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Josh Williams, chief executive officer and co-founder of Alamofire, a Austin, Texas-based company behind the location-based mobile application Gowalla, stopped by our office last week to discuss his company and its future. (How Gowalla and similar apps work: You visit a place, you fire up your app and check in on your mobile phone, announcing to your friends that you’re at that location.)
Gowalla, which recently raised nearly $8.4 million in venture funding from the likes of Greylock, Shasta Ventures and Maples Investments, is still relatively young and has far fewer users than Foursquare. I’ve heard that the company has between 85,000 and 100,000 users — and that’s despite the backing of web celebrities (startup founders and angel investors) Kevin Rose, Gary Vaynerchuck, Chris Sacca and Jason Calacanis — who have been pushing it hard.
In the past, I’ve made it clear that I’m not such a big fan of Gowalla, primarily because I find it to be a not-so-fun copy of Foursquare, another location-based application, which I absolutely love. Despite that, Williams was a gentleman, stopping by to tell me his story and how Gowalla accidentally found itself in the location arena. He also explained that the company would soon be launching a new feature that allows it to harness the data it’s collecting and help surface interesting things based on one’s location and social graph. He also talked about how he’s worried that Twitter will eventually get into the location biz.
After finishing this conversation, I took him to Sightglass coffee, where we talked some more before he went on to celebrate his 30th birthday.