Ruminations of a Taco-Obsessed Philly Native

As a taco/restaurant lover, I’m always willing to travel to try out a new place.  But the problem is that restaurants are more fun with people.  That’s why it’s helpful to have an app like Skout that makes it easier to meet new people, that have the same interests as me.

Skout is a location-based social network available on iOS and Android devices as well as a dedicated website. The focus of the application and accompanying website is to meet new people, anywhere in the world. The application uses a smartphones GPS to to find other uses in the general vicinity, but doesn’t give users exact locations. Users can meet new people in their local area, or virtually travel to other locations. The application promotes serendipitous meetings and chats using simple technology. The aim of the application is to meet new people, leading to strong relationships that are either purely platonic or something more.

The Early Stages
Created in 2007 by Christian Wiklund and Niklas Lindstrom, Skout started off as a simple social network. At that time, Skout was merely a social networking website where people could connect. It wasn’t until the 2009 relaunch that the website focused more on making romantic connections. This was due to the founders’ realization that 83% of the website’s then 200,000 members were using the network for dating. Along with a revamped website, the iOS application launched with much success. The Android application was launched the following year.

Gaining Momentum
In the following years, Skout gained users. It was one of the iPhone’s first location-based dating services, so the brand and service expanded. Surveys within the Skout application concluded that majority of the users had success in meeting others in the real world through the application. The popularity of Skout made mobile dating services more common and widely accepted. With the launch of Skout OUT, the network allowed people to create connections offline. The interactive touch screen was installed in various venues and allowed users to flirt, dedicate songs, and send messages to others in the venue or nearby venues.

Strong Funding
By 2010, numerous applications launched to follow the success of Skout. Competitors muddled the social networking market, but never compared to how easy Skout is to access and download. At this point, Skout had a staff count of three, including the original founders. It had acquired 4.6 million in funding since its advent, with profit and losses dipping back and forth. The mobile application had seen tens of millions of downloads, despite the competition. By 2012, Skout had a larger staff count and received massive funding. The company raised $22 million in venture capital from Andreessen Horowitz. This funding has allowed the network to expand. The company was able to further develop the mobile application and network into what it is today.

Expansion
Skout expanded tremendously since their massive venture capital funding. In fact, the number of active users tripled and the number of connections made by users quadrupled just a year after this funding. Skout began adding new features that proved to be beneficial in terms of profit. They included a paid feature that allows users to connect with others all over the world. Furthermore, the application includes ways for users to send virtual gifts using real currency. Additionally, community features have allowed users to monitor the application themselves. This strengthened the community within the application and created a stronger relationship with users, and also led to creating additional apps like Fuse.

Today, Skout is continuing to thrive and grow. The mobile application and website is continually adapting, becoming more user friendly and fun to use. The mobile application is still among the top 25 social networking applications in the Apple store and continues to see new users and growth.

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