Dude, Where's My IPO? The Groupon Founder's Lessons for Facebook

Another young startup billionaire shows Mark Zuckerberg just how rough the first year after a public offering can be.

As he prepares for a monumental IPO of his own next week, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg could look to another young startup billionaire to see just how rough going public can be.

At a conference last summer, Andrew Mason, the CEO of Groupon, was asked about rumors that his company would soon sell its stock publicly. In response, Mason gave a “death stare”: His eyes widened and set, his mouth stayed shut. His interviewer let out a nervous chuckle, then tried again, only to be met with the same reply. A scatter of laughs erupted from the audience.

A year later, Groupon’s $13 billion IPO was the largest for any web company since Google, but Mason swiftly learned that he wouldn’t get laughs being as cagey as he was before. On Friday, shares of the Chicago company fell below $10, less than half the price when it went public. The drop erased $4 billion from its market value. Much of the tumble came after news broke last month that the SEC plans to investigate the fledgling tech company for its troubling accounting practices.

Keep ReadingShow less