One of the very prolific startup investors in the country Sequoia Capital is lending a hand to Groupon India to break away from the Chicago-based parent company, which is worth $ 3 billion dollar. The daily deals and local commerce company’s new name would be Nearbuy and the parent company Groupon would not hold majority of stake in it.
This move from Groupon is interesting, and it would be a nice watch of a rebranding process. The company now has a new website, mobile app and a corporate logo. “You can buy phones but you can’t buy services online. It’s a humongous market and could be worth $ 1 billion,” said Mohit Bhatnagar, MD with Sequoia Capital. “Groupon India has a 97% redemption rate.”
Management buy-outs, where the top executives of a company buys out the firm they work in from the promoters, often involves a private equity firm buying a large stake. In this very rare form we are seeing a venture capital firm to back such a buyout. It had first entered the coupons market in India through the acquisition of SoSasta, which was later rebranded as Crazeal and then rebranded again as Groupon, all within a couple of years. With Nearbuy it is being rechristened the third time.
The services, which Groupon offers to users, are hyperlocal, making it a very popular name amongst the masses. It also partners with markets which are mostly tapped upon like
F&B, travel and wellness to offer local deals. The new company will now further expand the service to 30 cities from 12 at present. Six co-founders, including Ankur Warikoo as CEO and Sumeet Kapur as CFO, will lead the team.
We have lately seen some e-tailers like Snapdeal and Koovs booming, they had surprisingly started off as coupon companies. However, the system didn’t work much for them. This might even have been the case because they did not get their models right. That doesn’t seem to be the case with Groupon as of yet.
Led by Eric Lefkofsky, who is also co-founder of Chicago-based venture capital firm Lightbank, Groupon operates in around 500 markets and 48 countries across the world. It came to India in 2011 when its parent acquired SoSasta as part of a global expansion plan. “Nearbuy is well positioned to lead the dynamic Indian local commerce market,” said Lefkofsky, CEO and co-founder of Groupon. “As a continued shareholder in the business, Groupon looks forward to see Nearbuy achieve its vision to become the leading local commerce company in India.”
The amount of funding is still left undisclosed, however, various media reports put it in the region of Rs. 100 crore or about USD 16 million!