12-year-old startup Meetup brings on new investors, including Ev Williams and Tony Hsieh

Above: The Meetup Team

Image Credit: Meetup

12 years into the game, Meetup, a network of local groups, has closed a secondary round from three key investors.

This round, according to co-founder and chief financial officer Brendan McGovern, “was kept small” and raised for the purpose of allowing 10 to 15 current and former employees to exercise expiring stock options. Meetup refused to share specific figures, but McGovern tells VentureBeat that Meetup itself “did not take in any money in this transaction.”

It appears that Meetup’s secondary round was raised to solve a common problem among adolescent private companies. Early Meetup employees — of which some have left and some have stayed — have the right to exercise their options, and their doing so doesn’t necessarily reflect negatively or positively on Meetup.

There may be a percentage of employees who want to cash out their stock and move on. We’re told by Meetup that this is not in the majority. The involvement of Twitter cofounder Ev Williams, Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, and Behance co-creator Scott Belsky adds confidence to the deal. The three aforementioned entrepreneurs apparently consider this to be a very long-term investment.

In addition to this round, Meetup shares that the company now receives 3 million RSVPs per month and enables 15,000 meet-ups per day. Overall, the startup claims it consistently sees “30 percent year over year growth” in RSVPs, group joins and the creation of new groups.

Often considered the grandfather of New York startups, Meetup tells us it sees no near term IPO or merger in sight. This round represents one step in the process of continuing on as a private firm.


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