On the 5th floor of 36 Cooper Square, the Foursquare team works alongside Curbed and Hard Candy Shell. There are no offices in the cramped room, just rows of thin desks, monitors, a couch, a couple of classroom chairs stacked in the corner and a small conference room off to the side.
At the center of the room, Dennis Crowley presides, sitting a few feet away from his co-founder Naveen Selvadurai. Because the 5th floor doesn’t fit the entire 25-person staff, a handful have set up ad hoc work stations a few flights below.
This is the guts of Foursquare, the widely acknowledged front runner in the red-hot location based service market.
The young startup, launched in 2009, is on a tear, accumulating high profile partnerships with the likes of Bravo, Wall Street Journal, Zagat and quickly growing beyond its member base of 1.8 million users. As evidenced by an over-the-top UK Wired cover, which anointed Crowley the “New King Of Social Media, press has come easy. However, the team, which has grown from a party of 6 to 25 in the past year, is still adjusting to the pains of growing up.
“Because we’re growing so quickly, it’s not just me and Naveen hammering out features day after day… now there’s a product team, now there’s an engineering team and so you know I think every organization goes through this but like we’re growing very quickly and this is getting all the pieces to play nice together,” Crowley says. “The thing we’re struggling with is where are people going to sit, Tristan is over there sitting on a bench, Harry moves to a different seat every day, we’re shuttling up and down three flights of stairs.”
Many of those logistical issues should dissipate, as the team relocates to a far more expansive space on the 6th floor, but Crowley understands its a long slog ahead. With so much attention focused on the LBS market, the success of Foursquare is always discussed in the context of its closest competitors, like Loopt and Gowalla. Crowley acknowledges that they are indeed rivals, but he says his true competitors are “those above us,” specifically identifying Twitter and Facebook (a rumored suitor). More from Crowley and his co-founder Selvadurai in our video above.
Our video feature on Foursquare is the first in our series of company profiles. Under the TechCrunch TV banner, I’ll be visiting the top startups to get you inside the office, the culture and up close with the founders and CEO. Comments, suggestions? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.