Factual + Foursquare Announce World’s Most-Powerful Location Engine Pairing

In the COVID-19 stricken economy, here’s the first-big positive news today, and it’s worth ‘billions’. Yes, when location data companies merge, they take in mighty-high expectations and attention.

Factual and Foursquare, the two leading location data enrichment and analytics platforms, have announced a merger. The combined infrastructure is aimed at creating the world’s most-powerful location data engine for global brands, advertisers, publishers, and agencies.

It is astonishingly ‘easy’ to gauge how many global advertisers would benefit from the merger! In North America, 50% of the Fortune 100 (including all 50 of Top US advertisers) are using either Factual or Foursquare’s location data services.

Factual’s CEO, Gil Elbaz highlighted the future vision of the two location data companies. The pair would be entirely focused on “bringing together the best in audiences, attribution, developer tools and point-of-interest data for companies around the globe.”

What the two bring in to the industry?

  • 550+ media platforms and publishers use Foursquare to measure campaign performance and provide effective optimizations, including 49 of the 50 largest properties on the internet per Comscore.
  • Combined, our location data is integrated or accessible within platforms representing more than 80% of all programmatic ad spend.

The announcement comes within months of Foursquare elevating their newly-hired President David Shim to CEO’s position. David had joined Foursquare as a President in June. In December 2019, he was elevated to CEO and added to the Board.

Foursquare debuted in 2009 while Factual was conceived in 2008. Factual has so far raised 104 million in 2 funding rounds. The financial details of this acquisition by Foursquare is undisclosed.

Majority of the Location Tech Players Are Martech and Adtech Companies

It is worth mentioning that the two Location Tech companies are very closely aligned in their current Product Development, Marketing, Operations and Sales efforts. From a social media intelligence and analytics platform, Foursquare has transitioned into a location data platform effortlessly (figuratively speaking!).

Gil explains, “The combination of Foursquare and Factual generated more than $150 million in revenue, in more than 20 global markets, and trusted by thousands of companies of all sizes and in various industries, including Microsoft, Uber, Samsung, Snap, Twitter, and more than half of the Fortune 100.”

The combined force driving the Location Engine at Foursquare + Factual would create new-age solutions across audiences, point-of-interest, developer tools, and attribution.

Gil adds, “Foursquare delivers the stack that powers the location layer of the internet. This combination establishes the standard in location for the next decade, allowing our clients to accelerate the adoption of location technology as a must-have in their day to day business operations.”

Apurva Kumar, Data Science expert and CEO of Hot GovTech Startup, LOTaData, spoke to me at the time of this announcement.

Apu said, “The location technology industry will experience significant consolidation over the next 12-18 months. The majority of the location tech players are Martech and Adtech companies. Mobile ad spend has been decimated by the COVID-19 pandemic. As the demand for location-based audience data dries up, these companies will need to consolidate to optimize costs and stay competitive.

Apu added, “The companies that will continue to thrive in the post-COVID economy will be the ones with deep tech stacks and creative business models. The run-of-the-mill Adtech data peddlers will run out of business.

The details of the deal are yet to be provided.

In the new pairing, Foursquare’s CEO, David Shim will retain his position. Factual’s CEO, Gil would join Dennis Crowley in serving on the executive team and board.

At the time of this announcement, Greg Sterling, VP of Market Insights at Location Marketing company Uberall, shared his insights. Greg said —

“There’s no question now that these two have created the dominant location intelligence company. 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.” 

Customers, Investments, Funding and More

Currently, Foursquare serves more than 1,000 clients—including more than 50% of the Fortune 100—choose Foursquare.

The product line serves Advertisers, Marketing teams and Big Data analytics teams foot the accurate insights and analytics via real-time location data, multi-touch attribution, and AdTech. It caters to the needs of AccuWeather, Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, Snapchat, Tinder, TripAdvisor, Twitter, and Uber.

The company raised close to $400 Million in 9 funding rounds. The most recent funding round pumped in $150 million in May 2019 – which could be accounted for a new lease of marketing and product expansion that was reflected in Placed’s acquisition and David’s hiring as a President.

We would continue to track the pair to understand how differently the new location data identity impacts top-line of Adtech, Martech and Retail tech businesses.

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