The Groupon Opportunity

Posted on March 19, 2013 by Ted Leonsis

As you may know, I've served on the Board of Directors for Groupon since 2009, and I'm currently serving as interim Co-CEO along with Eric Lefkofsky as we search for a new leader for the company.

When I first met the founders of Groupon in 2009, I was struck by the higher calling of the company - and by the goodness of the company's services and the intrinsic wisdom and work ethic of the people at Groupon. That’s still true today.

The company's founding mission is to make life less boring and to do it by bringing great, undiscovered and fun offers to people on an ongoing basis. Everyone loves saving money; and that notion of improving the quality of life through the best deals on the planet is quite romantic. At the same time, there is a pragmatic side to the big idea for the company; we can help people save money and budget their personal economies better in tough economic times.

Equally important, we can help merchants and small businesses grow by investing in their products and services instead of spending on unaccountable advertising.  By driving people into stores and making cash registers ring, the company not only partners and shares risk with merchants but also provides cash flow at a time when liquidity is so important to merchants.

Being able to help consumers and merchants at the same time creates a positive and self-reinforcing cycle. Groupon has used that momentum to create a brand new category where it’s the big winner in terms of segment market share, revenues generated, number of customers served, merchants serviced and employees hired. We also have built the most valuable franchise in this new space. Groupon has much to be proud of  - and the team has a great challenge to help the company live up to its promise.

This fresh look at an age-old industry is what excited all of us. We all saw the potential in the space where local, mobile and ecommerce all intersect. We are all proud to be working for this company because its mission is a noble and empowering one.

The company has a great responsibility to never lose sight of its higher calling and must refocus and rededicate itself to finding and presenting the best deals -- the most exciting deals -- to customers, while always being empathetic and listening to our merchant partners. 

So when people ask me what Groupon’s working on, it’s easy: Perfect the core deliverable, invest wisely for the future and empower the people of Groupon to do what is best for customers and merchants. 

It’s going to be an exciting time. I’m glad to be a part of it.


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