Backers of Biggest Groupon Round Not Among Top Shareholders

Investors may have poured $950 million into Groupon earlier this year. But that didn’t snag any of the newcomers so much as 5% of the fast-growing discount deal site.

That’s the takeaway from an initial reading of Groupon’s IPO filing. The document lists only two of the company’s venture investors — New Enterprise Associates and Accel Partners -– as principal shareholders. NEA, which backed Groupon’s first venture round in 2008, holds a $14.7% stake in the company. Accel, which invested in Groupon’s second round in 2009, among others, according to Thomson Reuters, owns 5.6 percent.

Among those not listed as principal shareholders are the firms that participated in Groupon’s last financing round of $950 million. The backers for that round, announced in January, included Andreessen Horowitz, Battery Ventures, Greylock Partners, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Group, Maverick Capital, Silver Lake and Technology Crossover Ventures.

At the time of that announcement, my colleague, Connie Loizos, wondered about the meaning of Accel’s and NEA’s absence from the list. She conjectured at the time that “the two firms that invested in the company early … may think that Groupon has enjoyed about as much upside as it’s going to see, given its new — stunning — $4.75 billion valuation.”

Whatever the reason (NEA and Accel did not comment), the firms certainly did well with their investments in Groupon’s initial rounds, which, at $4.8 million and $30 million, seemed like a lot at the time. In retrospect, of course, they’re a far bigger bargain than any daily deal Groupon could put together today.