Think of Foursquare, and a person playing its check-in game on their phone and trying to be mayor of a local coffeeshops probably springs to mind.
But the seven-year-old start-up believes that it can become "a successful business with both predictable and scalable revenue growth" fueled by its enterprise solutions for location-based data (Places API, Place Insights) and its programmatic advertising platform (Pinpoint).
The venture said on Thursday that it has raised $45 million in a new round of financing led by Union Square Ventures.
Among those participating are fresh outside investors, such as Morgan Stanley Alternative Investment Partners, and previous investors, such as DFJ Growth, Andreessen Horowitz, and Spark Capital.
With the new financing, Foursquare is aiming to keep expanding worldwide (starting by hiring for about 30 new positions), tapping into what its founders say is growing global demand for its software products.
But the Wall Street Journal surmises that the funding likely places a valuation on the company that is at a substantial haircut to the $650 million valuation it had in 2013.
Co-founder Dennis Crowley is stepping into an executive chairman role. COO Jeff Glueck is becoming CEO, and CRO Steven Rosenblatt is becoming president.
Foursquare's new CEO Glueck said in a statement:
"In the past 18 months, we have made enormous traction on this mission. We signed Apple, Twitter, Pinterest and others as customers, and have 100,000 more developers who rely on our location data.
We just had our biggest revenue month, quarter and year. Foursquare and Swarm, our consumer apps/sites, have over 50 million monthly active users and daily check-ins are at an all-time high.
We launched two new B2B areas which now drive the majority of our revenue: our programmatic ad platform Pinpoint and our Enterprise Solutions (Place Insights and Places tools for developers), which grew revenues 170% and 160% respectively in 2015.
Our tools can do some pretty amazing things. We recognize when phones stop in over 65 million business locations — which triggers magical recommendations from our Foursquare app, like what to order at a restaurant you’ve never been to.
In aggregate, our data makes up the world’s largest foot traffic panel, which Place Insights analyzes to reveal trends in culture and business globally. We used it to accurately predict iPhone 6s sales, look at Black Friday shopping data, and our customers are finding new ways to apply our insights all the time.
With Pinpoint, we can identify groups of young people who, for example, frequent sports bars 3+ times a month, and help an alcohol company or an auto brand to reach them using digital media — connecting the online and offline worlds for our partners, which includes about a third of Fortune 500 brands."
The company told Bloomberg News, in an in-depth article, that its data is "more accurate than many mapping technologies, because it has information on people who actually went to places and clicked to confirm their existence and location."
This data can be profitable. As Tech Insider notes, "banks that give small business loans can pay Foursquare to know if any given business actually exists and isn’t a scam."
From 2014: Foursquare aims to become Mayor of Social Travel Recommendations