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Foursquare President Steven Rosenblatt Prepares Transition To Advisory Role

After six years at Foursquare, Rosenblatt is leaving to "pursue his dream of launching his own company, working with early-stage start-ups across various industries."

Steven Rosenblatt is preparing to step down down from his role as President of Foursquare as of April 2, as he turns his attention to creating his own startup with a focus on consulting and building early stage companies across “various industries,” a rep for the location intelligence platform said.

The company praised Rosenblatt’s leadership, which began in 2012 when he was named CRO of Foursquare. Before that, Rosenblatt led advertising sales at Quattro Wireless and ultimately ran Apple’s iAd strategy following the latter’s acquisition of the former in 2010.

Foursquare’s Resurgence And Momentum

Rosenblatt departs at a particularly good time in Foursquare’s history.  Three years after Foursquare was often put in the position of insisting there was no company “deathwatch,” CEO  Jeff Glueck reported last month that the company’s  revenues rose for the third consecutive year.

As a private company, nine-year-old Foursquare doesn’t disclose specific financial details, so all the company is saying is that 2017 marked the third straight year revenues rose by “50 percent or higher,” as outlined in a Medium blog post.

The post is also a response to remaining doubters about Foursquare, which was launched in 2009 with tremendous hype during that year’s SxSW.

Foursquare’s revenues primarily have been deriving from areas that Rosenblatt charted over the past few years, including its place-based ad targeting solution for brands, Pinpoint by Foursquare, which now counts over half the Ad Age 100 as advertisers.

In addition to advertising, Foursquare’s enterprise solutions has also attracted high-profile clients and partners, allowing it to position away from being known as a “social check-in” app and into a fuller developer that focuses on connecting brands with location analytics.

For example, in March 2017, Foursquare expanded the use of its location analytics outside of its own two apps, the eponymous flagship which promotes “discovery” and its Swarm check-in app. Foursquare struck licensing deals for its Pilgrim SDK to platforms that want to use the same tools to promote discovery within their branded apps.

Concentrating On Location Intelligence

But it’s the ability to connect digital marketing to in-store attribution and traffic that has helped Foursquare continue to bring in new business while raising its own profile as a data insights provider. It’s struck notable deals powering the location data of digital publishers like Pandora and Snapchat along with advertisers like tequila brand Patron.

Last summer, Foursquare began looking toward driving business in Asia in alliances with Samsung, WeChat and others.

In past conversations with Rosenblatt, it was Foursquare’s decision years ago to see location intelligence as its main business, not social media. The true test of location analytics’ value and viability is whether it can transcend clickthrough rates as the primary pricing and measurement mechanism of digital ads versus methods the look to store visits and actual sales, he said by way of Foursquare’s current mission.

“There’s been a huge demand for a company to have an always-on, non-incentivized persistent view that really has a true measure of whether an ad drove someone to a place or not,” Rosenblatt told GeoMarketing. “Brands are demanding the ability to optimize daily and then have access to lookback windows. We provide a two-day to 30-day lookback window. Tools like Foursquare Attribution is going to move us from the ‘click’ and finally get us out of a click-based economy and into what does real-world measurement act like online as well as offline. This is all about connecting the online and offline world.”

Asked about Roseblatt’s transition, Foursquare CEO Jeff Glueck said in a statement:

“Steven’s valuable contributions over the past six years have made a huge impact on Foursquare, as we’ve grown from a consumer brand into the leader in location technology. Steven’s the kind of guy who knows nearly everyone in the business; he’ll be a true asset to early-stage companies, and we’re thrilled he’ll be staying on in an advisory role as we continue to grow and scale.”

For his part, Rosenblatt summed up his time at Foursquare — and hinted at his plans, in a statement:

“The time I’ve spent at Foursquare has been transformational, both in terms of the partnership with [founder and former CEO Dennis Crowley], Jeff and others on the leadership team as well as the innovation we created building the best-in-class location intelligence company.

“However, I’ve had an insatiable itch to start a company that emblemizes my passion for working with early stage companies,” Rosenblatt continued. “I’m excited for this new endeavor that will allow me to work alongside investors and startups at pivotal moments of growth. Stay tuned for more details in the coming weeks.”