Putting Social in Networking, Cash in His Pocket


A former Torrington man found a way to actually make social networking social -- by encouraging you to go out and do things -- and it could make him very, very rich.

Naveen Selvadurai, 27, is one of the two men who created Foursquare, a game/application that has attracted about 1 million members since March.

Selvadurai, formerly of Torrington, created Foursquare with David Crowley and it works through your smartphone.

In Connecticut, the Greater Hartford Arts Council is using Foursquare for fun and to stay social. They'll be using it next month for its Culture Crawl.

You go out and check in to a place. This lets your friends know where to find you and gives you points. Score enough points and you compete for perks, including free meals., and could become the “mayor” of wherever you are.

But it will soon be getting you more.

Foursquare has been partnering with companies, including Pepsico, to send deals to you, the New York Times reports.

When a user is near a place that sells Pepsi products, Pepsi gets a live notice and can provide offers to shop at that store.

Selvadurai now lives in New York and tells Businessweek that his application is an incentive for people to do more in their communities. It’s also a way of finding out what the next hot restaurant or bar is.

"I live in the East Village, which has so much rich history and so much to do, and I realized that I'd seen maybe 5 percent of it," Selvadurai tells Businessweek. "I was looking for a way to get my and friends to go out and do more things."

Selvadurai tells Businessweek that the plan is for businesses to eventually pay to reach Foursquare users.

As Foursquare grows, potential buyers show more and more interest.

News reports say Yahoo has been in talks to aquire Foursquare for $100 million, according to Reuters.

"I won't comment on Foursquare directly but what I'll comment on is that local information, where someone is, what's in your neighborhood, that's very interesting," Chief Executive Carol Bartz told a news conference in London on Wednesday.

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