MeetMe announced today that it has acquired the mobile flirting app startup Skout for $28.5 million cash and approximately 5.37 million shares in the social discovery company — estimated at $54.6 million. Under terms of the deal, it’s expected that Skout will remain operational and continue as a standalone brand following the close of the acquisition, which is expected to be in October.
Started off as a Loopt-like location-based service, Skout eventually pivoted to focus on real-time, local connections. Its primary iOS app launched in 2009 and today has 3.5 million monthly active users, with an average of 42,000 new registered users coming onto the platform every day. In 2015, the company generated $23.8 million in revenue.
Founded by Niklas Lindstrom and Christian Wiklund, Skout raised more than $22 million in funding, with most coming from Andreessen Horowitz. The company has one acquisition of its own under its belt, having picked up nightlife app Nixter in 2014 as a means of bringing together online and offline interactions.
But while Skout had a vision of bringing people together, the app wasn’t without controversy. It once had to shut down its under-18 community after claims of abuse in the service, specifically, allegations of rape taking place among its users. A month later, the company said that it had cleaned up its act and implemented new controls to better protect children using the service.
With the acquisition, MeetMe hopes to leverage Skout’s technology to improve its recommendation engine, chat, and other services, while adding to its user count. In a statement, MeetMe CEO Geoff Cook said that joining the two companies “provides a pathway to $100 million in revenue in 2018, with adjusted EBITDA margins approaching 45 percent.”
“We share not only the same vision, but also many of the same key engagement metrics, including roughly the same number of chats per user per day, as well as a familiar advertising-driven business model,” he continued.
MeetMe revealed that combined with Skout, its mobile monthly active user count will grow 69 percent to 8.5 million, and it’ll expect 96 percent more daily chats to be sent, from 29.2 million to 57.2 million.