On FFlick and Cashing In Early
In late 2010, Groupon rejected a $6bn offer from Google. Just like Facebook’s rejection of a $1bn offer from Yahoo in late 2006, it is a tale that is likely to run and run.
In their recent round of fundraising, Facebook was valued at c. $50bn, so from a purely financial perspective, their decision seems now to have been a wise one. In Groupon's case, their financial wisdom will only be proven with time. The jury is currently out as although there are rumours of an impending $15bn flotation, Google Offers is now being launched as a rival service.
But the rejection of these massive offers is motivated by more than financial considerations. The ambition level and lifestyle of the founder/CEO of each business must also be influential. Whilst the real Sean Parker has distanced himself from Justin Timberlake’s portrayal in ‘The Social Network’, there must be some truth to the idea that a Parker-inspired Zuckerburg has been motivated by a vision that he is helping to shape the world’s future. At age 29 Groupon’s founder and CEO, Andrew Mason, is just 3 years older than Zuckerburg and doubtless shares Zuckerburg's energy and desire to conquer all. If these guys were to sell out, then what; play golf?
But for others young entrepreneurs, selling early can be a very wise decision. I started Easyodds at the age of 23. I shared with my investors and co-founder the desire to build a huge company and we ignored early exit options. Fast forward to 2011 and Easyodds remains a major player in the e-gaming affiliate market with positive growth. In an ever growing industry and with bright people involved, it still has a chance to achieve greatness. But by the time I personally moved from active service in early 2010, I had spent 10 grueling years on the business and that huge company vision had not materialized. By contrast the founders of Oddschecker (our principle competitor) geared their business for an early exit and they successfully sold the Company for c. £4m and exited the business in 2004.Continued on the next page