curtwoodward writes "It's one of the biggest, scariest graveyards for Internet entrepreneurs: Small, local business. Sure, a few companies have gone public trying to harvest this huge market — Groupon and Yelp, for instance — but even those big names aren't anyone's idea of a knockout corporate success story. Consider Foursquare, the 'check-in here' smartphone app that leads the latest wave of dreamers trying to strike paydirt among the mom-and-pop set. The company has now raised more than $100 million in private investment, including a fresh $41 million loan. It's just started trying to make money. And the CEO acknowledges that it'll take a massive new product overhaul to get there. Google's tried this market too, with nothing to really show for it. Same with Facebook. If these deep-pocketed techies can't crack the local business advertising nut, is there any hope for Foursquare — not to mention the countless smaller startups?"
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