Foursquare Closes $33 Million Funding Round, Aiming to ‘Refine’ Its Products

The company says over 150,000 developers are currently using its location data

Foursquare’s Meghan Lapides, Josh Cohen, Dennis Crowley, Jeff Glueck, Matt Kamen, Liz Ritzcovan, Rory Parness and Marc Ellenbogen (left to right). Foursquare

Foursquare closed a $33 million Series F equity funding round led by Simon Ventures, Naver and longtime backer Union Square Ventures. The company said the first close of $25 million took place last Friday, and it anticipates a secondary close with the remaining $8 million by year-end.

Simon Ventures is a retail- and tech-focused venture fund of The Simon Property Group, parent of Simon Malls, and Naver is the largest search engine in South Korea.

Foursquare debuted over nine years ago as a location-based mobile application that enabled users to share their whereabouts with friends. In May 2014, it moved the check-in component to a separate app, Swarm, and changed the focus of the Foursquare app to discovery. In April 2015, the company introduced its Pinpoint technology, which enabled marketers to use Foursquare’s location data for ad targeting across mobile devices and the web.

It has since reached agreements for its media, enterprise and software-as-a-service location technology with retailers, restaurant groups, publishers, developers and ad-tech companies, including Apple, Uber, Microsoft, Grab, Samsung, Twitter and Snapchat parent Snap Inc. Recent additions include Tinder, AccuWeather, Spotify, iHeartMedia, Hilton and Mapbox.

The company said in a statement that more than 150,000 developers are using its location data.

Foursquare intends to use the funds from this round to “refine and deeply connect” its products, including enabling marketers and developers to build its location functionality into their apps, marketing campaigns and platforms for measurement and customer-relationship management. The company also said it plans to expand its engineering team and “double down” on research and development.

Foursquare said in a statement detailing the funding round that “location is not a solved problem, and we are constantly improving our understanding of how a phone sees the world. … Although we pride ourselves on our nuanced understanding of malls, we’ll continue to upgrade our coverage of densely populated places and improve our ability to detect extremely short consumer visits—such as at a drive-through.”

They noted that they “recently explained the upgrades [they’ve] made with machine learning techniques,” too.

The company added, “Scale is another critical growth area: We’ve made tremendous strides in our addressable audiences through a steady drumbeat of new partners and data sources, using our first-party data as a differentiating truth set. We’re going to double down on intelligent scale during the fourth quarter and into 2019. We’ll be investing in product and will introduce the best-of-breed, integrated family of tools that our clients need.”

Foursquare currently has nearly 300 employees spread among its headquarters in New York, its sales and engineering offices in San Francisco and Chicago, its Los Angeles office and its sales office in Singapore.

The Raine Group advised Foursquare on the financing transaction. David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.