Groupon, the US based online discount coupon service, having attracted over 83 million subscribers, is now looking to raise some $750 million in its plans to go public.
The three year-old Chicago based firm is one of the fastest growing businesses in history. Founded in 2008 its revenue in the first year was $94 million, which grew to $713.4 in 2010 and a very healthy $644.7 million in quarter one 2011. But losses were $2.2 million in 2008, $6.9 million in 2009 and $450 million last year.
Groupon sets up deals with businesses and then issues coupons for those deals to subscribers who can present them for a discount. The business gets customers it does not have to chase for, the customers get cheap deals with Groupon and its affiliates taking a slice in the middle.
Last year Groupon was valued at about $1.4 billion and actually turned down an offer from Google of $6 billion.
According to a letter sent out to potential shareholders the company’s founder, Andrew Mason, Groupon has over 7,000 employees who offered over 1,000 daily deals to their 83 million subscribers in 43 countries, resulting in over 70 million coupons being sold.
But there was also a warning that future growth could come at the expense of profit. Andrew Mason said that healthy forecasted profits had previously been converted into losses by investing in long term growth and that this strategy was likely to continue.
The business network LinkIn recently went public and saw its shares quickly double and Facebook, whose value has risen from $60 billion to $100 billion in a year, is expected to go public next year.