Groupon embarks on mobile start-up shopping spree

Groupon embarks on mobile start-up shopping spree

By Michelle Hammond
Monday, 20 February 2012

Groupon has acquired two US-based mobile start-ups as it hones in on the mobile market, hot on the heels of new data that shows the mobile, social and deals categories led private tech investments in 2011.


Late last week, Groupon acquired New York-based start-up Hyperpublic for an undisclosed sum.


Founded in 2010 by Jordan Cooper and Doug Petkanics, Hyperpublic is an open database of people, places and things tied to a specific location.


Anyone can add objects to the database, while developers are able to build applications on top of the data. In 2010, Hyperpublic raised $1.5 million in seed funding.


Hyperpublic is an open database of people, places, and things tied to a specific location. Anyone can add objects to the database and developers will be able to build applications on top of the data.


Cooper described the deal as a “huge win for our team and our investors”. He told TechCrunch a portion of the Hyperpublic team will relocate to Groupon’s engineering offices in California.


Meanwhile, Hyperpublic’s developer platform will be shut down, although maintenance and support will continue until March 2. All data will be deleted after that.


In addition to Hyperpublic, Groupon has acquired Kima Labs, the maker of mobile barcode-reading app Barcode Hero and mobile payment app TapBuy.


The terms of this deal are also undisclosed.


Kima Labs was founded in 2010 by Amazon veterans Jason Crawford and Blake Scholl. As a result of the acquisition, Barcode Hero will close down its service.


That means its iPhone app will no longer be available to download. Those who already have the app have until March 16 to download their data. TapBuy will also be wound down.


Like Groupon, TapBuy offers daily deals. It also processes transactions using credit card information provided by users, grouping transactions together and adding coupons to purchases.


According to Groupon, Kima Labs has developed popular apps that make mobile transactions “easier, more fun and more of a possibility for merchants”.


“We’re excited by the team’s ability to create technology that consumers love, and we believe they’ll be strong assets in our pursuit to change the way people shop,” it said in a statement.


The Kima Labs acquisition, coupled with the Hyperpublic deal, represents a significant pickup in mobile activity for Groupon, although it’s unknown whether other deals will follow.


The news comes as new data reveals later-stage social, mobile and deal-oriented companies dominated venture fundraising last year.


According to tech company database CrunchBase, 421 companies with the “social” tag raised a total of $5.2 billion over 2011, representing 24.8% of the total funding amount.


Mobile companies were the second most popular, with 393 companies raising a total of $2.3 billion, accounting for 11.1% of the total funding amount.


The third largest category was deals (8.9%) followed by games (7.5%), advertising (6%), software (4.7%), cloud (4.6%), eCommerce (4.3%), video (4.1%) and storage (2.8%).

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