Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

The Business On...Andrew Mason, founder of Groupon

Andrew Mason, Groupon founder

Dot.com squillionaire? Wannabe squillionaire. The on-again, off-again flotation of his company is one of the tech industry's big dramas at the moment.

There’s no time pressure, surely?

He hit 30 last year, but he would certainly stand out from the rest of the grown-ups that run stock market-listed companies.

He is surely the only one to have posted a nine-minute video of himself doing yoga, semi-naked in front of a Christmas tree. Or indeed to have hooked up a bicycle-powered record player in the corner office to play Sade's Smooth Operator.

He sounds fun

Groupon emails 100 million people a day with money-off coupons for local businesses, but it evolved out of a community site dedicated to anti-corporate activism. “To live with ourselves, we've got to mix business with art,” Mason once said.

So, what else do we know about him?

“Andrew's mostly unremarkable existence began in Pittsburgh,” the company's larky website tells us. “He moved to Chicago in 1999 to attend Northwestern University, where he lives today with his girlfriend and more than 20 cats.”

How’s he doing as a corporate suit on the fundraising circuit?

It has been a bumpy time. Groupon was only 30 months old when it said it was planning to go public and investors worried that it hadn't proved yet that it was more than a fad. A |furious Mason penned an email with lots of secret financial details and sent it to employees. Obviously it leaked, and regulators are unhappy with him.

What happens next?

Probably a rap on the knuckles and the float is back on, last we heard, maybe November now. Whatever happens, let's hope Mason is not taking it too seriously. Hey, it's only billions of dollars of other people's money.

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