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Groupon buys Pelago, creator of Whrrl

In another move that signifies Groupon‘s growing confidence and expansion plans, the popular deal-of-the-day website has just acquired Whrrl creators Pelago.

Seattle-based Pelago was founded in 2006. The company is best known for Whrrl, its location based services app for the iPhone, Android and Blackberry. It works in a way similar to Foursquare, and aims at getting people to explore their neighborhood and recommend places to friends. Groupon was founded two years ago in Chicago and in that short time has expanded to more than 40 countries around the globe, with a user base of more than 35 million.

Groupon CEO Andrew Mason wrote in a blog post on Monday: “We’ve always liked CEO Jeff Holden, the Whrrl team and the technology they’ve developed. Their obsession with real-world serendipitous discovery, or “Anti-Search,” is core to Groupon’s mission. It’s about discovering what you didn’t know you didn’t know, right in your own backyard.

Mason goes on to say: “Jeff intimately gets consumer buying behavior and the importance of a great user experience, and his team is this awesome combination of data-driven creatives…the people who create smart products that are really fun to use.”

So it all sounds pretty cosy then, though the bad news for Whrrl fans is that due to Holden being handed responsibility regarding product development, and other Pelago employees working on future, what Groupon likes to call, “Grouponnovations,” Whrrl will be put to bed on April 30, 2011.

In a bid to reassure fans of Whrrl, Holden, a former Amazon hotshot for more than eight years, said in a blog post on Monday: “You would be right to expect that the ideas underpinning Whrrl and many of the inventions contained within may reemerge under the Groupon banner.”

The price of the acquisition has not been disclosed by either party, but a company that late last year walked away from a $6 billion offer from Google, and last month was said to be worth $15-25 billion dollars, was hardly likely to have been scrabbling around in musty old drawers and down the back of sofas to get the required financing together.

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Trevor Mogg
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