February 7, 2012, 12:01 PM

Groupon makes a deal to improve personalization

The founders and some employees of Adku will work for the daily deal provider.  

Zak Stambor

Managing Editor

Lead Photo

Groupon Inc. has acquired Adku, a Palo Alto, CA-based company that describes itself as a “stealth startup looking to revolutionize e-commerce.” That vision is based on the company’s goal of digging deeply into data to offer online consumers more relevant deals. Neither company offered financial details of the acquisition.  

The company’s three founders, along with several other employees, will join Groupon’s Silicon Valley office, which opened in May 2010. “Such strong product technologists and engineers add great value to the development team we’re continuing to grow in our Palo Alto office," says a Groupon spokeswoman.

The deal came about after Groupon began talking with Adku about how it could leverage its technology. “We quickly realized that we wanted to be a deeper part of a company that people love and is empowering merchants and customers in a way that’s never been done before,” writes Adku CEO Ajit Varma in a blog post.

He is one of the company’s founders, along with Carlos Whitt and Jesse Shieh, neither of whom have formal titles with Adku. All three of them worked at Google Inc.—Varma as group product manager and ad spam czar, the other two as software engineers, according to their LinkedIn profiles.

The move is the latest effort by Groupon to add talent via acquisition. Last month the daily deal operator bought social shopping site Mertado.com, which enables consumers to find and buy products through social networks such as Facebook. And, in December, Groupon bought social media technology company Campfire Labs, which had yet to officially launch.

Groupon is set to report its fourth quarter earnings tomorrow.


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