January 25, 2011

Foursquare Announces Rising Membership

Location-sharing social networking website Foursquare announced Monday that its ranks over the past year grew by 3,400 percent and that it now has more than six million registered members.

The company has enough money to see it through to the end of this year and is in no rush for a sale of public offering, co-founder Dennis Crowley told Reuters at the DLD media conference in Munich.

Foursquare, which helps users find their friends and local recommendations by "checking in" to show where they are, grew from 100,000 users to more than 6 million last year and has raised $20 million in funding last summer.

"We're in a good spot right now," said Crowley. "We've got enough money to go through the end of the year."

He said the company did not rule out the option of raising more money before then, but did say: "We're 10 to 20 percent of where the roadmap is supposed to end. It's just too early to get off the ride."

Analysts expect to see a variety of high-profile Internet companies go public and some observers wonder whether another tech bubble may be forming.

Foursquare hopes to change the way consumers experience places by showing them information supplied by the consumer's own network of contacts.

"It really changes the way that I think people go out and experience the world," Crowley told Reuters reporter Georgina Prodhan. "We're taking things that people really love about the online experiences and social networking online ... and applying them to the real world."

Apart from that side of the business, which is free to consumers, Foursquare is trying to build relationships with local merchants such as cafes or bars that are recommended by its members, and helping them connect directly with those consumers.

"We can show you almost like a dashboard of the types of people that go there, who's coming during the day, who your best users are," Crowley said. "We're building tools that allow you to communicate ... back out to those users."

About 60 percent of Foursquare's user base is in the United States, with most of the rest in Europe, Japan, southeast Asia and South America. It has partnered with mobile carriers to extend its network to new audiences.

Foursquare said its six millionth user signed up last week. During the course of last year the service logged check-ins from every country and one from an astronaut in space.

"Honestly, 2010 was just insane," the New York City-based social network said in an online post. 


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