Foursquare checks in a new CEO

Its namesake software no longer the leader in social-location apps, the company shakes things up to stave off irrelevance.

Richard Nieva Former senior reporter
Richard Nieva was a senior reporter for CNET News, focusing on Google and Yahoo. He previously worked for PandoDaily and Fortune Magazine, and his writing has appeared in The New York Times, on CNNMoney.com and on CJR.org.
Richard Nieva
2 min read

Foursquare co-founder Dennis Crowley is stepping down as the company's CEO.

Shara Tibken/CNET

When's the last time you used Foursquare?

Can't remember? That's part of the problem for the company behind the pioneering social app.

Also called Foursquare, the firm announced a major shakeup Thursday. Co-founder Dennis Crowley is stepping down as CEO to become its executive chairman. Replacing him in the top job is Chief Operating Officer Jeff Glueck. Steven Rosenblatt, a four-year veteran of the New York-based company, will become its president.

Foursquare was once the envy of every startup in the tech industry. It exploded onto the scene in 2009, as attendees of the South by Southwest conference used its check-in feature -- which lets users post their location at a local business over the Internet -- to let people know where they were hanging out.

But the world of social networks is brutal. Enthusiasm for the service waned as companies including Facebook and Instagram built location services into their own apps. Some people also questioned the value of checking into restaurants and other spots. Foursquare aimed to resolve that issue in 2014 by splitting its services into two apps: Foursquare would be for recommending restaurants and other venues, and a new app, called Swarm, would be for check-ins.

Here's one indication that the buzz around Foursquare has swarmed somewhere else. The company also announced on Thursday a funding round of $45 million. That would cut its valuation roughly in half, according to The New York Times. The last time it raised funds, in 2013, it got $35 million, with the company's worth pegged at $650 million. Foursquare declined to comment on valuation in regard to Thursday's funding round.

Crowley is a respected veteran of the tech industry. In 2005 he sold his previous company, Dodgeball, to Google. Then he started working on Foursquare. (Get it?) He said Thursday that his new role will be to focus on the big picture and try to dream up new products for the company. The firm also has a business selling data to developers, and much of Foursquare's future will hinge on that.

"My new job is to make sure those things get built as projects, and that the best of them get pushed into the real world as products," Crowley wrote in a blog post.

That and making sure people don't continue to check out.