Mayors of the Location-Aware Apps: Naveen Selvadurai and Dennis Crowley

Posted on December 13, 2011


Naveen Selvadurai met Dennis Crowley in 2009. Crowley had, in 2005, created a location-aware text-messaging service called Dodgeball, which would send a text message to your friends letting them know where you were. The service was purchased by Google, Inc. and quickly abandoned. Selvadurai and Crowley learned that they were both thinking of a similar location-based application and founded Foursquare in January 2009.

Foursquare differs from Dodgeball in a few ways. The biggest is the former’s game-like structure wherein you “check in” at a location, share your location with friends, and earn badges or other perks and specials exclusive to that location. Users who check in to a location more often than any other user in a sixty-day period become “Mayor” of that location, and must continue to check in to maintain his or her title. Foursquare’s revenue comes from a number of venture capital firms and its partnership with companies like Starbucks and The New York Times.

Selvadurai’s goal in creating Foursquare was to give people a reason to explore the city in which they live; he lived in New York City’s East Village at the time, and lamented seeing only a small percentage of it simply because he didn’t know where to go or what to do. While he and Dennis Crowley are working on expanding their company, adding languages and global city options among other things, Selvadurai is focused on making the millions of Foursquare users into active users.

Foursquare’s success, and the success of its co-founders, is entirely dependent on their unwillingness to give up — when Dodgeball faded away, it would be easy to assume that a similar company would face a similar fate. However, they remain committed to Foursquare’s health and growth; and since that commitment birthed the phenomenon that is Foursquare, Naveen Selvadurai and Dennis Crowley will likely remain successes.

Posted in: Internet