Is Groupon slowing down? VCs wager $950M that it’s not

andrewmasoncashfanHere’s the big announcement that everyone knew was coming: Daily deals site Groupon has raised $950 million in new funding.

The fact that Groupon was raising the round, and that it had raised $500 million already, came to light last month through a filing with the Securities Commission. TechCrunch reported Friday that Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers was participating in the round — the firm has been aggressively moving back into social networking with its $250 million sFund for social startups and an investment in Twitter that valued the company at $3.7 billion.

And yes, Kleiner is listed among the investors in Groupon’s new round as well as Andreessen Horowitz, Battery Ventures, Greylock Partners, Mail.ru Group (formerly Digital Sky Technologies), Maverick Capital, Silver Lake, and Technology Crossover. Previous investors New Enterprise Associates and Accel Partners weren’t on the list, although both firms declined to offer any real comment when PEHub asked whether they sat out on the new round.

Groupon has attracted its share of critics, including guest columnists in VentureBeat, who question whether the company’s growth is sustainable. Clearly there are plenty of investors willing to bet that Groupon is still on its way up. In an interview with The New York Times, company president Rob Solomon said that there were still many more small businesses worldwide for Groupon to recruit, and that the company plans to offer those businesses more services.

In the press release announcing the funding (titled, in Groupon’s typical tongue-in-cheek fashion, “Groupon Raises, Like, A Billion Dollars”), the company says that in the last year, it expanded from 1 to 35 countries and grew from 2 million to more than 50 million subscribers.

The company previously walked away from a $6 billion acquisition offer by Google. The press release doesn’t disclose a valuation, but TechCrunch reported that it was $4.75 billion.

[Image of Groupon CEO Andrew Mason lovingly Photoshopped by VentureBeat Executive Editor Owen Thomas]


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