Forty-thousand people a day are signing up to join Skout, a social network that turns mobile phones into flirting machines.
But don't feel bad if you're not one of them -- or if you've never even heard of the company. "We've definitely been under the radar," said Christian Wiklund, chief executive of the San Francisco startup.
That might change with Tuesday's announcement that venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz is pumping $22 million into Skout, the company's first round of venture funding.
"The thing is exploding," said Scott Weiss, a general partner at the venture firm. "I was part of the founding team at Hotmail, and it reminds me of that."
Time will tell if Skout meets the same kind of
But with more than a million new users a month swelling a customer base that spans more than 100 countries, Skout is already billing itself as "the largest mobile social network for meeting new people."
Wiklund founded the company in 2007 as a location-based social network to tell you where to find your friends.
But after struggling to gain traction against the likes of Loopt and Foursquare, Skout shifted gears two years ago.
"Flirting is one of those phenomenons that I think hasn't been fully appreciated in terms of its scope and depth," Weiss said.
Skout users can upload information about themselves and post photos, swap instant messages or exchange virtual gifts.
On Tuesday afternoon, for instance, a 30-year-old in Livermore with the handle "Drama Free Male" was broadcasting that he was "new to the area" and "interested in women." He was also seeking help planning his next vacation.
"A year ago, we had 30 million messages a month," said Wiklund, a first-time entrepreneur. "Now we have 300 million."
To keep users safe, the service doesn't reveal a person's exact location closer than a half-mile radius.
Skout users don't have to share their real names, and Wiklund said the company doesn't hesitate to ban users for bad behavior.
He expects to roughly double the startup's 50-person workforce in the coming year. Added Weiss: "This is a really interesting three-year overnight success."
Contact Peter Delevett at 408-271-3638. Follow him at Twitter.com/mercwiretap.