Deals

LivingSocial acquires Urban Escapes to take lead in daily deal war

Online daily deal site LivingSocial announced today that it has acquired social adventure company Urban Escapes in a bid to give members more bang for their buck as they search for activities that fit their lifestyles without breaking the bank.

LivingSocial bills itself as a social buying program that lets its 10 million subscribers search through a “local activity discovery engine” to find restaurants, shops, activities and services popular in their area at discounts of up to 50 to 70 percent.

The Washington, D.C.-based shopping site said the addition of Urban Escapes will initially debut in five introductory markets, but will eventually expand to all 95 markets in which LivingSocial currently has a presence. Urban Escape currently has operations in Philadelphia, New York, Boston and Washington, D.C.

It has historically focused on getting the 25-45 year old set interested in guided outdoor adventures, whether day trips to local parks or landmarks, or longer getaway “destination adventures.”

Now, the company will morph to include adventures specifically designed for LivingSocial members, such as “Zen Escape Yoga Hikes” to “Boulder and Brew Tours,” as the site learns how to leverage exactly what sort of activities subscribers are hoping to find.

“People who use LivingSocial are already looking for fun, new things to do in the area they live or where they’re visiting,” said Maia Josebachvili, founder and president of Urban Escapes. “We’re passionate about organizing experiences you could never arrange on your own and this acquisition is the perfect opportunity for us to expand these completely unique, guided experiences around the globe.”

Online website statistics tracker Compete is now showing LivingSocial leading close competitor Groupon in unique monthly visitors by a whisker for the first time in 2010—a lead that LivingSocial may try to keep by making more acquisitions to complement its existing offerings and expand its brand online.

The firm’s co-founder and CEO Tim O’Shaughnessy projected in July that the company will see $100 million in revenue in 2010, a massive jump from the $5 million to $10 million range the company saw in revenues the year before.

O’Shaughnessy founded LivingSocial in 2008 with Valeriy Aleksenko, Aaron Batalion and Eddie Frederick. Thus far, the startup has raised more than $40 million in venture capital and with Groupon controls around 98 percent of the online coupon market.