Business Profiles FS/Foursquare

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Foursquare is a location search and discovery app designed to produce personalized location recommendations, suggestions, and information for users based on the user’s “tastes”. It is based off of Dodgeball- a company founded by Dennis Crowley and Alex Rainert as a graduate school thesis. Dodgeball was acquired by Google in 2005 and, later, shut down in 2009. In 2007, both Crowley and Rainert left Google.
Despite his failure with Dodgeball, Crowley still believed in his original idea to personalize local search. In 2008, Crowley, along with Naveen Selvadurai (a friend from a start-up the two had been working at) founded Foursquare as a reinvention of Dodgeball for the Smartphone era. In 2012 Selvadurai left foursquare. As of now, Foursquare has yet to go public but is valued at $600 million. It has received $162.4 million in 6 rounds of funding from 18 investors. In April 2013 Foursquare received $41 Million in debt funding and, in December of that year, began series D funding from DFJ Growth & Smallcap World Fund. Microsoft joined as the latest investor in February 2014 with an additional round of series D funding of $15 million. Despite large investments, it is unclear if Foursquare is actually profitable.
Foursquare is designed to take advantage of smartphone GPS services to allow users to explore, connect, and interact with their surroundings. Initially, Foursquare included a social component; allowing users to “check in”, earn “badges”, share their location, and become “mayor” of a place. The latest iteration (8.0) has deleted these features transferring then to a companion app called Swarm. The move to split into two apps has been met with criticism from longtime users. The split seems like a strange move as one of the main strengths of Foursquare seems to be its ability to foster relationships between users and the places they go. The new direction of Foursquare may be poised to undermine the inherently social nature of the original product. Additionally, removing the social aspects positions Foursquare to compete directly with other rating sites such as Yelp.

Formerly Dodgeball/ Google Latitude [1]
Formerly Gowalla [2]
Jiepang (China): “the Foursquare of China” [3]
Shopkick [4]
the new move away from social checking in may be as a response to competitors abilities to provide the same features.

Sources: [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10]