The founder of gay phone app Grindr has created a new service aimed at the mainstream.

Joel Simkhai, who launched Grindr two years ago, says new iPhone app Blendr will help people find dates and friendships nearby.

Speaking to the New York Times, Mr Simkhai said the app is aimed at those who want to make friends, as well as those who want sex or relationships.

He said: “Even if you’re a married man and you only want to meet other married men to play poker, you can set the settings to show those matches.”

Blendr uses mapping software to show potential friends and dates nearby and users can announce their locations, for example, at a cinema or event.

Users create a brief profile based on their interests, while privacy settings block unwanted interactions.

Currently, the free service is available on iPhone, iPad and Facebook.

Grindr has more than 1.65 million regular users in 180 countries worldwide, with London being the app’s most popular city.

Broadcaster Stephen Fry boosted the app’s popularity when he mentioned it on Top Gear in June 2009.

Last month, a Puerto Rican senator resigned after naked images of him surfaced on Grindr.

Although Mr Simkhai has said he believes gay men tend to use the app to make friends, it has been criticised for promoting sexual promiscuity.

He told PinkNews.co.uk earlier this year: “As a company we employ moderators to monitor content, but Grindr users are no more vetted than the ones you meet in bars or clubs.

“Do we encourage promiscuity? Not at all, the platform we provide is neutral in that sense. We simply make it easier to meet people, be that for friendship, dating or otherwise. We’ve even had a Grindr user get help to fix his broken down car using our app.”