Groupon ha fatto il filing per la quotazione in borsa. Dalla lettura del prospetto si sono scatenati moltissimi articoli critici, rispetto al business dell'azienda nata a Chicago ed oggi operativa in 43 nazioni.
Eppure vale la pena ricordare un attimo cosa è successo negli ultimi tre anni.
La startup ha lanciato nel novembre 2007, partita da zero, ha generato 644,7 milioni di dollari di ricavi nel primo trimestre di quest'anno, puntanto a sfondare ampiamente i 2 miliardi di dollari di ricavi nel 2011.
Il marketplace di Groupon offre – città per città – proposte scontatissime ed ha avuto un successo senza precendenti, passando da zero ad oltre ottanta milioni di utenti e scatenando un'ondata di 'cloni' e concorrenti locali e verticali, tra cui domina negli USA Livingsocial ed in Europa il gruppo spagnolo Groupalia.
Groupon intende raccogliere 750 milioni di dollari dalla quotazione in borsa, una quantità di risorse che le consentirebbero un ulteriore salto significativo nella propria crescita oppure diventare target di acquisizione per aziende più grosse. La società ha dei numeri impressionanti, interessanti e ancora difficili da leggere per la poca 'storia'. Ma la lettura del prospetto informativo di borsa è sicuramente interessante, specie per chi è interessato al tema delle startup.
Intanto Groupon ha prodotto perdite complessive per oltre 500 milioni di dollari, di cui 100 primo trimestre di quest'anno, ma ha anche generato free-cash flow per 72 milioni di dollari. E sicuramente ha scoperto qualcosa di nuovo, un'opportunità latente, aprendo la strada a nuove innovazioni nel commercio elettronico.
Ecco alcuni spunti interessanti, tratti dal modello S-1:
|Year Ended December 31,||Three Months Ended
- We spent $179.9 million on online marketing initiatives relating to subscriber acquisition for the first quarter of 2011 and expect to continue to expend significant amounts to acquire additional subscribers.
- In May 2010, we acquired CityDeal, a European-based collective buying power business launched in January 2010 that provided daily deals and online marketing services substantially similar to the Company. As part of the overall consideration paid, we were obligated to issue additional shares of our common stock in December 2010 due to the achievement of financial and performance earn-out targets. We recorded a liability on our consolidated balance sheet as of the original acquisition date for this consideration and subsequently remeasured the liability on a periodic basis until final settlement. As a result of this remeasurement, we recorded a total charge of $204.2 million in acquisition-related expenses in 2010, which was partially offset by other nominal acquisition-related items.
- We had no international operations during the three months ended March 31, 2010. Subsequent to March 31, 2010, we added 132 new North American markets and continued to grow in existing markets. Revenue for our International segment was $346.8 million for the three months ended March 31, 2011. In May 2010, we commenced our operations internationally with the purchase of CityDeal, a European-based local e-commerce business similar to ours, which operated in 80 markets in 16 countries with 1.9 million subscribers at the time of acquisition. We subsequently completed eight additional international acquisitions during 2010, which gave us access to markets and additional subscribers around the world.
- Marketing expense as a percentage of revenue for the three months ended March 31, 2010 and 2011 was 9.0% and 32.3%, respectively. Our marketing expense increased by $204.2 million to $208.2 million for the three months ended March 31, 2011 as compared to March 31, 2010 primarily driven by investments in subscriber acquisition in new markets. We have focused the majority of our marketing spend online, particularly on social networking websites and search engines as part of our new subscriber acquisition strategy. For the three months ended March 31, 2011, marketing expense as a percentage of revenue for the North America and International segments was 26.4% and 37.3%, respectively. The higher marketing expense as a percentage of revenue for our International segment reflects our launch into new International markets.
– Cash provided by (used in) operating activities primarily consists of our net loss adjusted for certain non-cash items, including depreciation and amortization, stock-based compensation, deferred income taxes, acquisition-related expenses and the effect of changes in working capital and other items. Our current merchant arrangements are structured such that we collect cash up front when our customers purchase Groupons and make payments to most of our merchants at a subsequent date. Under our traditional merchant payment model, we pay our merchants in installments over a period of generally sixty days for all Groupons purchased. Under the redemption payment model, which is utilized in most of our international operations, merchants are not paid until the customer redeems the Groupon that has been purchased. As a result of these payment models, we experience swings in merchant payables depending on the absolute level of our cost of revenue during the last few weeks of each quarter. This can cause volatility in working capital levels and impact cash balances more or less than our operating income or loss would indicate. To the extent we offer our merchants more favorable or accelerated payment terms or our revenue does not continue to grow in the future, our cash flow could be adversely impacted.