Assuming Groupon accepts Google’s acquisition offer, the question will likely turn to who might be next? Here is a short-list of venture-backed Groupon competitors and potential group buying entrants. Let the speculation begin.
LivingSocial describes itself as a “developer of distributed interest-based community building applications for social networks and the broader web.” In English, that means they’re a group buying site. Based in Washington DC, LivingSocial is backed by a long list of venture capitalists and angel investors. The venture capital firm investors in LivingSocial are Grotech Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners and US Venture Partners.
BuyWithMe is a New York city based group buying company. Per the company, BuyWithMe “is a privately held company focused on providing unique marketing solutions using group buying mechanisms and leveraging social media.” BuyWithMe is backed by Bain Capital Ventures and Matrix Partners.
Tippr based in Seattle also is in the group buying space. In early 2010, Tippr (launched by Kashless) bought a portfolio of group buying patent’s from Paul Allen’s Vulcan Capital. Tippr is backed by RRE Ventures. According to Martin Tobias of Tippr (in comments below), Tippr is ahead of BuyWithMe and is the #3 player in the space.
While LivingSocial, BuyWithMe and Tippr are the closest competitors of Groupon, the group buying space given its growth, margins and attention has also garnered interest from companies in different but related spaces including:
Gilt provides luxury brand clothing at steep discounts and while the model is not Groupon-esque, the folks at Gilt have played around with group buying offers given their customer base. Gilt Groupe investors include General Atlantic and Matrix Partners (who are also an investor in BuyWithMe)
The ubiquitous restaurant review site has dabbled in group buying but has yet to make a big push into it. Yelp’s investors include Bessemer Venture Partners, Benchmark Capital, DAG Ventures and Elevation Partners.
There are of course countless clones and many smaller group buying sites. With a potential $6 billion acquisition, we’ve probably seen nothing yet in the clones. Of course, if we’ve missed a venture-backed company in the group buying space, let us know, and we’ll update the post.
And if you have a thought on whose next on the M&A front, do share that in the comments as well.