Saturday, February 26, 2011

Groupon Revenue Hits $760M in 2010; Staggering Year over Year Growth

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I am keeping an eye on Groupon because it most likely will be the hottest IPO of the year.  The company is currently in hyper growth stage as outlined in the WSJ; the year over year growth is simply astounding as this company - born in late 2008 - continues to amaze.

While the $760M is a jaw dropping figure, I would like to know if the $760M represents the gross amount of coupons sold, or what Groupon received since they only keep half of the coupon deals.  Could not tell from this story.  But even if it's gross revenue, growth from $33M to $380M in a year is astounding.

  • Daily deals website Groupon Inc. saw its revenue surge to $760 million last year from $33 million the previous year, with more than a third of its 2010 sales coming from outside the U.S., according to an internal memo. 
  • The email, sent by Groupon Chief Executive Andrew Mason to staffers in early January, also reveals the founder's grand ambitions for the company he started three years ago. Mr. Mason writes that he hopes to achieve "billions in revenue" in 2011.
  • Groupon is one of a handful of Internet companies, including Facebook Inc., Twitter Inc., and LinkedIn Corp., which have had investors keening for either private placements or an IPO. The scramble has fueled a spike in valuations of these private companies.
  • The Chicago-based company spurned a $6 billion takeover bid from Google Inc. in December and went on to raise $950 million in financing from private investors early this year. It is also preparing for an initial public offering later this year that could raise $1 billion, people familiar with the matter have said.
  • Groupon had grown to more than 4,000 employees and expanded to 565 cities at the end of 2010, up from about 120 employees and 30 cities in 2009, according to the memo. Some of that growth has been fueled by the acquisition of rivals in Europe and Asia. Overseas activity represented about $285 million of its revenues last year and almost three-quarters of its employees.
  • Mr. Mason told his staff to beware of complacency, warning that "clones" and large technology companies, will commit significant resources to taking away Groupon's market share. "If you feel a little like Frodo climbing Mount Doom, you can't be blamed," he wrote, a reference to the protagonist of "Lord of the Rings."
  • The company, which is known primarily for offering online coupons for local merchants, is also moving to generate sales from national retailers. According to the memo, "national deals" accounted for 12% of revenue in the fourth quarter of 2010.
  • Groupon now has 51 million subscribers to the email it sends to promote deals, and hopes to increase that number three-fold, to 150 million, by the end of this year. The company also hopes to generate more revenue that doesn't rely on this email blast. In the memo, Mr. Mason wrote that he hopes for, "at least $1B in revenue from new products we launch in 2011, not just the current daily email."

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