07/31/2013 03:02 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Fun Facts About a Dating App With a Conscience

Some boys want sex. Some want more friends. Some want something in between. As with almost everything, there is usually an app for that. However, some contend that there is a need for gay-specific apps. If you're a straight boy, you can tell who on the street is female, but gays can't always tell who else on the street is gay, and with gay men accounting for only 2.5 percent of the general population, we're not always going to meet each other.

In the land of gay apps for mobile devices, Hornet seems to strike a chord with gay men looking for experiences other than, say, hooking up. Though the app is used for "NSA" (no-strings-attached) sex at times, Hornet co-founder Sean Howell, who is almost as invested in fighting for gay rights in Russian as he is in being a successful technology CEO, says that Hornet's success lies in being "less sleazy" than the rest of the pack. Hornet is "showing that you can have a less sleazy app and do well, which is a common misconception about the [gay app] space, and we're proving that," he said.

"We hit 1 million users and 178 million sessions after only 18 months," he added. To put that number into perspective, it took Tumblr 27 months to reach 1 million users, while it took Pinterest 20 months and Twitter 24 months.

How can Howell assert his app is not as sleazy as the rest? Well, that's easy. According to him, nearly all their profiles contain tame face and profile pictures, unlike the other players in the market, such as Grindr.

Howell also points to interesting data that Hornet has compiled:

  1. Android users send 22-percent more messages than do iOs users, but iOs users send a whopping 37-percent more pictures.
  2. Houston is the biggest city with more Hornet users on Android than on iOs.
  3. App usage patterns:
    • Users wake up in the morning and scroll through profiles (lots of them) more than they chat.
    • Users fall asleep with intense chat patterns with one other user.
    • It's after work that users chat with the greatest number of new users.
    • Contrary to popular myths, people aren't chatting at work all day: Usage is highest before and after work hours.

Regardless of the reasons that folks are using these apps, the data provided by Hornet show that mounds of people are using their app. While no social network can replace face-to-face interaction, it seems that these apps are running a tight race with millions of people who aren't exactly welcomed with open arms in the real world.