Andrew Mason: The Groupon King!

Photo by Max Whittaker
At only 31, Andrew Mason is the eccentric brain behind Groupon (founder and CEO). Mason has been known to be lighthearted and takes his success in a stride. Groupon is based in Chicago and the website offers its users deep discounts on their local businesses.  It also allows users to team up on deals for a wide variety of products (goods and services). Groupon has significantly transformed online shopping making Andrew one of the newest members of the billionaire’s club.

Andrew was born in the suburb of Pittsburgh (Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania) and both his parents were entrepreneurs. He studied at Mt. Lebanon high school. At the age of 15, he started his own delivery service (Bagel Express). In the year 2003, he graduated from Northwestern University and found a job in web design for Eric Lefkofsky, a Chicago entrepreneur. He later stopped working to attend the school of public policy on a scholarship at the University of Chicago, a master degree he later dropped out off to seize a once in a life time opportunity.

Andrew also worked under Steve Albini (a Recording Engineer) in Chicago. His first internet enterpreneual venture came several years later after he received a million dollars from Lefkofsky to bankroll the Point. The Point was a web-based platform that allowed an individual to start a campaign for anything. Others would then be rallied to join by making donations. Mason developed the Point as a result of issues he was experiencing with his cell phone contract. He thought that if he mobilized others with a similar ordeal to his then the problem could be solved rapidly. Users of the Point were only charged if the target of the campaign (money or people) was reached and thus they were reassured that their money was not going to waste.

Later, it was noticed that the Point was too abstract to market and thus it was stripped down to the concept of Groupon. Groupon was launched 2008 after Mason decided that service was the way to go. The company quickly established itself to become one of the fastest growing companies in the world. In doing so, many other people borrowed the idea and started similar companies.

The central idea behind Groupon was simple subscribers get incredible deals at the local businesses such as retailers and spas. If a minimal number of individuals went for the deal then the deal was on! Businesses were most likely to make more sales after being featured on Groupon, with access to a large number of new potential customers.

The company serves over two hundred markets globally, 150 in northern American and over 100 more around the globe. They are reported to make about $350 million annually and this is not all, Groupon has an amazing 83 million email subscribers globally and is predicted to make more than a billion in sales which is faster than any other company in the world.  Andrew Mason has been quoted as saying that he never really planned his life more than a month in advance. He runs after whatever he perceives to be most interesting at any given time and if he looses interest in it then he finds something else to do. According to Andrew, each new day is like a playground for new opportunities and experiments.

Andrew holds about 45.9 million shares of the company and the young billionaire is modest about it. `Being in the band made my business rock’ he loves to say. He has been featured in Forbes magazine and numerous other magazines. He has built a reputation as one of the quirkier dotcom CEOs. Groupon employs about 3,000 people and made headlines after turning down a six billion dollar offer from Google to buy the company.

Andrew is an exemplary entrepreneur to many who find it risky to try out new ventures and succeed. He spots an opportunity and goes after it which has made him one of the most admired entrepreneurs of this decade