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Groupon India raises funds from Sequoia, rebrands as Nearbuy

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MUMBAI: In a drive to consolidate its position as a leading local commerce player in the country, Groupon India has raised funding from Sequoia India. Additionally, the company has also been rebranded as Nearbuy.

Post the funding, Nearbuy is looking to expand its reach to 35+ cities across 18+ categories and function as an independent entrepreneurial entity, while still continuing to have Groupon as the large shareholder.

Nearbuy India will continue to operate under the company's CEO and founder Ankur Warikoo’s leadership. Groupon’s Shared Service Centers in Chennai and Bangalore will remain under the sole control and operation of Groupon.

Over the past three years, Groupon India has delivered on an aggressive growth strategy, scaling up presence across the country, growing the customer base and partnering with quality merchants. Since its initial days, the company has gone on to command over 50 per cent market share in the Indian coupon industry. In 2014, the company sold over seven million vouchers with a redemption rate of 97 per cent amongst its customers. More than 100,000 merchant locations were featured in the year, with a merchant retention rate of 70 per cent+. Mobile has been a key driver accounting for over 40 per cent of Groupon India’s business, up from less than 10 per cent a year ago.

With the increasing penetration of mobiles and explosive growth in mobile internet usage, Nearbuy aims to lead the confluence of local commerce across existing segments such as F&B, Travel, Wellness as well as new local services such as home and auto services, online food ordering, movies and in-store shopping.

“We’ve had the opportunity to service some of the biggest and most-loved brands across categories as Groupon - and now as Nearbuy we plan to expand that portfolio. The unique location based services will allow merchants to target consumers that are closer to their establishments and will offer unprecedented value to address critical business requirements. We are glad to have received the support of Sequoia India as a strategic partner, who are bringing on board the value, knowledge and expertise they possess, along with the resources required to make our vision a reality. The local commerce market in India is growing at a never-seen-before pace, and mobile penetration is facilitating that. Add to that Groupon’s Global support and we become a truly local player with global expertise and technology,” said Warikoo.

“The potential of the Indian market is huge -- our decision to bring in Sequoia is expected to provide the additional resources our India business needs to grow and become a true local commerce leader,” said Groupon CEO Eric Lefkofsky.

“Under the continued leadership of Ankur Warikoo, Nearbuy is well positioned to lead the dynamic Indian local commerce market. As a continued shareholder in the business, Groupon looks forward to seeing Nearbuy achieve its vision to become the leading local commerce company in India,” added Lefkofsky.

Sequoia Capital India Advisors managing director Mohit Bhatnagar opined, “Tens of thousands of service and retail establishments across India have a new friend in Nearbuy. This mobile first platform will cause more consumers to walk into their stores, spas, hotels, movie halls and help them sell more products and services. The unique Nearbuy platform is all about hyper local discovery, discounts and frictionless payments. This we believe is an untapped billion dollar market opportunity. Nearbuy is best poised to exploit this opportunity, given the strong foundation Ankur and team have built with Groupon India.”

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