Coupons.com Raises $200 Million to Save Consumers a Lot of Cash

Coupons.com, the Mountain View, Calif.-based company that is trying to bring a very offline business to the Internet, has raised $200 million in capital.

Half of the funding will be used to buy stock from employees and early investors.

The other half will be used to fuel the company’s growth as the industry shifts from a newspaper-dominated world to an online world, where people search for coupons and print them out, or potentially save them to a loyalty card or mobile phone that gets swiped at checkout. Participants in this and previous fundings were not disclosed.

In an interview with CEO Steven Boal in February, he told me that he had his doubts along the way about whether the industry could change, but “lo and behold, it’s actually happening,” he said.

In the press release today, Boal said it is the perfect time to invest heavily as newspaper readership continues to decline and more consumers are looking online for savings.

Not only does he see an opportunity in bringing coupons online, but he also has two additional goals: expanding the audience of people interested in receiving discounts beyond the industry’s die-hard set of older women and attracting new merchants by bringing down the costs of distributing coupons.

Other ways it will use the cash:

  • Hire aggressively by adding 100 more employees to today’s headcount of 300.
  • Expanding internationally. The company already operates in 12 European countries through its 50 percent ownership of U.K.-based Couponstar.
  • Complete acquisitions. Previous acquisitions include Free State Labs, the developers of Grocery iQ, a leading shopping list application for mobile phones.

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus