Groupon moves into South Africa, India, Israel via new acquisitions

Groupon, the famous collective online buying phenomenon, has announced the launch of Groupon India, Groupon Israel and Groupon South Africa via acquisitions of similar daily-deal sites in those countries, namely SoSasta, Grouper, and Twangoo.

Using the principles of collective buying, Groupon negotiates discounts with businesses and shares them with subscribers via free daily emails. The deals are activated only when a minimum number of people agree to buy, encouraging subscribers to share the promotion with family and friends.

By guaranteeing a large number of new customers, Groupon has created a marketing vehicle for local merchants in thousands of cities worldwide.

The company claims this innovative approach to e-commerce has brought millions of dollars in new revenue to local businesses while saving more than $1.5-billion for consumers around the world.

The acquisitions continue Groupon’s rapid global growth and extend its reach across India, the Middle East and South Africa. In just three months since launch, SoSasta has grown to run daily deals in 11 Indian cities. Serving Tel Aviv and surrounding cities since March 2010, Grouper is widely recognised as the first and largest deal site in Israel. Twangoo has rapidly grown to serve the most cities of any deal site in South Africa.

All three sites will transition to the Groupon brand name and site design in coming months, and will serve deals in the local communities’ primary languages: English in India and South Africa and Hebrew in Israel.

“Collective buying is in its infancy in India, Israel and South Africa and we see strong potential,” said Rob Solomon, president and chief operating officer of Groupon. “Groupon is shaping the way local merchants market themselves in every corner of the world.”

Groupon raises $950m in new funding
The company also announced that it had raised $950 million in the past month to invest in technology, fund its global expansion and compensate company employees and early investors.

The two-year-old company said it had raised the money from venture capital firms and “late stage investors” including Andreessen Horowitz, Battery Ventures, Greylock Partners and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

The $950 million included the $500 million the company announced it had raised on December 30, two weeks after launching a major fundraising effort.

The Chicago-based startup, which offers subscribers online coupons for discounts on a broad range of consumer goods and services, had earlier rejected a reported $5-billion takeover offer from Internet giant Google.

In a statement on Monday Groupon said its subscribers had grown to 50 million from just two million at the beginning of 2010. It now employs more than 4,000 people worldwide.



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