Local coupon and deals platform Groupon has raised money from Sequoia Capital in its Indian business Groupon India to Sequoia, reports ET Tech. Following the fundraise, Sequoia Capital now has a majority voting interest in the entity. Interestingly, according to its SEC filing, Groupon will not receive any cash with respect to this transaction, rather it expects a $13m to $17m gain based on the ‘remeasurement of its retained investment in Groupon India to a fair value’. However, this estimate could change based on the final valuation of the Groupon India. Groupon will continue to remain a significant shareholder in the company.
Note that in March this year, Sequoia Capital invested $20 million in Groupon India. The company had said then that it was planning to raise another round of funding this year and one next year, possibly aimed at separating itself from the US-based Groupon and becoming more autonomous. Reportedly, only a few senior staffers knew about this deal, not the rest of the employees or public at large.
According to the ET report, post acquisition, Groupon India will be renamed to Nearbuy, and will continue to operate with Ankur Warikoo at its helm. As of now, Groupon and Nearbuy are operating as separate websites, with both platforms offering deals and Nearbuy sporting a ‘By Groupon’ tag. However, in all likelihood, Groupon’s India website will soon start redirecting to Nearbuy.
Other than the rebranding, the platform will also focus on its mobile apps to connect buyers with nearby deals, although it not clear if the company is looking to go app only. The rebranded service offers services like home cleaning, auto repairs, laundry and pest control, while continuing to offer deals for stores, health and beauty and restaurants etc.
Groupon was formed in India after it bought the Indian platform SoSasta in early 2011. SoSasta founders Ananya and Udayan Bubna joined Groupon post the acquisition. Groupon was not immediately able to shift to the “groupon.co.in” domain because of domain squatting issues. The company was called Crazeal before it was renamed to Groupon in late 2012.
22% of Groupon India business through mobile:
Groupon reported that 22% of Groupon India’s business was generated through mobile in Q2 2014, while globally, mobile accounted for 50% of their business for the same quarter.
Corrigendum: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Groupon has sold controlling interest to Sequoia Capital India. Our apologies for the error.