Ever since Dan Schawbel's 30 Under 30 party in Boston last month, Maia Josebachvili at Urban Escapes has been keeping a secret from us. Every year, we find that at least a few young CEOs on the list find a way to collaborate with one another and we love that. Her Campus and Rent-The-Runway launched the "Rent the Runway 'It' Girl of the Month" contest, in which readers vote on HerCampus.com to select one girl each month to receive a free rental from Rent the Runway. The Second Glass and Her Campus are also working together to cross-promote events, and Morgan First reports that The Second Glass team is 'staying in AirBnB locations as we scout out taking Wine Riot national!' She also scored some IdeaPaint (an honoree last year) for the company's new LA offices.
But the big news comes from Urban Escapes and Living Social, which are now one happy company. Apparently, the guys at Living Social had their eyes on Urban Escapes before 30 Under 30, 'but when the list came out, that's what really got me to reach out and talk to them,' says Living Social's Tim O'Shaughnessy. 'We've done some custom events ourselves and we know it's an underserved market.' Living Social, an online coupon company with ten million subscribers worldwide, is Groupon's biggest competitor; Urban Escapes organizes outdoor excursions in four cities. 'We now get to plan the awesome trips that we've always planned but on a much larger scale and for a bigger audience,' says Josebachvili. 'We'll be bigger, badder, and better than ever before.'
O'Shaughnessy first met with Josebachvili and her partner, Bram Levy, in August, staring out at Urban Escapes New York offices, then quickly adjourning to an Irish pub called The Pig ‘n' Whistle. A pint or two later, it became clear that there was more potential in their partnership than just a coupon offering or two. 'Our longer-term view has always has been what you would do in real life with friends, not just deals and coupons,' says O'Shaughnessy. He says that additional acquisitions are likely in 2011, as the company looks for more ways to differentiate itself and capture market share. Living Social continues to nip at the heel of Groupon; last month, it actually had more unique visitors than the coupon giant. Check back here for updates on both companies and for more news on our 30 Under 30 community.
DONNA FENN is the author of Upstarts! How Gen-Y Entrepreneurs Are Rocking the World of Business and 8 Ways You Can Profit From Their Success, an exploration of the ways Gen Y is changing the entrepreneurial landscape.
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