Need new friends? Social network Badoo will help — now 150M strong

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While Facebook has focused on keeping in touch with the boring minutia of your current friends’ lives, social networking competitor Badoo has taken the opposite approach as a platform to make new friends. Badoo announced this morning that it will reach 150 million users today, right on the heels of its U.S. launch in March.

The growth is a 60 percent increase from a year ago, according to ComScore data, and it’s now adding more than 125,000 new users every day. Badoo says it has 35 million active users monthly, and it remains profitable with an annual run rate of $150 million.

Badoo credits strong mobile growth as a big factor in the milestone. Since November of last year, Badoo’s mobile penetration jumped 100 percent, and its mobile revenues more than┬ádoubled. The company also now has more than 8 million users in the U.S., though it already had 6 million users here before its March launch.

Badoo doesn’t really see itself as a Facebook competitor, chief marketing officer Jessica Powell told me at the company’s launch event in New York City. The company invited New Yorkers to a trendy SoHo spot (above) — complete with a hip DJ and hipsters too cool to speak to you in public — to be photographed by professionals to create the ultimate profile pic. Badoo users voted on the best pictures taken, and those users are now starring in Badoo ads plastered all over New York City.

Powell stressed the inclusive nature of Badoo — it’s not exactly for early adopters, and a brief glance at Badoo profiles in your area reveals a far more diverse selection of users than other social networks. The company was founded in 2006, but as Facebook’s popularity rose, Badoo founder Andrey Andreev pivoted the company into more of a friend-finding tool. Since then, growth has exploded, Powell tells me.

Using Badoo feels a lot like using an online dating service, which could explain its popularity. After creating a profile, you can see other members in your area, chat with them, or even follow them by adding their profiles to your favorites. You can also use Badoo to arrange meetups. Adding to the dating site vibe, pretty much all of the site’s profile pics are from awkward self-shots, and guys for some reason just can’t keep their shirts on.

Still, with Facebook’s emphasis on your existing friends, there’s room for a service like Badoo to shine. It’s becoming a noteworthy online presence in terms of sheer ubiquity, as it’s now available in 180 countries and supports more than 40 languages.

badoo NYC launch


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