FAST GROWTH

Groupon's Valuation Hits the Roof

Recent IPO talks put Groupon's value at a startling $25 billion, an 18-year-old entrepreneur takes the stage, plus the rest of the day's news.
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Each day, Inc.'s reporters scour the Web for the most important and interesting news to entrepreneurs. Here's what we found today.

A looming IPO gives Groupon a huge valuation. "In contrast to the sea of deep discounts on its Web site, the valuation of Groupon keeps moving higher," writes Evelyn Rusli for DealBook. Apparently, Groupon sat down this week with bankers at Goldman Sachs to discuss a potential initial public offering that would value the company "at close to $25 billion." Spokespeople from Groupon declined to comment for the DealBook article, but if the deal did go through, DealBook notes that Goldman Sachs would be the "front-runner" to handle the IPO.  When Google announced its IPO back in 2004, its market value was pegged at $23 billion, Rusli notes. Groupon, the poster-child for all fast-growing companies, now has 70 million subscribers in over 500 markets, and employees about 6,000 people. It was founded just three years ago.

Who's the next Y Combinator whiz kid? Just when we thought Daniel Gross was the youngest founder Paul Graham tapped for YC, a game-design duo proves us wrong. As TechCrunch reports, at the tender age of 15, Josh Buckley sold his first company for six figures. Today, he's 18, and has partnered with 17-year-old Tyler Diaz to found MinoMonsters, a social game that looks like what Pokemon would be if it was created by Rovio today.

Speaking of Rovio... The game-design company behind iPhone uber-smash hit app Angry Birds might just be seeking an IPO in New York, ArcticStartup reports. Only we can't quite be sure, because the original story is in Finnish. Any Finns out there who can lend us a hand?

Stuck in the bubble. Steve Blank today solidly declares himself on board with the line of thinking that after the lean-start-up period of the past decade, we're back in a new dot-com bubble. "Here we go again..." he writes. Signs started last year, including "seed and late-stage valuations are rapidly inflating, hiring talent in Silicon Valley is the toughest since the last bubble and investors are starting to openly wonder how this one will end." Check out his post for the new rules of scale, exits, and visibility. One key idea is that start-ups that win the bubble will be those that get wide adoption and massive distribution. In other words, find an audience first, and focus on monetizing later. But the days of quietly building away, and staying away from hype and limelight are over. Blank writes: "you and your company now need to be everywhere and look larger than life."

Republicans looking to cut S.B.A budget. The Small Business Administration's 2012 budget is looking pretty slim, and if the House Republicans get their way, the impending cut will be heftier than first thought.  They want to take an additional $100 million off President Obama's proposed $28 million.  The House Small Business Committee's chairman, Sam Graves, says the S.B.A "needs to eliminate funds from duplicative and ineffective programs and reallocate some of those fund to programs that will be more helpful to American entrepreneurs." 

The Great Paywall. It was announced yesterday that The New York Times will begin charging readers for access to their Web site on March 28th. Perhaps this sets the stage for how other online news services will consider their own pricing models.  "This is a big moment for newspapers," said Rob Grimshaw, managing director for FT.com, which introduced fees for unlimited digital access to The Financial Times in 2007. "I think this will show that people are willing to pay for high-quality, original reporting."

Building business in the Big Easy. Five years ago New Orleans was underwater with a difficult future ahead of itself. Today, green businesses are leading the way to the revitalization of the once thriving city at the mouth of the Mississippi. Courtesy of CNN, check out this video that shows just what's happening down south.





 

Study: Small businesses need mobile tech to survive. A new study released by AT&T's Small Business Technology Poll, surveying 2,246 small businesses across the U.S., found that mobile-based technology is more crucial to small business operations now more than ever before, Fox Business reports. The study found 72 percent of small businesses currently use mobile apps for their businesses, and about 38 percent "cannot live without" mobile apps.

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Last updated: Mar 18, 2011




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