The founder of Wink and Summer has announced that they have raised $27.5 million in a funding round.
Alex Hofmann once served as Musical.ly’s president, overseeing the North and South American markets for the TikTok precursor, then leaving shortly after the app exited to Chinese tech giant ByteDance in 2017. For his next act, the startup exec returned to the consumer social space with the launch of 9count — the maker of the popular friend-finder Wink, mobile dating app Summer (previously Spark), and others.
Though it’s typically difficult for new consumer social apps to gain widespread adoption, 9count’s apps have already seen some early traction — and investors have taken notice.
As a result, the company is today announcing additional funding from GGV Capital Redpoint, Signia, Greycroft, Progression, Crosscut Grishin Robotics, I2BF, and Waverley Capital, among others. The $6 million round is an extension of 9count’s earlier $21.5 million Series A and includes only its existing investors. To date, the company has raised $27.5 million.
In particular, 9count’s backers were impressed with the metrics coming out of Summer, which launched as Spark back in May but later rebranded. The dating app targets a younger demographic, ages 18 and up. But unlike traditional swipe-based dating apps, Summer’s differentiator is its grid that displays many users at once — an experience meant to more closely mimic the way it feels to walk into a crowded space in real life, like a bar or a party, for example.
“[Summer is retaining users] better than the top apps, especially in our strongest markets,” Hofmann told TechCrunch. “That just tells us that we’re on the right path with this product.
The 9count co-founder says Summer hit the No. 1 position in the App Store in two markets immediately following its launch and now has over 300,000 monthly active users, only a few months later. If looking at growth metrics alone, Hofmann claims it’s the fastest-growing dating app to hit the market since Bumble arrived in 2014. When he showed these figures to current investors, they wanted to double down on the app’s growth.