There's no doubt that mobile networking company Foursquare is the current belle of the tech start-up ball. In recent weeks, as the service has attracted mounting buzz, venture capitalists have been trying to get a piece of Foursquare's next fund-raising round. Meanwhile, large media companies -- Yahoo (YHOO) in particular -- have been rumored to be interested in buying it for as much as $100 million.
This week, Foursquare co-founder and CEO Dennis Crowley stopped by DailyFinance's offices to chat.
"My phone rings off the hook all the time," Crowley says. "We need more people. We have a lot of engineers because we're building a lot of products very quickly. But we need more people on the business-development side of things, so I'm not answering the phone all day."
This isn't the first time Crowley has struck gold with a venture. In 2000, while he was attending New York University, he and a fellow student, Alex Rainert, founded Dodgeball.com, one of the first providers of location-based social networking software for mobile devices. In 2005, Google (GOOG) bought Dodgeball.com.
Four years later, in 2009, Crowley launched Foursquare, a location-based game that allows users to "check in" at various venues and keep track of their friends' whereabouts. Users who check-in the most often can earn free drinks and other prizes. Needless to say, stores, restaurants and other retailers are keenly interested to learn who their most frequent customers are.
Lately, the company has moved beyond retailers to strike deals with companies like Zagat's, Bravo and the History Channel.
Crowley says Foursquare is growing by 50% to 60% every month and expects to hit 1 million users by the end of this week. He said his team has gone from six people to about 20 since January, and the company is now running out of office space.
Tech-watchers are waiting to see whether Foursquare will sell itself to a deep-pocketed buyer or continue to raise money independently. Last fall, it garnered $1.35 million in venture capital funding in a seed round led by Union Square Ventures, the New York firm led by Fred Wilson. Crowley declined to comment on the company's financing plans.