(MoneyWatch) Foursquare co-founder and CEO Dennis Crowley started working in technology more than a decade ago as a grad student. His first innovation, a location-based service built on SMS technology called Dodgeball, was bought by Google. Three years ago, he and two friends went back to the drawing board, and from his kitchen table in the East Village, came up with Foursquare. Crowley joins Rebecca Jarvis to talk about what's next for his business and the growing pains that come along with being a successful tech startup.
Rebecca Jarvis: What were you doing before you started your company?
Dennis Crowley: I've been working in the local tech space in one way or another for the last decade. I started Dodgeball as my thesis project in grad school, which later became my first company. Dodgeball was a location-based service built off of SMS technology. The company was acquired by Google and we continued to work on it for a few years. I continued working in the tech industry after leaving Google until ultimately co-founding Foursquare.
RJ: How long did it take to turn your idea into a business?
DC: Foursquare started about 3 years ago with 2 people sitting around my kitchen table in the East Village. We were lucky that the problem of location and the question of what to do next are things that resonated with a lot of people. We were building things that we thought were interesting and didn't think about building a company until after Foursquare started to take off at South by Southwest. We got funding later that summer, which is when Foursquare really became a business.
RJ: What's your number one piece of advice to entrepreneurs?
DC: The best piece of advice for people thinking about starting a company is not to stress about starting a company. Find something that you are passionate about and go out and do it. Success will always be driven from your original idea. Try to solve an interesting problem and see if it resonates with people. If it does, then you can think about how to build a company from there. Don't get side tracked by paperwork, just get out and do interesting things.
RJ: If you could ask one person for advice, who would it be and what would you ask?
DC: At Foursquare we are lucky to work with amazing investors that have helped us along each step of the way. I can't imagine a better group of advisors.
RJ: Are you hiring? How do you get hired by a start-up?
DC: Foursquare is hiring as many talented people as we can find.
The best way to get hired by a start-up, or any other company, is to leverage all the networking tools that you have. Social networking is important, but don't underestimate the value of offline connections.
Figure out where you want to work and find people that that work there and then find ways to connect with them. Do a lot of research: Find out what types of people do they hire and ask questions about the company. Then prove that they can't afford not to hire you.
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