LivingSocial is a deal-of-the-day website that features discounted gift certificates usable at local or national companies. Based 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.
The company received $5 million in Series A funding in June, 2008 from Grotech Ventures and Steve Case. In January 2010, LivingSocial raised $5 million in Series B funding from Grotech Ventures and AOL Founder Steve Case. Two months later, on March 11, 2010, the company announced a $25 million round led by U.S. Venture Partners, Grotech and Case. LivingSocial then acquired $14 million Series C round, from Lightspeed Venture Partners with U.S. Venture, Grotech and Case contributing. Most recently, US Venture Partners and Grotech invested an additional $10.23 million of equity offering to the company. Its fundraising for 2010 comes to $50 million. In December 2010, LivingSocial received a $175 million investment from Amazon.com. LivingSocial also received an additional $8 million investment from Lightspeed Venture Partners. In March 2011, less than four months after the $175 million Amazon investment, LivingSocial raised an additional $400 million from prior investors like Amazon and Lightspeed Venture Partners, and several new ones including T. Rowe Price and Institutional Venture Partners. As of early April, LivingSocial is valued at more than $3 billion.
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. 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 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 Johns International Inc., Panera Bread, and Applebee's International Inc.