I had an interesting debate at lunch the other day with Toby about which company we’re more bullish on between Foursquare and Quora. To paraphrase Hansel, both are “so hot right now.” Both raised money at a very high valuation (Foursquare raised $20 on $95 million and Quora 11 on 86), yet both provide reasons to be skeptical.
With Foursquare you have an extremely popular mobile location app. However, most people don’t “get it” – as in they don’t see reasons for checking in everywhere they go, don’t live in a dense-enough location where it serendipidous run-ins are possible, nor do they want to share that information.
Then there’s Quora. It has some obsessed users who are contributing very original and valuable content. The online Q&A industry is a great segment of the web but there are questions of whether the site ever get attention from mainstream users.
For me, my money is on Foursquare. It’s one of the few mobile apps that capitalize on a user’s geopgraphic location. It’s fun to use and has a lot of untapped potential. The integration with gas stations and Starwood hotels are just the tip of the iceberg for them. I do feel that only 10 or 5 percent of users who register end up regularly using the service but as they continue to get good deals to entice not only new user acquisition but engagement they will grow and be successful. One criticism i have heard is that Facebook places will take out Foursquare. I don’t think so and ironically actually wrote a response of why on Quora. In fact, you can see from this graph how FS’s growth has increased since then.
That’s not to say that i’m anti-Quora. I’m not. I think it’s one of the best web UI’s I’ve ever seen and I do find it useful. I just wonder about it’s mainstream appeal. So, if both had a $100 million valuation and i had to put my cash on one, I’d place it on Foursquare. What about you?
Some interesting comments by @ccheever:twitter at Disrupt today where he says that he definitely doesn’t want to sell, which usually is a good indicator of a startup “shooting the moon.” So, it’s possible i’m wrong, but i’m sticking with FS for now.
Here’s the TC link: http://techcrunch.com/2011/05/23/quora-founder-cheever-we-have-an-explicit-non-goal-of-selling-the-company/
Here’s an update: Foursquare users are checking in 3 million times per day now, up from 2 million in February. Out of 10 million users that’s a very impressive number. (Business Insider)
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