Howard Schultz (Richard Eriksson photo)

Groupon’s growth rate over the past two years has been absolutely insane. Consider this: The daily deal site had just 37 employees and 152,203 subscribers in June 2009. It now boasts 7,107 employees and 83.1 million subscribers.

No wonder Starbucks Chairman Howard Schultz wanted a piece of the action. After all, that’s a growth rate that the coffee retailer — legendary for its expansion efforts — couldn’t even keep up with.

Schultz joined the board of Groupon in February, and invested in the Chicago company through his Seattle venture capital firm Maveron. At the time, Maveron declined to say how much it invested.

But today’s IPO filing sheds some light on the matter. Schultz, along with Maveron, invested $15 million in the company. As a result, Schultz and entities affiliated with the coffee titan received 949,668 shares of non-voting common stock.

That’s a tiny fraction of the 109,923,024 shares held by all executive officers and directors, an amount that represents 36.9 percent of the outstanding Class A shares. The largest venture backers of Groupon include Green Media LLC (21.6 percent); NEA (14.7 percent); CityDeal Management (10.3 percent); Rugger Ventures (6.9 percent); and Accel Partners (5.6 percent).

Will the bet pay off for the Seattle coffee entrepreneur? It is too early to say, but if Groupon follows the path of LinkedIn’s red-hot IPO it may end up being a very lucrative bet by Schultz and Maveron.

Schultz’s investment in Groupon was made separately from his role at Starbucks. However, it will also be interesting to see if the two companies strike a closer bond in the coming months, similar to what Bellevue-based Expedia and Groupon just announced this week.

Previously on GeekWire: Fast growing Groupon files for $750 million IPO despite lack of profits

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  • Jaif31

    Big question… will he make more off his Groupon investment or his dismantling of the Supes ($150 mil)?

  • Jaif31

    Big question… will he make more off his Groupon investment or his dismantling of the Supes ($150 mil)?

  • Guest

    This is an honest question: What could they possibly be doing with over 7,000 employees?

    Based on being a customer of the site, I would expect a technical staff of around 20 on the low end to 50 on the really high end. And, I’d estimate a very large sales staff, maybe around 200-300 people. Looks like I’m about 6,700 employees short. Where did my logic go wrong?

    • larubbio

      The other employees are basically in sales.  Calling local merchants to recruit them.

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