by on June 10, 2010

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In February of 2009, when I had only been in Chicago a few months, I got invited to an event for Chicago tech startups hosted by a local incubator named midVentures. I felt awkward when I walked in because I didn’t know a single person, but I quickly got to meeting people. One of the people I talked to was named Andrew Mason. He started a collective action site called The Point that allows you to put up money for big ideas with the qualification that you only have to pay if a certain threshold is met. That way you can put up money to build a collapsible dome over Chicago for the winter, but not have to worry about shelling out the cash unless the project is actually going to happen. At that point Andrew was working on an offshoot of The Point called Groupon. In some ways it was much like One Day, One Job. Instead of offering its readers a new job every day, it offered a deal. It was growing really fast, and he and I both knew that he was on to something pretty neat, but I don’t think either of us appreciated how big it could be at the time. Now, a year later, Groupon is valued at over $1 billion dollars. That would be nine zeroes if you ignored the fact that their actual valuation is around $1,350,000,000 (only 7 zeroes, ha!). The company is growing at an insane rate, and they always seem to be hiring. I’ve pinged Andrew and one of his recruiters a couple of times to let me know when they have positions to feature, but I get so many requests on Groupon that I’m just going to pull the trigger (even if they don’t seem to be too big on interns).

Get Your Groupon

For those of you who don’t know what Groupon is, it’s pretty simple. Every day they offer a new deal from a local business—it’s essentially a heavily discounted gift certificate. The business gets new customers, you save money, and Groupon gets a big cut of the sale. That’s what is so impressive about Groupon. Their growth is based on real revenue. Most startups as early as Groupon are losing money, while Groupon would probably be less profitable if they had a money printing machine. They’re not hiring people on a hope and a dream. They’re hiring people because they’re leaving money on the table otherwise. This may make them sound like they’re all serious, but Groupon also happens to be one of the goofiest startups out there. Humor is a key part of the company, and that clearly comes from the top, as Andrew is a pretty goofy guy. Another key to the company is sales. Groupon is all about helping local businesses reach customers, and that means that their sales force has to kick butt. That’s why you’ll notice that most of Groupon’s postings on their Jobs page are Account Executive positions. There aren’t actually any internships posted, and it’s unclear what Groupon is doing about interns. Last year they posted calls for interns on their blog in April and in late July (they were paid!). This year there’s radio silence. Maybe they’ve already filled up their internships because people are chomping at the bit to get their foot in the door at Groupon. Or maybe they’re just not that big on internships any more. I don’t have the answer, but you shouldn’t be afraid to reach out to to find out more.

Links to Help You Begin Your Research

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See our post on jobs at Groupon on One Day, One Job.

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