LivingSocial is an online marketplace that allows clients to buy and share things to do in their city. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., LivingSocial now has more than 70 million members around the world.
LivingSocial was founded as Hungry Machine in 2007 by four employees from Revolution Health Group. The company's first major application was their Visual Bookshelf application on Facebook which allowed users to catalog and share their favorite books with friends. Later, the company released PickYourFive and other Polls applications, making LivingSocial the number one application developer on Facebook as measured by page views. After acquiring BuyYourFriendADrink.com in 2009, LivingSocial launched a daily deals website, which since has become its highest grossing venture to date.
In 2012 a class action was launched against LivingSocial in respect of expiry of deals, following a similar action against Groupon. A provisional settlement was reached in November 2012.
On April 26, 2013 it was announced that LivingSocial's database had been hacked, affecting 50 million registered users. The announcement stated that credit card information was stored in a separate database and was not compromised, but that user information including passwords, previously encrypted by LivingSocial as a precaution, had been exposed. On May 1, 2013, Attorneys General from Connecticut and Maryland Attorney sent a joint letter to LivingSocial requesting additional information about the incident, as well as more details about the company's data management policies and procedures.
In November 2013, LivingSocial's website went down for nearly 48 hours after a database error.
Since its founding, LivingSocial has undergone many leadership changes. In March 2012, co-founder Eddie Frederick stepped down as President and from the Board of Directors. A year later in March 2013, co-founder and CTO Aaron Batalion stepped down from his post. Most recently, in January 2014, LivingSocial's CEO Tim O'Shaughnessy announced his resignation, remaining CEO until a replacement was named. In July 2014, it was announced that Gautam Thakar, the then CEO of Shopping.com at eBay, would succeed the position of CEO.
In October 2010, LivingSocial announced acquisition of social adventure company Urban Escapes, which led to the launch of LivingSocial Escapes and LivingSocial Adventures.
In November 2010, LivingSocial bought $5 million controlling stake in Australian social shopping site Jump On It. In March 2012, LivingSocial purchased Jump On it for $40 million. The acquisition makes LivingSocial the biggest social shopping player in Australia.
In January 2011, LivingSocial acquired a majority stake in LetsBonus, which now operates in Spain, Italy, Portugal, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Colombia and Mexico. Launched in September 2009 in Barcelona, LetsBonus was an early operator of a collective buying service in Europe, particularly in the Spanish market.
In March 2011, LivingSocial acquired InfoEther, a Ruby/Rails consultancy. Ruby on Rails is the platform upon which LivingSocial runs.
In June 2011, Dubai Based GoNabit, an Arabic website for daily deals, was acquired by LivingSocial. GoNabit operates in the UAE, Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan, and claims to have saved consumers more than $5m in 2010-2011. Group buying websites typically sign up a range of businesses to offer discounts, and take a percentage of the revenue.
In June 2011, LivingSocial acquired DealKeren, which offers daily deals in Indonesia, and its parent company Ensogo, which offer daily deals in Thailand and the Philippines. Officially launched in June 2010, Ensogo currently has more than 800,000 members. Ensogo claims that its members have saved more than $25 million USD in 2010-2011. Ensogo is backed by Rebate Networks, an international venture capital group specializing in social commerce.
In August 2011, LivingSocial acquired TicketMonster for $350 million. TicketMonster is one of the largest daily deal sites in South Korea and has an annualized run rate of $800 million in billings. In November 2013, LivingSocial sold TicketMonster to Groupon for $260 million.
In April 2012, ONOSYS, a mobile and online ordering provider, was acquired by LivingSocial. ONOSYS operates in Cleveland, Ohio, and services over 75 restaurant chains including Papa John's Pizza International Inc., Panera Bread, and Applebee's International Inc.