Take Our Photo Tour Of Groupon, Where They're Quickly Becoming Billionaires

Groupon tour slide

Groupon has held talks with banks about an IPO that could value the company as much as $25 billion, Bloomberg reported early this morning.

That suggests that the stakes held by some of Groupon’s founders and investors could be worth $1 billion or more. Early Groupon investor Eric Lefkofsky just made Forbes’ latest billionaires list, for example.

So, what’s it like to work at Groupon? We visited the company for a photo tour late last November, just as the reports broke that it was considering a $6 billion buyout offer from Google.

Since then, Groupon has continued to grow, so things have probably changed a bit since our visit. But if you haven’t taken our tour yet, now’s a good time to check it out.

We start on the sixth floor of 600 W. Chicago Ave., west of Chicago's downtown, in an old Montgomery Ward building

Since we last visited, Groupon has moved its main office into a new floor of the building, complete with fancy frosted glass logos

A flashy LCD wall greets visitors

There's Groupon cofounder and CEO Andrew Mason's recent Forbes cover in the middle, surrounded by magazine covers of famous dotcom meltdowns, like MySpace, Netscape, and AOL. This is how Mason keeps himself grounded.

We're greeted by Dani Hurt, who guards a book where every job applicant supposedly has to draw a self-portrait. (We didn't find out about this until later!) Note the Groupon cat logo behind her.

We catch up with Andrew Mason, who is watching a clip of this morning's Groupon mention on Oprah

Apparently Oprah's mention, combined with a hot deal that day, has melted Groupon's servers

Mason, moments before he learns the site is down and has to leave us

We join up with our tour guide, Groupon marketing and communications manager Julie Mossler, who is posing here with some artwork she picked up at Goodwill.

Michael's room has wallpaper, a bed with burn marks, and lots of Cheerios boxes.

There's a tank for an (apparently escaped) critter...

There's a toilet full of Almond Joy bars...

There's an old iMac full of Van Halen MP3s...

And there are digital photo frames of Andrew Mason. Weird! Let's get out of here.

Out here, a glimpse at some of the marketing and sales department

Here's a batch of new Groupon editorial workers. To make up for the fact that they don't have much space right now, they have movies on all the time on that big-screen TV.

Anna Barnett is part of the Kansas City sales team, for example

Joel Hadley is part of the St. Louis sales team, and is trying very hard to grow a moustache

Fun fact: This part of Groupon's office used to be a test kitchen

Sales reps take a break

Across the river is a Chicago Tribune building, a big brick reminder of the newspaper classified industry that Groupon is helping to disrupt

Patti Cella is a sales rep for Minneapolis and was the first person to take maternity leave at Groupon

Salespeople Chris Rosburg and Brittany Sandstrom

We move to another part of the office, where the editorial team is working quietly

Copy editors on the editorial team

Brandon Copple, former managing editor of Crain's Chicago Business, now managing editor of Groupon

David Bowie poster

Josh Petuchowski, sales rep for Albany, closes a huge deal for waxing (that's what Groupon is all about, right?)

Woman riding a bird with sword in the air: Groupon's first try at a logo. (A joke, of course). The idea was to create a logo that was the least usable as possible for a business. (The pink sweater was only added later. You can figure out what was there before.)

Groupon's wall of headshots: Many of the customer service reps are improv actors, which is actually good training, because it encourages quick thinking and positive responses

A look up close at a few headshots

Employees tried to randomly guess how many Groupons for Gap the company would sell -- it came in at 441,000. Groupon says the winner was undetermined because they started erasing guesses so people could guess how many guesses would be written down.

Lastly, here's the fort, guarding part of the tech team that's working on top-secret projects, and Andrew Mason's desk

A peek behind the curtain -- some developers hard at work

In the rafters: A photo of Mason from college, brought in and hung up to celebrate his 30th birthday this past fall. Mason was reportedly mortified.

And that's about it! The Groupon cat sends us on our way...

Want to see what Groupon HQ looked like 850 employees ago?

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