This is the most bizarre twist that we’ve seen on a dating app all year. Bilin, a Chinese app that lets you call and chat with total strangers in your area, is no fly-by-night app, as today the startup revealed that it has secured $15 million in series A funding from Qiming Venture Partners and Morningside Ventures.
You can filter the app’s users by gender in your area, and then browser their profiles. But you can’t just call someone out of the blue – first you have to send a written request, which allows you to call that person – if they accept – for a 24-hour period. There’s also a way to block people. Here’s what it looks like:
As you can see in the image above, there are quite a few people using the app for – ahem – work purposes. But, to be fair, there seems to be a large amount of normal users as well, mostly people aged 17 to 25. I don’t see Bilin taking off in the same way as Momo, but it looks like an alternative to paying for an extortionate phone chat-line if you’re bored and really want to talk with another human.