Foursquare Bets on Local Search and Discounts

Dennis Crowley
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Dennis Crowley

Foursquare is pushing to expand its local search business and its discount programs to help attract new users, CEO Dennis Crowley said Monday.

"Our main focus is growth. ... We're in this league where we are competing against the Googles and the Facebooks of the world. And so we have to get bigger," Crowley said during an interview with CNBC at SXSW in Austin, Texas.

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"If you can build tools for folks that allow them to save money with their mobile phones, people love that stuff. If you can build tools that allow them to connect with their friends and discover interesting things nearby, people love that. And the better that we get at doing that, the greater the community is and the more successful we are as a business."

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Foursquare, a mobile app that lets users check in and share their location, has expanded its business during the last four years to include a coupon program that allows users to sync their credit card with their Foursquare account to receive savings at participating merchants.

While the company boasts about 30 million users, it is trying to increase that number by highlighting search capabilities on its app, Crowley said.

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Search has been "a one size fits all type of game" for a long time, but Foursquare is trying to personalize search results based on a variety of factors.

"I think one of the things we are really good at and one of the things that people are starting to realize is that we are really good at personalized local search," Crowley said. "Everyone should get different search results depending on who you are and who your friends are and what they've done and what you've done, and we are getting really good at doing that. I think that users are starting to see it."

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Although Foursquare is working to broaden its reach, Crowley said that taking the company public is not on the radar yet.

"We're not going public anytime soon; we have a lot of work to do before then," Crowley said. "To be honest, it's not something that we think a lot about. We have so much work to do as a company, with the user community, with the merchant community. It may have to be something that we address later on, but it's not something that we think a lot about right now."