Is Groupon Kenya just around the corner?
Its hard to ignore Groupon any longer as the next new new thing. Everywhere you turn for the last few months you cannot avoid the hype and interest in Groupon. First was the US$ 3 Billion offer that they spurned from Yahoo! Then came the overtures from Google that wanted to buy Groupon for US$ 6 Billion, which they graciously declined (really?!). Then, recently, they secured close to US$ 1 Billion in funding from all sorts of credible sources which goes to consolidate their reputation as the new new thing.
Yes, indeed, Groupon has been on a major roll and its white hot, not just in the US, but globally. Which bring me to the reason for this post. A couple of months ago I blogged here about the rising of several Groupon-like clones in Kenya. At the time, I suggested that all of them should consider banding together to consolidate their positions before Groupon swings into Kenya. In retrospect, it seems almost prophetic that I made that statement since news broke this week that Groupon had made acquisitions of similar clones in South Africa, India, and Israel. In fact, there are already rumors swirling online that Groupon are targeting Grop.ly in Nigeria.
Given that Groupon is already in the one major Internet and mobile market in Africa via South Africa, its only a matter of time before they make a move to Kenya and Nigeria. At this juncture, the major players of the Groupon clones in Kenya seem to be Zetu and Rupu. Between the two, its fairly evident one of them will possibly be acquired by Groupon. Given that Zetu has been around longer and seems to have the most deals to-date, I’m placing my bets with them. In addition, Zetu looks conspicuously similar (identical?) to Twangoo which was acquired by Groupon in South Africa.
In concluding, Groupon has global ambitions and has already started scaling into Africa. I am looking at them becoming not only the fastest growing Internet business in history, but they could eventually become the biggest company in the world – people do NOT give you US$ 1 Billion unless they are reasonably sure your worth it as is the case in Groupon. At the end of the day, everyone loves a great deal and that’s exactly what Groupon excels in, whether its in Chicago or Kogelo. The Groupon “clone wars” in Kenya would appear to be already over, even before they began.