A dozen years in the past, Groupon shot to fame popularizing the web group shopping for format, confidently rejecting a $6 billion acquisition supply from Google and as an alternative going public with a $17.8 billion market cap. The corporate in the present day says it has 14 million lively customers, however virtually constantly for the final decade, its monetary place has been in a gradual decline — with stagnation in its core enterprise mannequin, little success in efforts to diversify, declining revenues and ongoing losses.
And in the present day comes the most recent chapter in that story. The Chicago-based firm, which in the present day has a market cap of simply $103 million (a drop of 99.4% from its public market debut), has appointed Dusan Senkypl, a present board member, as interim CEO. Senkypl will run the corporate… out of the Czech Republic.
His appointment is efficient instantly, the corporate stated in an announcement in the present day.
He replaces Kedar Deshpande, who had been Groupon’s CEO for simply 15 months. Earlier than Groupon, Deshpande was an exec at Zappos for greater than a decade, and after he took the Groupon job, he continued to be based mostly out of Las Vegas. He’ll keep on for 60 extra days to assist with the transition, the corporate stated.
Senkypl is a co-founder of Pale Fireplace Capital, a PE agency based mostly in Prague (and named after the Nabokov novel?). Most of Pale Fireplace’s investments are in companies out of its residence nation and different components of Europe. However additionally it is presently Groupon’s largest shareholder — a task it has not held passively: the 2 companies had been embroiled in an activist struggle final yr that resulted within the agency getting two board seats on the firm, considered one of which Senkypl holds.
“Since he joined the Board, Dusan has been very engaged as a director, offering necessary oversight on Groupon’s technique and strengths and serving to the corporate determine areas in want of enchancment,” famous Ted Leonsis, Groupon’s chairman, in an upbeat tackle the information.
Certainly. In November, Pale Fireplace introduced that it was serving to Groupon rebuild its complete know-how group, beginning with the appointment of a brand new CTO from considered one of its different portfolio firms.
The corporate has additionally been doing another pretty intense restructuring, with its place not helped by the broader pressures on the know-how sector and the financial system total: throughout two tranches in August 2022 and January 2023, it laid off round 1,000 staff, or roughly 30% of its workforce.
Groupon particularly has confronted a bunch of challenges over time. The very idea of group shopping for is structured on the idea of hype, which can have been a fateful, less-than-promising start line. Even early on, and regardless of the predictions of it being a risk to Google and Amazon, others debated whether or not it may rightly be thought-about a “tech” firm. However past this, Groupon — regardless of making greater than 40 acquisitions, together with a bunch of clones throughout worldwide markets, plus a variety of attention-grabbing e-commerce and fintech companies — failed to search out different hooks to diversify itself.
In the meantime, a key advertising route for the corporate — electronic mail — died a small dying when Google modified how subscription emails had been categorized (and might be extra simply ignored). And naturally, dozens of different platforms and improvements have emerged concentrating on prospects who need to purchase the sort of experiences and companies that firms like Groupon promote.
Senkypl and Groupon have a tall order forward of them to show all this round. However the brand new CEO believes that there’s nonetheless a possibility to repair what isn’t working.
“I’ve a deep appreciation for the dedication that has gone into constructing this firm and am honored to information Groupon by way of its transformation and turnaround,” Senkypl stated in an announcement. “With distinctive native stock, over 14 million lively native prospects and hundreds of thousands of customer periods per thirty days, Groupon has helpful property able to fueling vital progress when paired with operational excellence. I’m excited to construct on that basis to additional scale the corporate’s market and drive elevated worth for all stakeholders. I’ve constructed a number of companies from the bottom up that operated at scale with lots of of hundreds of thousands of customers, and I consider I do know what we have to do at Groupon to take the corporate to the subsequent stage.”
For some context on these numbers: 14 million would possibly sound like a giant quantity, however recall that when the corporate first filed to go public again in 2011, it stated it had greater than 83 million registered subscribers, with round 15.8 million of them having bought Groupon offers. There’s a variety of work to do, in different phrases, to get individuals to care about Groupon once more.