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Foursquare's new CEO to shift company focus beyond consumers

It made a majority of last year's revenue from B2B, not consumers.
Nicole Lee, @nicole
January 14, 2016
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Foursquare gambled big two years ago when it split its app in two. Unfortunately, that hasn't worked out so well. Despite reinstating universal mayorships and leaderboards into Swarm (it's spin-off check-in app), the company has yet to regain much of the glory of its early days. Now it appears the company might be changing directions to seek profits elsewhere. Today, Foursquare announced that Jeff Glueck (its COO for the past year and a half) would be its new CEO, while founder Dennis Crowley would step into an executive chairman role. And with this news comes another one: it looks like Foursquare is about to shift much of its focus away from consumers and toward the enterprise.

Not many people know this, but Foursquare's robust location API is actually heavily used in other apps. In a blog post by new CEO Glueck today, he said that Foursquare counts some of the biggest companies in the world as its customers. Apple, for example, uses Foursquare data for business listings in Maps, while Twitter lets you append Foursquare-sourced location info to your tweets so you can read the Twitter musings of those nearby.

Notably, Glueck also says that two of its most recent B2B focuses now drive the majority of Foursquare's revenue. They are Pinpoint, its programmatic ad platform, and Enterprise Solutions, which are location analytics tools (also known as Place Insights) for developers. These two endeavors "grew revenues 170 percent and 160 percent respectively in 2015." Marketers can use the ad platform, for example, to find out if you go to the same sports bar every week and would then serve you an ad for a certain brand of alcohol. Stores can use location analytics to, say, measure foot traffic on Black Friday, or to predict business trends.

Of course, Foursquare isn't giving up on its consumer-facing apps just yet. It claims over 50 million monthly active users on both apps, after all. But it's beginning to look like Foursquare's focus will lean far more towards the enterprise side of things -- and potentially away from the consumer -- in the near future.

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