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Foursquare Rings Up Checks

Posted by Sheila Shayon on June 30, 2010 11:00 AM

Although it doesn’t name the hottest geosocial app around, we’re pretty sure the model in Verizon's new campaign spot is checking Foursquare via her Motorola Droid.

According to Mashable, “Foursquare told us that they gave Verizon permission to use its logos and screenshots and showed them the storyboards for the commercial. It’s a major win for the NYC-based startup, as it gives the service more exposure and buzz.”

It's been a rapid-growth year for the brand, which just closed a second round of financing for $20 million. A tip from co-founder Dennis Crowley’s tweet last week included Flickr photos of their soon-to-be enlarged New York office space.

It’s a pure digital success story, as lightning speed has catapulted this brand in one year from this June 29th, 2009, post by Crowley: “Naveen [Selvaduri, co-founder] and I - tired of working around my kitchen table - borrowed a desk from our friends at Curbed.com and Hard Candy Shell. Two months later we brought on our first hire (Harry!) and a few weeks after closed on our first round of financing: $1.35m.”

The blog continues, the funding will “build a world-class engineering organization,” and, “develop the next generation of mobile + social + local products that will excite our users and provide unique value for local merchants.”

Since launching last March at SXSW in Austin, Foursquare has racked up 1.8 million plus users and is adding about 10,000 new ones daily. The startup is now in partnership with over 10,000 businesses, including Starbucks, Bravo TV, Zagat’s and The New York Times. Their present staff is 30.

Its VC funding is now at $20 million including a significant investment by Andreessen Horowitz, which gives the company a market valuation of $95 million.

Marc Andreesen, co-founder of Netscape, likes Foursquare for its mobile services and applications potential. “There are already over 200 million smartphones out there and growing fast. We’d like to see them build out the company to capture that opportunity,” he told the New York Times.

Rampant speculation had Foursquare in acquisition conversation with Facebook and Yahoo, but Crowley commented, “We’ve got this robust and ambitious road map. I really feel that we haven’t gotten far enough through it and we’re still scratching the surface for opportunities. We’re really after connecting local merchants with their best customers. The opportunity here is much larger than we originally thought.”

Turning a location-sharing game replete with points, badges and “mayor” status at local bars and restaurants has created a unique marketing tool for local advertisers and businesses. Hyper-local is the new black as everybody strives to engage customers more…well, more locally.

Rival hyper-local start-ups include, Loopt, MyTown, Gowalla and BrightKite. And the big boys -- Google Latitude, and Facebook, notably -- are planning location features soon.
As the Verizon ad says, when it comes to geolocation, “the most powerful transmitter is you."

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