The current Silicon Valley favorite raised $950 Million from investors after rejecting a $6 Billion bid from Google. Two year old Groupon has been the talk with their phenomenal growth. Groupon offers collective buying of coupons to products and services provided by offline merchants which allows them to bridge the viral Internet with the brick and mortar stores. Being in this position Groupon seems to have figured out a useful Internet advertisement model.
Google’s interest in the company validates their title as one of the hottest Internet business as of now. With the new round of VC money, Groupon has decided to expand their operations to India, South Africa and Israel by acquiring websites that offer local deals in all three countries:
The three websites will transitioning to Groupon branding in coming months. Rob Solomon, Groupon COO said, “Collective buying is in its infancy in India, Israel and South Africa and we see strong potential. Groupon is shaping the way local merchants market themselves in every corner of the world.”
Groupon’s expansion is crucial since it is fairly possible to assume Facebook’s interest in the market segment. Facebook has a large (social) user base and with products like Places where they are partnering with local stores it won’t be a surprise if we saw Mark Zuckerberg announcing a service that will allow you and your friends to buy coupons to products based on your interests. With the amount of data that Facebook mines through finding similarities between your friends and suggesting offers is within the realm of possibility.
Smart move by Groupon.
Update: Groupon's Press release can be found here.