So the news leaked a bit early last week, but we wanted to write up a more ‘formal’ post on foursquare’s seed financing. We couldn’t be any happier with the way it played out — the financing is split between Union Square Ventures (USV), O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures (OATV) and handful of angels. (And we think you’re going to like the angels when we announce them later on, too).
We’re building foursquare because this is what we love doing – building things that make it easier to meet up with friends, building things that make cities easier to use, building things that make random nights more fun. While we have a well defined idea of what direction we’re going and the big ticket items we want to build, we rely heavily on the feedback we receive from you all to help us decide what features to roll out next, what cities we should be launching, and what will make the product better, easier to use and more interesting.
And while this round of financing allows us to make foursquare our full time jobs, we wanted to talk specifically about what all our users should expect to get in return:
+ Better Reliability. This weekend was a disaster :) While we were migrating to a new database and switching domain names (did you notice we grabbed foursquare.com? :), the news of our financing leaked out and crushed us. Over the past few weeks, we’ve been quietly re-writing a lot of our server architecture in an effort to prevent crashes like this from happening in the future and to make our platform much more flexible for adding new features / game mechanics / badges, etc. The financing allowed us to bring on Harry about a month ago, and with any luck, we’ll be bringing on a fourth soon.
+ A Better Product in General. There’s a lot of things that are a little wonky with foursquare right now – the UI behind “tips” needs some love; We don’t handle chain-restaurants and duplicates very well; We have some issues with people trying to game the leaderboard. With a two person team, we’ve struggled to keep up with all of your feature suggestions and bug reports. With a few more folks all working together, you’re really going to start to see us getting things done.
+ BlackBerry app! Yes, it’s in development. :) As soon as we felt good about the financing going thru, we hired our friend Pete to start working on it. Give us another few weeks (the demo already looks really hot!)
+ More cities. Our most requested “feature” is to bring foursquare to more cities. Starting tomorrow (!!) with Vancouver we’re going to experiment with “crowdsourcing” new cities – allowing users to populate city listings instead of relying solely on third party data providers. If this works the way we think it may, the plan is to expand to cities all over the world.
+ The API. Both the Android app (which is amazing, right?) and SocialGreat were built on top of our API (currently in private beta). Soon we’ll open this for everyone to play with and we’re looking forward to seeing what people come up with.
+ Venue Outreach. Some of the most interesting things we’re seeing with foursquare are coming from venues reaching out to their customers. From free drinks to free hotel stays, we’ve been consistently surprised with how clever venues have been at co-opting foursquare as their own. With the help of our friend Tristan Walker at Stanford (@tristanwalker), we’ll be exploring more ways foursquare can work with local businesses. If this is something your cafe / coffee shop / bar / restaurant is interested in, ping us!
And that’s about it for now. Again, we can’t be any more excited about building foursquare going forward and we’re thankful for all the help and support we’ve had along the way (that includes everyone reading this!). A special thanks to everyone who’s been with us since SXSW and stuck with us thru all our scaling woes (is there a badge for that?)… and here’s to 1000 good things looking forward,
- dens / naveen / harryh