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 an additional $27.5 million in new funding from GGV Capital Redpoint, Signia, Greycroft, Progression, Crosscut Grishin Robotics, I2BF, and Waverley Capital, among others. The round is an extension of 9count’s earlier Series A and includes only its existing investors.
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.