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Groupon founders pump a couple million into a quiet, bank-making LA startup

You may not have heard much about Eventup, the Los Angeles-based marketplace for event venues. But Lightbank, the investment vehicle of Groupon founders Eric Lefkofsky and Brad Keywell, just led a $1.8 million seed round for the company.

Eventup‘s provenance is SoCal gold; it sprang forth from Science (the incubator started by Color’s Peter Pham and former MySpace CEO Mike Jones) in February with a grand claim: If you want to rent an unattainable, unbelievably cool location, you can.

Want to have a rock-themed wedding in Eric Clapton’s house? Done. Pool party at The Bachelor mansion? You got it.

The properties started out in the greater LA area — Malibu beach houses and the second or third homes of the rich and famous. Listings grew 100 percent each month, and today, you can choose from among 3,000 different properties in cities around the United States, including San Francisco, New York City, and Chicago. Today, you can rent out yachts, private penthouses, historic concert venues, castles, islands, museums — indeed, Eventup’s inventory is perhaps one of the most glamorous and exciting things about this startup.

Check out some of the locations the site has on display and available for rental:

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As for the funding, it will be used to bring Eventup’s services to even more locations around the States. Joining Lightbank in the round are Crosscut Ventures, NEA, New World Ventures, and several angel investors. Investors and the startup’s founders are hoping to ride a wave of new corporate events as the national economy shows signs of recovery, especially in major metropolitan areas.

Also, the Groupon connection is going to be important for Eventup’s other business. With a direct pipeline into databases of reputable local caterers, photographers, valet parking, security, bartenders, party supplies, and DJs, Eventup can start listing additional event services along with its venue catalog.

“When we launched, we expected inbound interest from consumers; and as of late, we’ve seen revenue growth for things like anniversary parties and birthday parties,” said Eventup CEO Tony Adam in a release. “But we’ve been blown away by the increase in bookings on the corporate side. We are becoming the go-to source for events, with the best selection of the most sought-after locations and a comprehensive directory of vendors.”

“Eventup is onto something very exciting as evidenced by the tremendous growth in bookings they’ve experienced in just a few short months,” said Lightbank’s Paul Lee in a statement. “Lightbank seeks to work with companies that are surfacing and fulfilling growing consumer needs, and in this case, Eventup provides a much needed and requested service for venues as consumers and businesses alike renew their interest in hosting events.”

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