Skip to main content


SUNNYVALE, CA, United States – Amongst mobile-focused social networks, Foursquare is a very popular service. The check-in based location services makes it possible for you to announce your location, build up points and compete with your friends.

Nokia has long had a relationship with Foursquare that has enabled Nokia users across the globe to check-in, connect with friends and earn badges along the way.

I have long been a Foursquare user, from using the official Foursquare client on my Symbian devices and now on my Lumia with both official apps and awesome independent ones as well.

To explore the relationship between Foursquare and Nokia further, I was fortunate to secure time with Holden Luedorf, VP of Business Development at the San Francisco office of Foursquare.

How big is the Foursquare staff now?

We have a small team here in San Francisco at 25 strong, but the main group of 75 is in our New York office.

How are things inside Foursquare these days? From the outside, it seems like good times for the startup.

At Foursquare, we’ve experienced amazing growth, and we track two metrics currently to measure our success. The first of which is our user base: where we have 15 million users worldwide who have checked in more than 1.5 billion times.

Looking at our traffic, half of it is in the United States, and the other half is international. The amazing thing about the international growth is that we haven’t done any advertising or push marketing, so all the growth is organic.

We have no major presence or partnerships outside of the US (other than a few new hires in London). We have seen amazing growth in Russia, Turkey, Brazil and Indonesia specifically.

Tell me more about the partnership between Nokia and Foursquare.

We have really enjoyed our work with Nokia and we’ve had a good relationship for last two years.

Personally, I worked on the partnership program with Nokia to get apps built and delivered on Symbian S40, Meego and Windows Phone.

What’s unique about working with Nokia?

I would have to say the most unique thing about our partnership is how we’ve worked to bring NFC check-ins to the Foursquare app on Nokia phones. NFC  is an interesting play.

At Foursquare, we’re not sure where the technology is  headed, but we have had NFC capable apps available for some time.  

For us, NFC solves two key problems: first of all, the technology simplifies the check-in process. Even  just taking a few seconds out of the check-in flow is a huge step in the right direction for Foursquare users.

You see, NFC check-ins happen by holding your phone against an NFC tag. Then, the app loads up and the venue pops up…making the process as simple as clicking one button.

Secondly, NFC lets us pinpoint a check-in down to a single location. Normally, to verify location, we have to rely upon GPS or Wi-fi positioning…with NFC, we can ensure check-ins happen where they are meant to. This gives us the ability to offer unique promotions. 

However, the huge question with NFC is – will it take off?  At Foursquare, we’re not sure, but if it does, we want to be ready.

What’s next for the Nokia partnership? 

There are some interesting ways we could work together to create more interesting experiences around location. We can explore the API to deepen the relationship – such as doing check-ins right in Nokia Maps.  

We are very excited about the Windows Phone application that has been developed. The way Windows Phone flows and looks is very appealing. With that, we are going to continue out building the application – such as enhancing the Windows Phone application…taking it to a new level through iterations.

Do you guys like to see third-party apps developed on the Foursquare API?

We’re happy to see 3rd party developers, such as 4th and Mayor, developing on top of our API. In fact, we have more than 20,000 developers building apps and services on our API.  We try to build a healthy developer community.

One app I really like is, which shows you check-ins you conducted 1 year ago based on the day. It’s nice to see where you were one year ago and with, you can re-live memories that aren’t that far off.

Photo credit: stickergiant