A Foursquare recap, plus predictions and insights for the start of 2019

The way many of us view tech changed in 2018.

In 2019, consumers will ask for more from the products and tools they use every day, and demand empathy and excellence from the companies in their orbit. They will want companies to take a stance on the issues that matter, and to foster a more direct and open relationship with them. It’s my belief that the best and most responsible tech companies will be the first to respond to this demand.

At Foursquare, we have always believed it’s important to lead by example. We do this by devoting ourselves to data quality; to transparency and privacy; and to fostering a close connection with our clients and consumers. …

Announcing Foursquare’s latest investment round led by Simon Ventures, Naver Corp. and Union Square Ventures

It’s six months until Foursquare celebrates its 10th anniversary. In the past decade, we’ve built a company that’s now the gold-standard location partner for many of the world’s leading tech giants and brands. We’ve grown from a consumer app into a leading location technology platform, with media, enterprise and SaaS solutions for thousands of retailers, restaurant groups, publishers, developers, ad-tech companies and more.

Today, we announce the first close of a new round of equity funding: $33M co-led by strategic investors Simon Ventures and Naver Corp. and by Union Square Ventures. (The first close of $25M occurred on Friday, we anticipate a secondary close of at least $8M by year’s end.) Each investor chose to participate because they believe in our business and our future. Our Series F is more than fuel for our ambitious goals and roadmaps — it’s backing by investors, including those with ties to notable companies, who canvassed the industry in search of a leader, and selected Foursquare. …

Foursquare partners with Shutterstock, Tinder, Vimeo, and Warby Parker on a Net Neutrality ad campaign that launches today
By Jeff Glueck & Dennis Crowley

You arrived at this post because the Internet, as we know it, allows you to access everything you want, and quickly. There’s no fast lane or slow lane; every service and platform is treated equally. It’s a thing of beauty, really, when you think about how it’s all fair and level, and insights and information are always within easy grasp.

That’s not all. Because of a fast and free internet, start-ups and small businesses compete against giants. They have the chance, like Foursquare did and like many others too, to rise up from obscurity. Young companies and brands have a fighting chance to grow into themselves, and to attract traffic and eyeballs and attention. …

And announcing our new Chicago engineering office

January is an exciting time for an ambitious company like Foursquare. It affords teams a moment in which to digest the final results of the year behind, while setting the course and cadence for the 12 months ahead. It’s a moment for numbers and self-reflection, creative ideation and hard-nosed planning.

Since much of our work — from our beloved consumer apps to our location intelligence business solutions — is rooted in data, we thought we’d take a moment to share some of our own numbers and celebrate how hard the team here has worked, in one of the great comeback stories in the tech industry. …

Two case studies help illustrate the impact of opening early on Thanksgiving

Every year, it seems like Black Friday deals start earlier and earlier. Some brands famously refuse to open on Thanksgiving to preserve the sanctity of the holiday, give their employees the time off, or to make a stand for their brand. Others are opting to open before Thanksgiving dinner is even served.

For the moment, we are putting aside the intangible moral and ethical debate, and are looking purely at the statistics. As the leader in location intelligence, Foursquare has the unique ability to observe broad cultural trends by analyzing the foot traffic of users of our apps, Foursquare City Guide and Foursquare Swarm, and selected partners that leverage our location technology. We used this data — always anonymously and in aggregate to protect privacy — to examine the situation from an economic point of view. When should retailers actually open their doors? …

Earlier this summer, when Amazon and Walmart scooped up Whole Foods and Bonobos, speculation swirled around these two retail behemoths each striving to become the ultimate shopping destination — both on and offline. Today’s news of a Walmart/Google partnership confirms that the competition is heating up.

Foursquare is an independent location intelligence company without inside knowledge on either purchase. Yet we can make informed recommendations about which brands Amazon and Walmart should target next using our proprietary data-driven insights*. …

International tourism to the U.S. down by double digits, likely impacting retail sales and employment

Last month, the U.S. government published the Q1 2017 economic growth figures, and many economists were disappointed to see anemic GDP growth under 1%. Simultaneously on the political front, the nation has been occupied by the news of administration shakeups and the debates on national security, not to mention in-flight tech limitations and changing immigration and tourism visa policies.

So far, however, there has been little talk of the connection between the domestic economy (particularly retail and hospitality) and foreign tourism to America. As a location intelligence company with some 50 million users monthly spread over 190 countries, Foursquare has unique data assets that can jump-start the conversation. Over 13 million smartphone users have opted-in to our global research panel and share “always on” location trails; we are able to detect when these phones travel and when they walk in or out of 93 million public places around the world (via check-ins and when apps that rely on our Pilgrim technology are running in the background). …

Beta partners include Taco Bell, TGI Fridays, H&M, Lowe’s and Equinox

Imagine you’re a T.J. Maxx analyst, and in every business publication, you read about store closures, defection to e-commerce and the struggle of the American retailer to survive. Many are panicking, and yet, your business feels stable. Since the 1990s, T.J. Maxx has had consecutive years of comparable-store sales increases. So you look around and wonder: is my confidence warranted? What am I missing? …

From the first day I joined Foursquare, I understood that our company should rightfully become the leader in location intelligence.

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Last week, I had the opportunity to participate in a fun and spirited live Q&A on Quora, where I was asked questions by the community on everything from career advice to questions about copy-cat tech features and my recommendations for the most useful business books out there for start-ups.

I’m happy to report that the session received great engagement and plenty of commentary. The most upvoted and shared question is “what can be expected from Foursquare in the next few years?,” so I wanted to share it here on Medium. …

Understanding a consumer’s path to purchase is tricky but crucial for marketers and advertisers, especially for brands with substantial brick and mortar sales. For e-commerce, the process is somewhat simpler: digital ads link to online purchases, leveraging the “cookie” for accountability.

Yet only 8% of US consumer spending takes place online. The rest happens in the real world in storefronts, auto dealerships, restaurants, malls, grocery stores and more. And there is no “cookie” for the physical world… until now. In a mobile-first world, new ways to understand real world movement and spending are opening up, thanks to advances in technology.

As a location intelligence company, Foursquare has spent more than seven years building a sharp map of the world and has a unique understanding of how consumers move through it. …


Jeff Glueck

CEO Foursquare, ex CEO Skyfire, ex CMO Travelocity, co-founder site59.com. http://t.co/Ypl79jP9u1

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