Photo: Dennis Crowley via Teendrama
We researched and wrote an extensive profile of Dennis Crowley, Foursquare’s work hard/play hard founder.Dennis Crowley sold his first startup to Google. His second, Foursquare, has nearly 100 employees, 16 million users, and it is creeping towards a billion-dollar valuation.
Crowley is the poster child for New York’s burgeoning tech scene, but his success didn’t happen over night.
It was a series of failures and disappointments.
Dennis Crowley's love of self publishing led him to Syracuse University. Here's a picture of his dorm room.
Crowley used technology to enhance his socializing. He fooled around with web cams and found himself accidentally in Wired magazine.
Crowley found he could make money by socializing. He threw parties for freshmen and charged cover at the door. This party yielded $1,600.
Crowley had a soft side too. This is Fleecey, Crowley's stuffed animal, who still lives with him in his Manhattan apartment today. Crowley's friends are cruel and try to steal him frequently.
Crowley graduated in 1998. Well, sort of. He was a few credits shy and received his diploma in January, 1999.
Crowley bought the domain, Dodgeball.com, and used it to keep a personal diary online. His friends Josh and Brian also blogged there. Here's a screenshot from 1998.
Then rough times started for Dennis. The week he turned 25 he was also evicted from his apartment. Then he was laid off.
One September morning Crowley woke up to a crash. He watched the twin towers crumble from his roof deck.
There, Crowley became a snowboarding instructor and fought boredom. His pay was $6 per hour plus tips.
While in New Hampshire, Crowley applied to graduate school at NYU. He got in and moved back to NYC. He used a polling system to help him find a new roommate.
At NYU ITP's orientation, Crowley met Alex Rainert. The two bonded over their love of video games. A lot of Foursquare and Dodgeball features were Zelda inspired.
Rainert and Crowley grew close. Crowley would later be in Rainert's wedding and the two founded a city guide app, Dodgeball, together.
Dodgeball gained momentum just as Crowley and Rainert were graduating from NYU. They spent the summer searching for financial backing and trying to turn their game into a business.
At his next job, Area/Code, Crowley met Naveen Selvadurai. Selvadurai worked for a neighbouring company and sat around the corner. The two began hacking city guides together.
They hacked together Foursquare just in time for South By Southwest. Foursquare was called the breakout company of 2009.
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