Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

What's Up With Foursquare, Doc? Try a Bridge Investment, Facebook Talks and More!

Memo to Dennis Crowley: BoomTown has not forgotten you!

In fact, I have been tracking the popular social location service he helms the way Elmer Fudd chases Bugs Bunny, since my last update in April.

That was in the midst of a flurry of talks the New York-based start-up was engaged in with a series of Silicon Valley venture firms; it was also entertaining a serious $120 million acquisition offer from Yahoo (YHOO).

But because Foursquare had gotten so much media attention as the next big thing, the situation quickly became complicated and confused.

So much so, in fact, that one firm, Andreessen Horowitz, said publicly that it had pulled out of the funding talks due to the confusion and, well, hype, around Foursquare.

Things then quickly settled down, as the company and its investors went quiet.

Actually, not as quiet as they thought, said a range of sources close to the situation, with some under-the-radar activity of late from the innovative company.

Here’s the deal right now:

The current plan is for Foursquare’s original investors to do a “bridge” investment for a smaller sum, because the original $1.35 million raised from Union Square Ventures and O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures, as well as some well-known angel investors, has been spent.

The valuation for the king of “check in,” said several people, is hovering at about $80 million.

Meanwhile, talks with new VCs have been tabled for now, said several sources, as several firms, such as Accel Partners, have decided not to move forward at this point.

But that could change quickly. In particular, Khosla Ventures’ Gideon Yu has reportedly been keen to invest, along with other firms.

While many in Silicon Valley feel Crowley mucked up the first round of talks, that will not matter if investors feel the company is on a strong growth path.

Also in the mix: Foursquare’s talks with social networking giant Facebook about a possible acquisition or investment.

Those discussions, said several sources, have gone from nonserious to serious, but have also not been conclusive.

Facebook execs have been trying to sort out their location strategy, which might involve more federation than the backing of one single service.

Interestingly, Foursquare CEO and founder Crowley has been burning up the tech conference circuit of late, dropping vague hints and making leading jokes about what’s next, even as he touts his company’s growth in an increasingly competitive space.

At the Mashable Media Summit in New York this past week, for example, he noted that Foursquare had almost 1.6 million users and is growing fast.

Crowley noted that more partnerships and features are coming, as the company tries to figure out a reliable monetization plan.

But this does not mean it is profitable and, thus, all that growth needs investments, which Crowley coyly referenced in his interview.

But the peek-a-boo is unnecessary, since what Foursquare needs to do is obvious, sometimes painfully so.

But, as always, it’s also entertaining.

Speaking of which, here is Crowley talking about Foursquare in a backstage interview at the Mashable event, as well as some Bugs and Elmer.

But, be vewy, vewy quiet–he’s hunting wabbits:


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work