ScreenshotFor a long time, Foursquare could do no wrong. It got a lot of press attention and quickly gathered millions of users. But over the past few months, the public perception of Foursquare has changed.
Revenue attempts were weak at best, fundraising was difficult, and user growth seems to have stalled. Former Square COO Keith Rabois blasted Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley on Twitter recently, saying the only hope of the check-in company was a “hail mary” acquisition and that active user numbers were low.
Today at TechCrunch Disrupt, Crowley fired back. He blamed the change in Foursquare’s perception on a “hazing” period.
“We’re not this shiny new thing anymore,” Crowley said. “We’ve been around four years. A lot of people understand what we’re trying to do, but there’s a lot of people who don’t. I also think we’re going through that interesting hazing experience for companies. [Where people wonder] ‘Are these guys going to pull it off or not?’ It’s not terribly daughting. It’s fine people are sceptical about what we’re doing. We’ll just put our heads down and [push the product out].”
With reguards to Rabois, Crowley cautioned the audience not to listen to people who are “misinformed” and “haters who are trying to poke holes in a business.”
“If i was on the board of Yelp I’d be stressed about [Foursquare] too,” he said.
When asked about stalled user adoption and weak revenue generation (Foursquare was said to have generated $2 million in 2012), Crowley says both are actually on the rise.
“The perception that we’re not growing is false,” said Crowley. He says Foursquare’s number of monthly signups are up 10-30%, as well as the number of people using its search feature, Explore. So are Foursquare’s monthly web visitors, which exceed the number of app users.
Crowley noted that March was the company’s highest revenue generating month yet, and that it’s regularly signing six-figure deals with advertisers and merchants. He wouldn’t comment on 2013 revenue, just that the company was on track to hit an aggressive goal.
Crowley also believes the negative sentiment is coming from users who haven’t opened the app recently. He says the company isn’t the same badge and points startup from 2009.
“The biggest haters haven’t opened the app in 6 months,” said Crowley. “We have personalised recommendations and the ability to predict a user’s intent. A lot of people haven’t figured out how much app has changed recently.”