Groupon is pushing deeper into the mobile world today, gobbling up Seattle startup Pelago for an undisclosed price. Tricia Duryee at All Things D has more details, noting that co-founder Jeff Holden will take over as Groupon’s product development head.
Started by Holden and Darren Vengroff, both former Amazon.com employees, Pelago raised a ton of cash over the years. But it never quite hit its stride after services such as FourSquare and Gowalla gained momentum.
It looks like the acquisition may be more about the company’s talent anyway, since Pelago’s Whrrl service will be shut down April 30th.
In 2008, the company raised $15 million, which followed a $7 million round shortly after it was founded.
The 5-year-old company had said its mission was to “revolutionize the way people explore and experience the physical world.” The Whrrl app has been available on the iPhone, Android and Blackberry, with users of the service able to form “societies” around specific areas of interest or places.
Backers included Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Bezos Expeditions, T-Venture, Trilogy Equity Partners and Reliance Technology Ventures.
Here’s more from Groupon CEO Andrew Mason, who writes that they’ve “always liked CEO Jeff Holden, the Whrrl team and the technology they’ve developed.” He continues:
“Their obsession with real-world serendipitous discovery, or “Anti-Search,” is core to Groupon’s mission. It’s about discovering what you didn’t know you didn’t know, right in your own backyard. Jeff intimately gets consumer buying behavior and the importance of a great user experience, and his team is this awesome combination of data-driven creatives…the people who create smart products that are really fun to use.”
Meanwhile, Holden offers his take in this blog post:
“The mission alignment of the two companies and the fact that we’ve taken very different approaches is a big part of what makes this marriage non-strange, and in fact, very complementary and compelling. And what made this a no-brainer was Groupon’s massive adoption and meteoric growth. The opportunity to take the collective brain power and technology of our two companies and point them at a phenomenon already at huge scale is virtually impossible to refuse.”