Posted January 11, 2011 6:45 am by with 4 comments

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It’s official. Groupon has finalized a financing round that totaled $950 million and includes VC luminaries like Kleiner Perkins, Andreessen Horowitz and more.

Obviously, it’s great news for the Groupon team and especially for those looking to cash out at this point as was noted in a post here late last month.

What struck me as hysterical though is some peculiar wording in the press release on Groupon’s site. We live in an age of self-promotion for sure but I was hoping that nearly a billion dollars of investment would hinge on more than this. The following line is from the actual press release from Groupon (hat tip to TechCrunch). Maybe the releases title “Groupon Raises, Like, A Billion Dollars” should’ve been a hint

In the last year, Groupon has been called “the fastest growing company ever” by Forbes Magazine and “America’s best website” by one of Groupon’s television commercials.

I guess, hope and pray they were trying to be cute rather than just looking like the morons that they do by putting that in the release. It’s akin a big bailout bank saying “We are taking the bailout money because we think it’s funny so many people want to pay our executives just because we have said we could use some cash for bonuses. Tee hee hee!” OK, so that’s a stretch but you get the point.

Look, I know it’s cool to be irreverent but there is a fine line that can easily be crossed and I suspect that this type of comedy is where Groupon could stub its toe eventually. They already appear to feel as if they are bulletproof on their idea that is being copied by myriad other sites who don’t exact a pound of flesh for their service.

Well, here is a list of VC from the release as well that will certainly exact their pound of flesh and more in fine vulture capital fashion.

The financing consists of several venture capital firms and late-stage investors, including Andreessen Horowitz, Battery Ventures, Greylock Partners, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Group, Maverick Capital, Silver Lake, and Technology Crossover Ventures. Allen & Company LLC acted as financial advisor. Previous funding rounds were led by New Enterprise Associates, Accel Partners, and Group (formerly DST.)

Is this kind of ‘attitude’ an indication of the new Internet bubble that some are talking of? Has it gotten to the point where so much money is flying around in deals that the investors are giving money to anyone? Sure Groupon is big but with that kind of money comes responsibility and with the two farms of Groupon research being so far apart (Groupon’s claims of how happy their customers are vs the claims of those who would never engage in the model again) is the legend of Groupon separating from the reality of Groupon?

Well, people who have a ton more money and are supposedly well versed in these matters are betting large sums of cash on Groupon. My question to you is, do you see it being a worthwhile use of money? Will Groupon continue to rise or will it hit the wall? If it does ‘Friendster out’ there will be a lot of unhappy investors and more than a few smiles from the folks at the Googleplex.

Your thoughts?

  • Emily

    Ignoring their “cute” (or moronic) verbiage in that press release, yes, I think it is a very worthwhile use of money. Coming from a family of entrepreneurs and being a businessperson myself, I appreciate watching “David” climb ahead and become the “Goliath” of their league. That being said, I think they need to take a step back from the euphoric glow of one billion dollars and look back to their business books from college… Yes, it’s great to have a distinct personality; no, you should not discredit the value of money and the importance of being (and looking) reliable to their creditors/investors.

    For the sake of everyone who took a chance on them, I hope they don’t mess this up.

    • I realize that moronic is strong language but this really just rubbed me the wrong way. I’m not saying that all business needs to be staid and boring but there needs to be a level of respect which is absent from much of Groupon’s messages. In fact, there was one ‘deal’ I received the other day that the copy was unreadable and it was because it was trying to be funny.

      Anyway, it’s hard to argue with the kind of investment they are getting though so I guess money talks, right?

      • Emily

        In many cases moronic IS too strong of a word, but not here. I think you said it best, you don’t have to be boring, but please be respectful… or at least look intelligent. They had to do something right, though… I’m thinking about putting out a pitch for getting some funding for myself, personally lol. After seeing their success, I’m considering stealing their press release. 😉

  • Its always a tough line between “out of the box” and “weird.” Maybe they just overshot! lol

    Honestly, I think it is a matter of getting too powerful too fast and not truly appreciating that power.