Gowalla scores $8.4 million

Chris Caceres · December 9, 2009 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/c50

Location-based social networking service gets funding led by Greylock Partners

Checking into real world locations with your iPhone seems to be the next popular digital trend these days.  Startup Gowalla announced on Wednesday that it raised a hefty $8.4 million in funding from Greylock Partners.  New investors joining the round include Shasta Ventures, Maples Investments, Alsop-Louie Partners, Founders Fund, Ron Conway, Kevin Rose, Gary Vaynerchuk, Shervin Pishevar, Jason Calacanis and Chris Sacca.  With this latest round, the company has raised more than $10 million since it was founded in 2007.  

Location-based social networking is becoming all too familiar of a sport.  Gowalla is very much like Foursquare, (which recently raised $1.35 million), where users arrive at a certain place in the world, whether a bar, shop, park, you name it, and check in via their phone.  In the case of Gowalla, once a user checks in they can play part of a game where they collect and trade virtual goods at locations, with other users or the venue itself.  Users are also allowed to share their experience through Gowalla with their Facebook and Twitter friends.  The company compares their application to stamping a passport everywhere you visit.  Gowalla has an iPhone app as well as an Android application.

In ten weeks since its launch, Gowalla has had 50,000 users join the service, check in at 150,000 locations in over 8,500 cities, which represents 100 countries around the world.  The startup says it is now seeing more than 20,000 check-ins daily and about 3,500 new locations a day.  

Large numbers for a ten week old Austin-based company which its investors obviously believe could make some serious cash.  Potential models for a company like this could be targeted local advertising or selling exclusive virtual goods to its users.  I've contacted Gowalla to see how they plan to make money exactly.

Gowalla said the capital infusion will be used to strengthen growth efforts and further enhance Gowalla's development capability. 

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