NEW YORK, March 9, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Group Commerce Inc., a full-service group buying and social commerce platform built for the unique needs of publishers and merchants, officially launched today, announcing that its solution is being used by customers including The New York Times, Meredith Corporation, DailyCandy, and Thrillist. Group Commerce also announced Series A funding of $8 million from Spark Capital, Carmel Ventures, Lerer Media Ventures, and Bob Pittman.
Founded by former Google and DoubleClick executives David Rosenblatt, Jonty Kelt, and Andrew Glenn, Group Commerce has assembled a diverse team of experts from companies such as Gilt Groupe and 1-800-Flowers.com.
Group Commerce enables publishers (media companies, email newsletters, social media channels, etc.) to use both the authority of their brands and their deep understanding of their audiences to compete in the booming $4 billion group buying market. As a fully white-label platform, the Group Commerce solution gives publishers complete control over their brand and customer data while creating sustainable new eCommerce revenue streams.
"The recent surge of interest in group buying deals and social commerce is an exciting development, but it's just the beginning of the story," said Jonty Kelt, CEO of Group Commerce and former executive at DoubleClick. "To take group buying and social commerce to the next level, we help publishers curate products and services that truly appeal to their audiences."
Group Commerce is also the only turn-key solution that combines a technology platform with comprehensive professional services including merchandising strategy, merchant sales and deal sourcing, comprehensive analytics, payment administration, design, and customer service, all of which are essential to facilitating publisher entry into the fast-growing group buying and social commerce markets. By presenting offers that are informed by publishers' knowledge of their audience's preferences, they can enhance the group buying experience for their consumers, thereby increasing conversion rates and engagement.
"The group buying and social commerce market today is reminiscent of web publishing over a decade ago, led by a couple of large players, but with new markets and new models poised to dramatically expand the opportunity," said David Rosenblatt, Chairman of Group Commerce and former CEO of DoubleClick. "As with every other form of marketing, contextualizing offers improves relevance for the user, creates high-quality customer acquisition opportunities for marketers, and deepens engagement for the publisher."
"It's no secret that publishers are seeking expanded and innovative revenue channels for their brands," according to Todd Dagres, General Partner of Spark Capital, who has invested in companies including Twitter, Tumblr, and Akamai. "What's been exciting is helping them realize how to unlock the potential of eCommerce, and that's precisely what attracted us and other investors to the solution developed by the outstanding team at Group Commerce."
Customers Describe Benefits of the Group Commerce Model
Group Commerce's initial customers comprise some of the most respected names in publishing — evidencing the importance of using a platform that provides control over customer data and is branded by the publisher, not the technology provider. Following deployment, clients are realizing tangible benefits, including high engagement and conversion rates, an increase in new registered users, and a larger share of financial returns from this new eCommerce model:
- Meredith National Media Group: "Meredith is committed to expanding and strengthening our relationships with our subscriber community by using new internet platforms to offer them unique value propositions," said Liz Schimel, Executive Vice President, Meredith National Media Group. "Social commerce is an exploding space, one Meredith is uniquely positioned to leverage with our active and engaged female audience. We are especially pleased to be working with an innovative company like Group Commerce, which is the emerging leader in this exciting new category." Meredith also announced today the creation of their social commerce network for their 75 million print and online subscribers in partnership with Group Commerce. http://meredith.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=press_releases&item=577
- DailyCandy: "Until now, publishers have divided their world into content and advertising," remarked Tricia Han, General Manager of DailyCandy Deals. "Our new online deal service powered by the Group Commerce platform has enabled us to quickly and meaningfully create a local commerce offering for our audience and local merchant partners." See more at: http://deals.dailycandy.com/
- Thrillist: "Group Commerce has enabled Thrillist to further pursue the eCommerce market by powering our recently launched Thrillist Rewards, a targeted group buying service. Early engagement and revenue generation metrics are encouraging," commented Ben Lerer, CEO of Thrillist, a Group Commerce customer and initial investor. See more at: rewards.thrillist.com/ny
- The New York Times: The New York Times will be launching its new TimesLimited product, which will use Group Commerce as a technology solution, later in March. See more at www.nytimes.com/timeslimited.
ABOUT GROUP COMMERCE
Group Commerce Inc. is a white-label, full-service group buying platform built for the unique needs of publishers and merchants. Founded in 2010, its social commerce technology is already in use by several of the industry's most respected brands. Backed by leading venture capital firms and other top investors, the Company is based in New York. For more information, visit www.groupcommerce.com.
RLM Public Relations
SOURCE Group Commerce Inc.