As we alluded to two days ago, the location-based social network Foursquare has just raised its first round of funding. PaidContent found out about the seed round through an SEC document, and we’ve confirmed the round with the company.
As expected, Union Square Ventures is one of the investors, but also participating in the round is O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures, and some angel investors, that co-founder Dennis Crowley was not ready to reveal at this point. The round is in fact $1.35 million.
For weeks, there has been plenty of talk about how Union Square’s Fred Wilson has taken a liking to the New York-based company. But it’s not Wilson who will be joining Foursquare’s board, instead that will be Union Square’s Albert Wenger.
Foursquare has been a hot startup among some tech early adopters, especially in cities like San Francisco and New York. The service is primarily used through its iPhone application right now, but it just launched an Android version, as we first reported two days ago. A BlackBerry app will be available in the coming weeks as well, and a Windows Mobile app could be available as soon as next month. There is also a mobile web interface that users can use.
Recently, Foursquare has started doing some things with its app to show the potential of using location for a business model. The company has started alerting users when there is a deal at a venue nearby. Right now, these deals are centered around “mayors” of places, meaning if a person has checked-in the most times at a location. Some venues are starting to offer deals like free beer to mayors, as it obviously benefits them to get people wantin to come back more to check-in.
Foursquare is an interesting player in the location space in that it’s just as much of a game as anything else. Users compete for mayorships, and try to earn badges and get points for checking in more places. The idea of the “check-in” rather than a constantly updated background location, also differentiates it, and makes some people less uneasy about the location tracking aspect, since you have to explicitly check-in at a location.
Foursquare was started by Crowley and Naveen Selvadurai, after Crowley rather famously left Google not exactly pleased with the company after they bought his previous (similar) startup Dodgeball, and decided to do nothing with it. This past January, Google officially deadpooled it. Crowley maintains that he has a good relationship with Google now despite what happened.