Foursquare raises US$20m in venture capital funding

30 Jun 2010

Geo-location social-networking service Foursquare has raised US$20m in a second round funding from Andreessen Horowitz, Union Square Ventures and O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures.

The Irish interest in this is that O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures is the venture capital arm of Corkman Tim O’Reilly.

The funding comes just weeks after Foursquare raised US$1.35m from Union Square, AlphaTech Ventures and a “handful of angels.”

Foursquare, founded by Naveen Selvadurai and Dennis Crowley, now employs 28 people in New York, has 1.8 million users and is growing at a rate of 10,000 new users a day.

“It’s been quite the year for Foursquare,” said Crowley in his company’s blog, announcing the investment.

“Last year at this time, Naveen and I – tired of working around my kitchen table – borrowed a desk from our friends at and Hard Candy Shell. Two months later, we brought on our first hire and a few weeks after closed on our first round of financing: $1.35m from Union Square Ventures, O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures and a handful of angels.

“Fast forward a year: We’re now 27 people strong. We can’t fit any more desks or chairs in our office so we’re borrowing cubes from our neighbours downstairs. We’re about to hit 1.8 million users and we’re seeing Super Swarms happen all over the world (Indonesia, you crazy!). In short, it’s been an amazing year for Foursquare. A huge thank you to anyone that’s ever unlocked a Newbie badge!”

Foursquare is rapidly becoming a marketing force, with 10,000 businesses forging partnerships with the company, including Starbucks, New York Times and Bravo TV.

The area of geo-commerce is set to dominate social media, with Facebook making noises about including geo-location functionality in its service while Twitter has unveiled its Places applications that allows people to include geographic information with their tweets.

Foursquare on the funding

On the US$20m funding, Crowley said having Silicon Valley legends Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz as investors is pivotal. “They know better than anyone how to transform start-ups into successful organisations. As we continue to rapidly expand to take advantage of the opportunities in front of us, Ben and Marc’s expertise in growing companies will be invaluable.”

Crowley said that with the new round of financing, Foursquare’s main priority will be to expand the organisation and build a world-class engineering organisation to develop the next generation of mobile, social and local products, especially for the business world.

“The new investment capital will also help fund the infrastructure needed to house our team and support our growing audience of nearly 2 million users.

“It’s been a crazy year for us and we’re expecting the next 12 months to be even more of an adventure. Look forward to more great product from us soon … we’re really just getting started,” Crowley said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years