Location-Aware Social Network Gowalla Raises $8.4 Million

Yet another location-aware startup has received venture backing. On the heels of funding rounds at SimpleGeo and Foursquare, Gowalla has raised $8.4 million in its second round. With Gowalla’s service, users visit specific locations, like a bar, and then “check in” via their smartphones, so that they can share with friends on Facebook and Twitter where they are; they can also earn virtual rewards at the places they visit. Gowalla says that more than 50,000 people have signed up in the ten weeks since it launched.

The funding round once again shows that VCs think there’s huge potential in the location-aware space. FourSquare, the startup behind a popular iPhone app that lets users broadcast their location to their friends, raised $1.35 million in a round in early September. And just last week SimpleGeo, a startup that makes it easy for developers to make their web and mobile-apps location aware raised its own round.

Gowalla’s funding round was led by Greylock Partners — and in a statement Gowalla says that LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, who joined the VC firm as a partner last month, will now become a “board observer” at the startup. New cash will be used to “strengthen growth efforts and further enhance Gowalla’s development capability.” More in the release.