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Groupon sets record by raising $950 million

Groupon fundsGroupon is showing that it can get along just fine without Google’s money. The online coupon vendor confirmed today that it had raised $950 million from investors — the largest amount of money ever raised by a start-up company. The announcement comes just a few weeks after Groupon rejected Google’s $6 billion acquisition offer.

“We’re thrilled that Groupon has earned the confidence of some of the world’s most respected investment firms,” said Andrew Mason, founder and CEO of Groupon, in a press release. “With their support, we will continue on our mission to change the way people shop locally and serve the world’s local businesses.”

The contributing investors include some of Silicon Valley’s elite names including Andreessen Horowitz, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byer, and Battery Ventures. The deal valued Groupon at $4.75 billion. Suspicions that Groupon was up to some serious funding efforts were first aroused in late December, with the company’s rumored valuation approaching $7 billion —  well short of the actual figure.

The success of the capital raising effort confirms that Groupon — just over two-years old — is among the Internet’s hottest companies. Over the past year, Groupon has expanded its operations from the just the U.S. to 35 countries, climbing from just 30 markets in 2009 to over 500 in 2010. Groupon’s subscribers rose 2,500% over the last year, from two million to over 50 million. The company claims that its daily deals and coupons, offered through 58,000 local businesses, have saved its customers over $1.5 billion. 2011 is shaping up to be a very good year for Groupon.

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