With new funding, Group Commerce looks beyond daily deals

As publishers spot e-commerce opportunities beyond daily deals, New York-based Group Commerce wants to expand with them.
In an announcement today, the company said it had raised $21 million in new funding from Jafco Ventures and existing investors, such as Spark Capital, Carmel Ventures, Lerer Ventures and Bob Pittman. The new funding will help the company expand its footprint into the U.K., Germany and other parts of Europe, as well as further enable its platform to support all kinds of e-commerce.
Since its launch in 2010, the company has mostly used its white-label software platform to help local and national publishers sell Groupon-like daily deal offers. But, as publishers shift to selling more products, in addition to local services, the company is preparing to meet the $240 billion a year e-commerce market in a variety of ways, said Group Commerce CEO and co-founder Jonty Kelt.
In 2011, he said, about 85 percent of their business supported local commerce, which mostly involved offers for services, and 15 percent supported national commerce, which was mostly product-based. In 2012, he said, he expects the split to move closer to 70/30 and continue to even out over time.
“Local commerce has been all the rage with the likes of Groupon and other companies in the local space… but that’s just one part of the market,” Kelt told me. “Our technology has always been designed to be flexible and accommodate the different flavors of e-commerce.”
While the company’s vision was always to enable multiple forms of e-commerce, the new funding will help develop its platform to support potentially everything from flash sales to subscription commerce to other kinds of commerce opportunities. One constant, Kelt added, has been the company’s belief that publishers and customers are best served by carefully curated commerce that matches online content.
In addition to the new funding, Group Commerce reported 30 percent growth in month-to-month revenues over the past 12 months. Kelt said the company had launched additional customers, but the lion’s share of revenue growth was driven by increased activity from core customers.
To date, the company has raised more than $40 million and employs 125 people in North America and Europe. Current clients include DailyCandy, The New York Times, Thrillist, CBS Local and Boston.com.