanics to get users to check into places they frequent. As a tech savvy old dude, I enjoyed my short reign as mayor of many of my Millennial-free establishments. When I checked in to a new place, I saw the picture and name of the mayor and immediately looked around to see if they happened to be there at the same time. Hmm… New person, near me, with a name and picture—imagine that?!

This was one of the key insights that Christian Wiklund and Niklas Lindstrom had when they were forming Skout—people actually want to meet people they don’t know. By focusing the product features around this phenomenon, Skout has exploded into the largest network for meeting new people—adding a million new users every month! Today, we are announcing that Andreessen Horowitz is leading Skout’s $22 million expansion round. Here’s why we’ve invested:

  • The founders, Christian and Niklas. are two of the most determined, creative, passionate and iterative entrepreneurs we’ve ever met. They traversed a long, hard road before figuring out the right combination of features that resonated with users.
  • The growth and engagement numbers are through the roof… The average Skouter checks in 8-9 times a day and spends an average of 45 minutes chatting, exchanging gifts and posting photos on the app.
  • Skout is obsessed about keeping the community fun and safe with a zero tolerance for bad behavior. They are over-investing in community management tools and people that monitor and eliminate inappropriate behavior.
  • Unlike most sites associated with dating, the application is inherently viral and doesn’t have the usual absurdly high marketing expenditures associated with filling the funnel.
  • Lastly, Skout is one of the few mobile apps that are monetizing at a high rate and are currently running at break even.

I’m thrilled to be joining Skout’s board of directors and can’t wait to help Christian and Niklas continue to grow the company into the premier global network for making connections and meeting new people, anywhere, anytime!

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