The Web was abuzz last week amid news that Groupon apparently dismissed a $5.3-billion offer from Google. That’s an awful lot of cabbage for a two-year-old company that has taken the world by storm and, in the process, attracted a slew of competition.
While Groupon hasn’t said anything, the speculation is it’s either holding out for a better offer, going to raise some more venture capital to continue its explosive growth, or intent on doing an IPO next year.
The other scenario is Groupon’s founders aren’t ready to sell. With explosive growth, it must be a thrilling and fascinating time to be at the helm. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to ride a tremendous wave to see how far it can go. Why bail just when things are getting really, really interesting?
This is the approach embraced by Mark Zuckerberg, who has maintained control of Facebook despite offers that would make him an instant billionaire. At some point, Zuckerberg is going to take the money and run, but there’s no need to do it while he’s still enjoying the experience of running a company taking the world by storm.
While there are, of course, pressures from investors who want to realize a major return on their investment, entrepreneurs have a different on the world. Whether they make $1-billion or $2-billion or even $100-million, they’ll be rich beyond their wildest dreams. To them, it becomes something that is not about the money; it’s more about the experience and the excitement of being at the right place at the right time, and basking in the spotlight that comes along with it.
Once someone sells a business, the party is over. Sure, an entrepreneur can stick around for a a couple of years to manage the transition or complete an earn-out agreement. At some point, however, most entrepreneurs get told to take a hike, or they decide to leave because being the head of a corporate unit isn’t what they like doing.
While many entrepreneurs may go on to another success ventures, very few of them ever get to enjoy the same thrill that comes with starting and running a mega-success. It’s a magical and magical existence that you don’t want to end because it’s so exciting and fun. If they can pull it off, some entrepreneurs want the ride to last rather than simply taking the highest bid.
Let’s see how long Groupon can hold out and, at the same time, hold on to their dreams.