Groupon is acquiring Venuelabs, a Seattle-based startup that helps local retailers monitor what is being said about them on a variety of social networks.
Terms of the deal are not being disclosed, but GeekWire has learned the Venuelabs team will be joining the Chicago company’s fast-growing Seattle office.
Groupon confirmed the acquisition, saying that it plans to integrate Venuelab’s technology into its “Pages” service, a Yelp-like platform that gives local businesses a landing page for customers seeking information about the merchant. Groupon’s Pages are part of the company’s marketplace strategy, which allows customers visiting Groupon to not only see the three or four Sushi restaurants that are currently offering discounts, but all the available options.
“We’re excited to welcome Venuelabs to Groupon, and we look forward to leveraging their technology to make our Pages platform even more useful and engaging with real-time content and relevant information from across multiple social channels,” said Dan Roarty, Groupon’s Marketplace SVP, in a statement. “Pages help us link the last mile of local commerce by bringing millions of additional merchants to Groupon and connecting them with our large community of mobile users through a dedicated presence in our marketplace.”
Venuelabs was founded by Neil Crist, a former Jobster and Microsoft product manager, 15-plus years ago. At Groupon, he will report to Roarty. The company’s technology is designed to help retail stores pick up on social media chatter across dozens of platforms, including Foursquare, Twitter or Instagram.
Venuelabs has less than 10 employees and over its history has raised $2.6 million in capital from Salesforce Ventures and other angels, so it likely represents a fairly small acquisition for Groupon. Groupon relies heavily on acquiring startups to beef up its portfolio of local business services, ranging from online calendar technology to mobile payments. Just a few weeks ago, it acquired PrettyQuick, a Chicago company that enables people book appointments online or through a mobile app.
The plan is for Venuelabs to join Groupon’s Seattle offices, which should be easy enough since the two companies are conveniently located in the same International District building, just south of downtown.
Since Groupon originally opened a Seattle office three years ago, it has grown to 250 employees, making it Groupon’s second-largest engineering center in the U.S. after its Bay Area office. A year ago, it announced it was expanding to three floors of the building, but already it is bursting at the seams and potentially looking for more space.
The long-term plan is for Venuelabs to be solely accessible through Groupon Pages. Venuelabs will likely have its hands full servicing Groupon Pages, which to date has launched more than 7 million merchant pages and has collected almost 27 million tips and ratings about local businesses.