By Evan Miller
I met the CEO of Groupon fifteen months ago at ORD Camp. At the time Andrew Mason had six employees, a little bit of angel funding, and a sheepish face when he explained that he was in the coupon business.
Groupon is now a one-billion dollar company with hundreds of employees. How can a two-year-old coupon company be worth a billion dollars?
I don’t have any of their figures, but I thought I’d sketch out a few reasons I think that, if anything, Groupon is severely undervalued. First, the obvious:
- People love spending money on Groupon. What’s not to love about getting something you can use with your friends for half-price?
- People love talking about Groupon. I’ve overheard girls on the El train getting excited about the weekend Groupon. Groupon is the H1N1 of virality.
- Companies love Groupon. I’ve explained the surprising economics of Groupon in a previous post.
- Groupon has inspired myriad imitators, but none has captured the same magic of Groupon. If Andrew Mason has a secret sauce, he’s not giving away the ingredient list.
So OK, if Groupon starts operating in every city in America and most cities in the world, saving millions of people hundreds of dollars each year on sushi, spas, and baseball games, that could be a billion dollar company, right? Call me crazy, but I think a billion is too low. Here’s why I think Groupon will be “the next Google.”
First it helps to understand the current Google. Where does Google make its money, some $20 billion a year in revenue? Casual observers say “search ads.” Sergey calls it “contextually relevant advertising.” Neither description really explains why a single click on a simple text ad can be worth as much $50.
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