Foursquare Is Finally Making Money

Dennis Crowley, creator of that clever, increasingly helpful app that's never quite taken off, has a new profile in Fast Company. The article navigates Crowley's giant ambitions for the geo-app, his insecurities about not reaching them so far, and reveals one important number: money.

It's easy to overlook money, particularly when your company doesn't need to make any to be considered an enormous success. But Fast Company's Austin Carr says Foursquare, after years of foundering, is pulling in more cash:

Later that month, when I press Foursquare investor Ben Horowitz about the startup's meager $2 million haul in 2012, he tells me the company has already exceeded last year's revenue by roughly four times. A back-of-the-envelope calculation indicates Foursquare is thus on track to take in around $15 million to $20 million in 2013—and the revenue growth could speed up as the company begins to charge more merchants and roll out more ad products.

Ten times the money would be great! Still, $20 million is peanuts compared to, say, Yelp, which Carr points out "saw $46.1 million in net revenue in the first quarter of this year alone." Foursquare's ripening business could mean it fetches a higher price tag in an inevitable sale to Apple or Facebook—both of which desperately need the startup's knowledge of where you've been—rather than avoiding an acquisition altogether.