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Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Groupon Acquires Travel Search Company Uptake

Groupon has acquired the social travel research start-up Uptake.

The price of the deal was in the “teens” of millions, and is essentially an “acqhire” for Uptake’s 20-person Palo Alto, Calif.-based team, according to a source familiar with the deal.

That’s not a huge win, given that Uptake had raised $14 million from investors including Shasta Ventures and Trinity Ventures.

“Groupon has acquired Uptake and we’re excited to continue to build the Palo Alto engineering team with an all-star roster of startup founders and experts in the mobile and social space,” a spokeswoman for Groupon said via email.

Uptake used personalized social data to help users research destinations through their friend networks. When I talked to the company last year, CEO Yen Lee boasted of his company’s skills in analyzing unstructured data about travel, rather than relying on explicit signals like Foursquare check-ins.

Groupon has its own social travel product, called Groupon Getaways, through a partnership with Expedia.

Groupon has been on a buying spree of late. Other recent acquisitions include Hyperpublic, Kima Labs, Adku, Campfire Labs and Zappedy. Check out Tricia Duryee’s recent tour of Groupon’s Palo Alto tech office, which has been staffed in part through these acquisitions.

Groupon said it had no immediate plans to shut down Uptake.com, but it will close Uptake’s RealTravel site on approximately March 12. Lee will consult to Groupon, while co-founder Gene McKenna will join Groupon along with an unspecified number of members of the Uptake team.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald