Have you ever felt like your business has plateaued? Foursquare thought so too before bringing in Steven Rosenblatt to take a fresh look at its business. Rosenblatt, a former Apple employee and start-up warrior came to Foursquare and saw it differently than those closest to the business and took it from a seemingly ‘had been’ consumer only app, to a business that now serves both businesses and consumers and is looking to make $100 million in revenue this year.
Foursquare was originally known for their location-sharing app that allowed users to check into locations to update their followers on where they were throughout the day. But as other social platforms started adding location based features, Foursquare began to lose momentum and relevancy. This was when cofounder Dennis Crowley realized he needed a fresh perspective on the company’s operations and brought in Rosenblatt.
Rosenblatt saw three crucial assets within the Foursquare business that would go on to transform the business. The first asset he identified was the 11 billion real life check ins that had occurred in the app since 2009. Second, there were four million monthly updates to its Places database that showed changes to business ownerships and business types by location and third there were 100,000 developers who were using the Foursuqaure location technology for free. Over the next eight years, Rosenblatt would take these assets and build valuable platforms around them, all leading the organization into being the data provider it is today.
The first shift Foursquare made was it began charging developers to use its location-based services, which was very low hanging fruit for them since developers already saw value in the platform’s capabilities. Second, Foursquare began dividing its business into sub segments that each focused on a different value proposition. They split the consumer applications into two platforms; Swarm which became the check-in app, and Foursquare City Guide that would recommend activities based on people’s locations. On the business to business side of things, Foursquare created Place Insights which offered businesses foot traffic trends to help new businesses know where would be good locations for them to set up a retail location and brands to know who is likely to use its brand in any given location. It then created Pinpoint, a digital advertising system that would help brands target consumers based on where they actually go. And finally, they introduced Attribution, which help brands understand if once people see on ad, they actually act on it. All of these divisions of the organization offered a unique a differentiated form of value to users and allowed Foursquare to diversify their offerings so they weren’t confined to one box of what they could be.
The business-to-business side of Foursquare was non-existent before Rosenblatt came in and now accounts for almost all the company’s revenue and is +74% from last year. Rosenblatt was able to see the organization from a different perspective and was able to take Foursquare to the next level. It took a fresh perspective, reshaping a culture, having new executive team members, openness to change and eight years of constant action, but in doing all of this, Foursquare is looking at making $100 million in revenue this year and has its eye set on being a billion dollar company in the years to come.
LESSONS BUSINESSES OF ANY SIZE CAN APPLY FROM FOURSQUARE’S JOURNEY
- The right people are crucial to the success of your business
- Always be open to seeing your business in new ways and be open to change
- Your business can and should have multiple income streams
- Massive changes do not happen over night. Keep your eye on where you want to go and work towards it daily
- Your business may have revenue streams within it that you are overlooking and a fresh perspective may help you identify these sleeping giants
Big changes take time, persistence and openness. If your business isn’t seeing the growth you’d like, maybe you need a fresh set of eyes to take a look at it. Send us a note at engineeryourbrand.com or through our contact page and let’s see if there are sleeping giants within your business we can awaken.