At Least Andrew Mason's Goat Rodeo of Groupon Investors Will Be Fun to Watch!
Next week, at the DLD conference in Munich, Germany, BoomTown will be interviewing one of my favorite start-up CEOs: Andrew Mason of Groupon.
And what’s my very first question for the adorkable toast of the digital town, who has just collected a billion dollars in funding, giving his hot social buying site a $4.75 billion valuation?
No, it’s not about what Mason is going to do with all that moolah.
Not, it’s not about why Groupon spurned the $6 billion acquisition offer from Google (and the Yahoo one before that).
No, it’s not about what hair care products Mason uses to get his hair looking so much like Justin Bieber’s coif.
Most of all, what I want to know is how he’s going to manage his ridiculously large–and, let’s be honest, very opinionated–investor group, which is made up of a big chunk of the digital arena’s most prominent VC firms, institutional investors and angels.
Consider the list, which is much more diverse than Facebook’s at a similar time in its gestation (and, in fact, it feels a lot like the social networking site’s current investor stampede):
Andreessen Horowitz, Battery Ventures, Greylock Partners, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Mail.ru Group (formerly DST Global), Maverick Capital, Silver Lake, and Technology Crossover Ventures, New Enterprise Associates, Accel Partners, T. Rowe Price, Fidelity, Capital Group, Morgan Stanley, former AOL exec Ted Leonsis and others.
(How in the world is the ubiquitous Ron Conway not shoved in this pig pile? Or is he?)
And, of course, the inevitable Allen & Company acted as financial advisor for this massive funding, which also feels like a bit of a private pre-IPO.
It will be interesting to see exactly whom among this shareholder group that Mason and the other top Groupon execs will listen to and who will have the most influence over the next year.
None of the new moneybags got a board seat, which is probably a good thing. As most entrepreneurs know all too well, investors can be a tricky thing–at once helpful and then not so much.
Mason, a clearly gifted exec, certainly has his hands full now, managing expectations for the fast-growing company, as well as the business itself.
Let’s hope that now that this surreal investor sideshow circus is over, that Groupon’s precious time can be focused on just that.