Foursquare, one of the hottest start-ups in the New York technology scene, is close to raising money to expand its social networking business, which allows users to share their location with friends.
The company has chosen to take additional venture capital money rather than pursue takeover talks with internet giant Yahoo, which is believed to have made an informal approach. Foursquare has more than doubled its user base in the past three months, to 1.7 million users. The Silicon Valley investor Andreessen Horowitz is understood to have decided to put money into the venture, and industry rumours suggest the investment could value Foursquare at $80m. It is unclear how large the fund-raising will be, although it has previously been reported that Mr Horowitz will put in $10m.
The company, founded only 15 months ago by entrepreneurs Dennis Crowley and Naveen Selvadurai, is leading a wave of geo-location applications for iPhones, Blackberries and other smartphones. Users "check in" to their current location, while Foursquare hopes that businesses will pay it to advertise to these users and to offer them special deals. It has expanded from just five to 27 employees as the service has grown around the world.
"We are picking up 100,000 users every 10 days," Mr Crowley told The Wall Street Journal. Almost half use the service by checking in at least once a month after signing up, he said.