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Follow Your Ears

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A pioneer in location-based services, Foursquare initially tried to succeed with its own consumer app. But the company realized that providing location data to others was actually a far more promising business model, as founder and CEO Dennis Crowley explains in conversation with DLD Chairman Yossi Vardi.

“We can help other companies make great location experiences, and those have a much wider reach than we would ever have with our own consumer apps”, Crowley says. “There’s a reason that I think a lot of people are chasing enterprise dollars these days, because there’s more of them.”

Among Foursquare’s customers today are global tech giants like Apple, Airbnb, Samsung and Uber. In terms of privacy, Crowley says, his company is trying to be as transparent as possible, making clear how personal information is used – and that it can easily be deleted if people ask for it.

“Unfortunately, in the location technology space, there’s a lot of bad actors that are just trying to collect data without being clear what they’re collecting, or what the use is”, Crowley says. At Foursquare, “if people are not comfortable with it, you can decide, ‘Hey, I don’t want this and I want to delete it.’ We try to set the best practices for other people to follow.”

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