GroupOn has the makings a successful IPO today that is ten times oversubscribed. When one considers the recent challenges and tribulations that the GroupOn management team has faced, it is all the more impressive. All of this reminded me of an earlier social shopping start-up letsbuyit.com that was one of the high profile casualties of the dot.com decline. (After flaming out, letsbuyit was relaunched in 2009). Of course, things are different now, there is less optimism now than there was at the end of the 1990s; Cool Britannia is a distant memory as we are stirring down the barrels of a recession that is reminiscent of the early 1980s. On the plus side most internet start-ups only need a fraction of the funds required first time around, so are less likely to hammer your pension fund quite as badly – the financial sector can do that very well on their own. Recent entrants to the industry may find it instructive to read The Register’s archive of articles charting the rise and fall of letsbuyit.com.
Archived from blog posts I wrote for PR Week