European startups scramble to emulate the Groupon explosion

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The Chicago-based Groupon has been valued at $280 million after closing their recent $30 million venture round with Accel Partners and previous investors. Clearly Groupon’s new take on group buying is a hot space right now.

Now DailyDeal.de in Berlin, a Groupon-like startup, has attracted Stefan Glänzer (an early investor in Last.fm), Michael Brehm (Ex-StudiVZ) and Jochen Maaß as seed investors. No figure has been released but sources say the seed round is in the €300,000 vicinity. This investment effectively fires the starting gun on the race to build the European “take” on Groupon.

Meanwhile – even while at least five other UK startups prep their own versions – Groupon has already rolled out a London service, showing a London landing page to UK visitors to its .com site via IP targeting.

Founded and managed by Fabian Heilemann, DailyDeal is apparently already in talks about a Series A round to expand out of Germany, although they really should go and buy Dailydeal.com first.

The investment is significant since Glänzer is not known for investing European clones of US sites. However, he tells us the team at DailyDeal is among the “most energetic” he’s seen in this space.

And aside from Dailydeal.de there are others mushrooming in Germany.

Mycitydeal.de is backed by the Samwer Brothers (they love a good clone don;t they). Then there is Heimatpreis, Coupomania and we’re hearing that another called “Dealando” is on the starting blocks.

But why is this space suddenly hot? Let me explain.

Groupon offers users deep discounts on products and services from local businesses. Not unlike LetsBuyIt.com (apparently still alive)from the late 1990s, you need a minimum number of users to pile into a deal before they get the discount. But unlike the latter dotcom bust site, you only have a day to do it, plus there is a big difference. Around the year 2000 the only thing people could do to spread the deal was to email eachother. Today they can email, Tweet and Facebook, among many other methods – this makes the deal much more likely to happen.

Groupon is pulling insane revenues and says it’s on track to generate $100 million in gross merchandise sales in 2010 – and they take a 30%-50% cut. Anecdotally the service appeals particularly to women, although I’ve signed up myself to check it out, so that’s at least one guy.

Meanwhile there are 4-5 different London based teams working on a UK version of groupon.

The ugliest is probably Wowcher. Another with a holding page is Vivavoucher.com.

Hold on to your hats people….

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