Foursquare finally closes on a funding round after considerable flirting with the likes of Yahoo! and Facebook. Ben Horowitz explains the reasoning here. Foursquare is adding 15,000 users every day and is growing at a faster clip than Twitter did at this stage. I’ve written about the commercial potential of foursquare to add value not only to its users but also to merchants, venue owners and others through advertising, rewards and loyalty programs (here, here and here). Clearly, this ability drove the thinking behind the Andreessen Horowitz investment. Ben puts it this way
As importantly, we are very excited about Foursquare’s ability to make money in a way where all parties win: users, merchants, venue owners, brand advertisers, and more. In fact, users have been so excited about the product that they’ve actually been signing up local businesses to run promotions for Foursquare’s mayors and active users. This natural enthusiasm is happening even before Foursquare has added specific product features to help businesses run campaigns. As a result, major brands such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Zagat, Bravo TV, Starbucks, C-SPAN, Marc Jacobs and over 10,000 businesses are currently working with Foursquare to build customer loyalty and drive traffic. Not many companies have their users turn into their sales force, and it’s definitely a good sign that this is happening around Foursquare.