For Formspring, curiosity makes for a killer app

Formspring CEO Ade Olonoh has hit a major milestone in its relatively short lifespan. The 18-month-old San Francisco-based startup, which allows users to create profile pages on which anonymous people can ask them questions, now has 25 million registered users.

Although he declined to specify how many of those users are active on a regular basis, Formspring CEO Ade Olonoh told me in an interview Monday that one million people post responses on Formspring every day. And an even greater number of people show up at Formspring to check out the Q&A action as spectators: The site sees approximately 40 million monthly unique users, Olonoh told me.

Formspring did not get this large without outside help. The company has raised some $14 million in venture capital since its inception in January 2010 from a host of A-list investors including Redpoint Ventures, Baseline Ventures, Freestyle Capital, SV Angels, Maples Investments, Chris Sacca, Dave Morin and Kevin Rose.

Formspring has been criticized for providing a forum for teenagers to bully and tease each other while hiding behind the anonymity enabled by the site. But the company has worked overtime in recent months to build up more positive use cases — and a more credible user base. To wit: Marvel Comics senior vice president of publishing Tom Brevoort has used Formspring to answer nearly 900 questions about X-Men, and such celebrities as Enrique Iglesias have created Formspring accounts to interact with their fans.

The company is actively adding more product features and plans to roll out new mobile capabilities in the months ahead. The company is also working on its monetization strategy and should implement some revenue-generating capabilities by year’s end, Olonoh told me. Formspring currently has 27 employees and, like a lot of tech startups in the Valley these days, Olonoh said his company is looking to hire “pretty aggressively,” particularly in its engineering department.

One thing is certain: Formspring seems dedicated to grow beyond its initial status as a popular fad for young people. The company is off to a solid start, but whether its user base will continue to grow along with it remains to be seen.