In mid-December, Techcrunch reported 50K users for Gowalla and 150K users for Foursquare: http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/1…
To get today's answer, go to http://foursquare.com/user/-240000 and change the trailing number to your best guess. You must use "The Price Is Right" algorithm: you can guess right and be under, but if you go over the answer, you will be redirected to their home page.
Our headquarters: http://foursquare.com/venue/128530
-harryh, engineering lead at foursquare.com
Foursquare is in talks to be acquired by Yahoo for $900 million on April 15, 2015. I've included the full deal history table pulled from PitchBook to show funding at each round.
It's hard to say since they haven't publicly said much and they are a big company so its hard to generalize about individual employee's perspectives, but one thing is: Google launched a fairly similar product called Latitude in the last few months which indicates that they think the location broadcasting space is valuable or at least interesting.
FWIW, Foursquare won the 2009 Crunchies award for best mobile app, and Gowalla was runner up.
On the surface, Foursquare solves one of the problems faced by early location-based social networks like Loopt and Whrrl: the lack of background processing on the iPhone. This issue basically rendered these products useless because a user had to open the app to update his/her location and there were few engaging reasons to do so. By adding the "check-in" feature and adding clever game mechanics to induce check-in behavior, Foursquare gets users to regularly open the app to update their followers with their location.
Under the surface (and where the real value of Foursquare rests), the whole game is a front. It is all a vehicle for generating and amassing customer data for local businesses. By and large, local brick-and-mortar businesses (unlike their online competitors) have little to no data about their customers; there are few (if any) great ways for a restaurant, bar or small retailer to know who visits, when and how often. Foursquare can, in theory, address this. It could essentially become a CRM for local merchants. Offering deals to mayors is just the beginning. With the data Foursquare is collecting, a local merchant can know if a regular customer starts coming less and try to bring them back. They can build loyalty/rewards programs, offer highly targeted coupons/discounts and so on.
In this sense, Foursquare's addressable market is the local advertising market, which totals hundreds of billions of dollars across all forms of locally targeted media. It becomes much more interesting if Foursquare finds a way to tie its check-in data to actual transactions. Not sure how they'd do that, but there are pretty significant medium/long-term synergies between Foursquare and Jack Dorsey's Square.
The big problem for Foursquare is making local merchants (generally not a particularly tech-savvy bunch) aware of its existence and selling them on the value it can add. This is probably not insurmountable, but it is usually expensive.
Foursquare is a social utility before anything else. The goal of foursquare is to make things that make cities easier to use and we leverage game mechanics to help users in that stead. Social utility first, game second.
The weekend hasn't even ended yet. I think Foursquare has a definite advantage. I wrote an article about it here: http://blogs.zdnet.com/weblife/?…
– Union Square Ventures
– O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures
– Jack Dorsey (Twitter (product) creator)
– Kevin Rose (Digg)
– Joshua Schachter (Delicious)
– Alex Rainert (Dodgeball)
– SV Angels / Ron Conway
– Chad Stoller (friend)
– Sergio Salvatore (friend)