Foursquare Merges with Factual, Forming Location Intelligence Powerhouse

Location intelligence firm Foursquare is merging with location data firm Factual, the companies announced today. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Factual founder Gil Elbaz will join Foursquare’s executive team and board of directors.

The deal pairs Foursquare’s best-in-class location-based attribution technology and developer tools with Factual’s top-notch audience segments, Foursquare CEO David Shim told the Wall Street Journal. Industry insiders say the move may portend additional consolidation during the COVID-19-fueled economic downturn and positions Foursquare as an even stronger leader in the space.

Foursquare, initially known as the check-in app that allowed consumers to tell friends where they were going out, is a B2B comeback story whose pivot has drawn praise well beyond the boundaries of location-based marketing. The firm bought fellow location startup Placed, previously owned by Snap, less than a year ago, bringing Shim aboard at the same time.

Together, Factual and Foursquare, officially Foursquare Labs, Inc., will aim to expand their offerings from advertising to location-based operations solutions. The two are working on developing a proximity-based mobile ordering solution for a shared client, according to the Journal.

The firms from New York and Los Angeles combined boast datasets spanning 500 million devices worldwide, a community of more than 200,000 developers, and more than 50 clients in the Fortune 100.

“Foursquare is doubling down on the advantages recently gained from acquiring Placed in terms of boosting its network effect,” said Street Fight lead analyst Mike Boland. Pointing to the benefits of “sheer numbers” for location and consumer segments insights, Boland said, “On both these measures, it makes lots of sense for Foursquare and Factual to combine strengths where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

Other analysts pointed to possible effects of the economic downturn fueled by Covid-19 and coming consolidation in the location industry.

“There’s no question now that these two have created the dominant location intelligence company,” said Greg Sterling, VP of market insights at location marketing company Uberall. “The combined revenue numbers are smaller than expected and the merger may have been compelled to some degree by the current climate. But this will put pressure on other companies in the space and will likely pave the way for additional acquisitions or consolidation.”

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Joe Zappa is the Managing Editor of Street Fight. He joined Street Fight as a contributing writer in 2015, has compiled the daily newsletter since 2016, and has spearheaded the newsroom's editorial operations since 2018. Shoot him an email at jzappa@streetfightmag.com.