Tech companies want your location data, and over the years, Foursquare has banked a lot of it from willing users.
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Originally billed as a social media competitor to the likes of Twitter, Foursquare essentially invented sharing your location for rewards such as becoming the “mayor” of your favorite coffee spot. Founded in 2009, it even once had a Blackberry app.
But it turns out checking into your preferred watering hole was a feature of social media, not a company in and of itself. As a result, Foursquare has somewhat painfully moved away from its ambitions of being a consumer facing social network. Nowadays, it’s more appropriate to describe the company as a location data provider. And its latest round of funding seems to confirm that.
Announced in a Medium post, Foursquare confirmed yesterday a $33 million Series F raise, running up a total VC tab of $240.4 million, according to Crunchbase. Its last round, a $45 million Series E, was announced two years ago. No update to its last known pre-money valuation of $300 million has been disclosed.
For a late-stage startup that’s been operating for nearly a decade, it’s a very humble sum of money to raise. Late-stage rounds are generally enormous in 2018, persistently reaching into the hundreds of millions. A Series F round in 2018 averages to $148.4 million, according to Crunchbase.
But Foursquare seems to making up for its small raise with investor loyalty. Union Square Ventures, an investor in the company since it launched, partook in Foursquare’s latest cash infusion. The firm ran by Fred Wilson has also participated in Foursquare’s Series B ($20 million), Series C ($50 million), and Series E ($45 million). The Series F round also added two new strategic investors: Simon Investors and Naver Corp.
As told by Foursquare CEO Jeff Glueck in the Medium post announcing the round, the company will use its Series F dollars to bolster engineering and product talent. It is also making more entrenched plays into enterprise, with plans to “build location functionality into apps, marketing campaigns and measurement, and CRM platforms.” Glueck notes 150,000 registered developers, including Apple, Microsoft (a Foursquare investor), Twitter (whose CEO is also an investor), and other major tech companies.
Overall, it seems that Foursquare has found its place in selling location data and the tools that make sense of it. And it’s likely a lucrative market to be in. However, it’s a firm step out of its original ambitions to become a location-based social network. But it just might be enough to finally put the company on a path to exit by way of acquisition or an IPO. After all, even the most loyal of investors need to make a return at some point.