Foursquare raises $41 million

Location-based social networking site Foursquare has raised another $41 million, and plans to spend it building new features.
Written by Michael Lee, Contributor

Foursquare has raised another $41 million and plans to use the funds to build more features.

In a blog post on Thursday, Foursquare co-founder and CEO Dennis Crowley said the company has been able to raise the new funding from Silver Lake Waterman as well as its existing investors, Andreessen Horowitz, O'Reilly AlphaTech Ventures, Spark Capital, and Union Square Ventures.

Crowley wrote that the new funding will be used to build more tools to help businesses connect with customers, improve search, and build a "location layer for the internet" that will allow other companies to use location in their apps.

Foursquare's announcement comes a day after it celebrates its 3.5 billionth check-in, 500 million of which were made in the first quarter of 2013. It has 1.3 million businesses participating, and a user base of 33 million.

A 'hotmap' image of all Sydney CBD Foursquare check ins in the first quarter of 2013.
Sydney CBD Foursquare check ins for the first quarter of 2013. (Image: Foursquare; OpenStreetMap contributors, CC BY-SA 2.0

Now in its sixth major revision of its application code, the company is moving to produce personalised recommendations based on where a user is and where they last checked in.

It is not the first time that Foursquare has received a major funding round. In June 2011, it raised $50 million in venture capital, valuing the company at $600 million, but a lack of clarity as to how Foursquare would raise funds left many asking how it could be profitable.

That hasn't stopped others from speculating over a possible exit in the form of a buyout by Apple or Facebook, but Foursquare's plan appears to be its continued focus on small business owners.

The changes to its privacy policy tip the profitable use of data toward businesses, but possibly at a cost to users. When comparing Foursquare against other social media sites and web giants, the Electronic Frontier Foundation's (EFF) 2012 Who has your back? report gave Foursquare the lowest possible rating.

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