Having just raised $35M in a Series D round, Foursquare, the location-based check-in service has brought its total funding to $147M, which it has raised since it came onto the scene in 2009. In that time, Foursquare has outlasted competitors such as Loopt, Gowalla, Brightkite, SCVNGR and even Google Latitude, which was discontinued a few months ago. With no strong competition and protection provided by a moat of 45 million registered users, 3 billion check-ins and 40 million tips at 70 million venues, Foursquare has an open runway for takeoff—however, it still remains somewhat unclear which direction to point the plane.
Though Foursquare is already turning revenue from several types of ad products for merchants, the company’s CEO, Dennis Crowley, mentioned recent funds are to “accelerate progress on passive geo technology and monetization work, begun in 2013.” As the author of this article elaborates, this is part of a “move to ‘proactive’ information delivered to users without the cognitive load that it takes remember to open an app, figure out what to ask it and sift through the answers it gives back.” In this way, Foursquare can act as an intelligent layer, analyzing our patterns and behaviors, giving us recommendations without us asking. In a future where everything you own is connected, the value of such a service is immense. Acting as the de facto location database on the internet and licensing out this powerful data would cement Foursquare’s place among the next batch of internet giants. I personally hope Foursquare can turn this corner, so for my own good I can be told to avoid Wendy’s before I get to the drive-thru window.