On November 5th, InSITE fellows Brian Galgay, Josh Goldman, Marije Van Mens, Yusuf Roso, and I had breakfast with Jake Furst, business development guru at Foursquare. After a quick intro discussing our individual passions, Jake gave us a unique perspective as one of Foursquare’s early non-technical employees as the company grew from 15 to 150 employees. He’s a Columbia MBA and has really carved a position for himself in one of the fastest growing tech companies in NYC. We talked about an MBA’s role in a startup, Foursquare’s amazing growth, and of course, Foursquare’s partnership with AMEX.
MBAs provide a fresh perspective for high-tech companies, which are traditionally engineer driven. Jake approached recruiting like a true entrepreneur and identified challenges such as extremely heavy inbound traffic, that a rapidly growing company like Foursquare can experience. For Foursquare, this was a godsend, and he was able to show he could add a lot of value in the first interview. He was also able to provide a fresh perspective for non-techie users. Within 3 months, Jake went from intern to employee. Moral of the story? It’s clear in the first few minutes whether a candidate has done their homework. So, refined searches will give you the time and ability to show value to the startups you passionately want to work with. For more info, check out Jake’s Quora post here: http://b.qr.ae/QMPvie
Foursquare is an amazing company that started with checkins, and has steadily moved to discovery. Their partnership with AMEX is a huge step in monetizing by associating Foursquare with transactions. I’ve always wondered why they decided to partner with AMEX over the other credit card companies. Jake had a great answer – AMEX is a closed loop system where they don’t have to worry about issuing banks. This makes the entire deal redemption process much simpler for all parties involved.
This post was written by Richard Liang, MBA 2013, Columbia Business School