Andrew Mason is Groupon’s CEO and spiritual leader, but a source cozy with the place just clued us in on how things really work at the company that just turned down Google’s $6 billion offer.While Mason is a “prodigy,” the real “operators” behind Groupon are cofounders and investors Brad Keywell and Eric Lefkofsky.
“They’re not angels. They’re not VCs. They’re operators,” says our source.
Makes some sense. Those two own about 40% of the company, we hear. Lefkofsky and Keywell are both on Groupon’s board, too. Unlike Mason, they’ve also got a lot of experience running big companies. Besides Groupon, they’ve invested in a whole bunch of Chicago startups. Here’s how they describe their success on their Web site:
We’ve started 11 companies.We ‘ve raised $750 million and created over $5 billion in returns, with an average investment duration of 4 years. our companies employ more than 5,000 people in over 120 offices, and generate more than $2 billion in annual revenue, with more than $250 million in free cash flow. We’re also a dominant foosball tandem.
Their strategy is to take human-heavy, sales-force dependent, call centre type companies and staff them with bright young people in Chicago (and bring them onto the Internet).
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