Popular group-buying site Groupon just filed for a $750 million initial public offering.
The news isn’t a huge surprise, since there have been reports about Groupon advancing towards an IPO for the past few months. Chief executive Andrew Mason (pictured with a little Photoshop work) appeared at the D9 conference yesterday where he dodged most questions about an IPO by staring silently (and hilariously) at interviewer Kara Swisher. However, he did acknowledge that the company had been in discussions with bankers and offered the following explanation for why a hypothetical company might want to go public:
I run a business, and the business has shareholders who at some point want to get money. Going public is a way for people to get money. In this day and age, people have a tolerance for companies running for the long-term [rather than short-term profits]. I don’t think there’s any downside.
The Chicago-headquartered company is growing at as astonishing rate — according to the filing, its revenue went from $94,000 in 2008 to $30 million in 2009 and $713 million. Despite that growth, the company still appears to be running at a loss.
Groupon’s investors include Accel Partners, New Enterprise Associates, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Battery Ventures, Greylock Partners, Mail.ru Group (formerly Digital Sky Technologies), Maverick Capital, Silver Lake, and Technology Crossover. The company is actually raising less money in its IPO than it did with its most recent, $950 million round of funding.