Updated on 28 February.
Welcome to the land of the living dead — at least that’s what the media and pundits will have you believe about the daily deals industry. Things took another turn for the worst when news broke that LivingSocial had to make large concessions to get USD 110M in financing.
For the rest of the daily deals industry, that’s horrible news. LivingSocial, being the second largest group buying company in the world, is the standard bearer for the others. LivingSocial’s valuation has sunk too — the company is now worth about USD 1.5B, down from USD 4.5B during the previous financing round.
Which brings us to a new development: Deal.com.sg, one of the largest daily deals sites in Singapore, has announced that it has launched a second physical collection point in the country. The news release certainly seems timely, coming shortly after word spread about LivingSocial’s debacle. Read more
Before Perx co-founders Andrew Roth and Jon Sugihara started work on their loyalty card mobile app, which is now the market leader in Singapore, they ran successful daily deals site PLAYhawaii.com. It was on track to generate US$2M in revenue a year.
Based in Hawaii, they expanded their business to Asia, founding Maiplay last year with Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin as an investor and advisor. They launched in Jakarta and Singapore, entering a heated field dominated by Groupon.
However, they dumped their daily deals business within months. They sold PLAYhawaii.com and launched their loyalty card mobile app in October 2011. They’re now based in Singapore.
What sparked the change was their belief that daily deals is a lousy way to acquire loyal customers for merchants. The hunch paid off: At the time of the interview, Perx had close to 40,000 registered users, and about 400 merchants in Singapore, with 10 to 20 new locations each week.
Their partner merchants are not lightweights either. Big brands like Popeyes, Famous Amos, and Dunkin Donuts have come on board. With pole position in the country secured (around!, Pointpal, and Squiryl are competitors), they are now working with a partner to scale their business to other parts of Asia.
“When we call merchants, we really had to tell them not to hang up as we’re not a daily deals company.”
Facebook has launched a feature that allows users to get special deals from merchants within the social network.
The deals will appear on their news feeds, and after claiming a deal, an email will be sent to the user. The deal can then be redeemed by flashing the email at a store.
Facebook Offers is currently in beta and is being rolled out to selected businesses in Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, US, and Turkey, according to The Verge. Read more
JigoCity, a daily deals site owned by Penthouse publisher FriendFinder Networks (yes, that FriendFinder), has announced that it will not offer deals anymore in Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Australia.
Notices were put up on the various country sites yesterday stating how JigoCity is “consolidating operations” and will only remain operational in “select countries”. They appear to be doubling down on Taiwan and the rest of China. Read more
After Thai daily deals site Dealicious.co received an investment from Sparx Ventures, I said that I won’t be surprised if a similar deal happens before the year ends. That was last week.
Now, Singapore-based AllDealsAsia.com pulled a stunner by announcing that Iconic Ventures has invested an undisclosed sum in the company. Iconic Ventures is an investment holding company and angel investor that funds promising startups in Singapore and the region. They focus mostly on technology and Internet businesses. Read more
It looks like even Thailand has been hit by an attack of the Groupon clones. While CNNGo has said Thailand lags behind Singapore in this space, many daily deals sites have now emerged from the woodwork in the Land of Smiles. Read more
Back in Dec 2010, daily deal giant Groupon entered Asia with acquisitions of assets in Singapore, Philippines, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Today, they have expanded again with its acquisition of Indonesian site, Disdus. Read more
CIty Nomads is another new entry into the already crowded space of Groupon clones in Singapore. In an attempt to differentiate itself from the rest of the doppelgangers, the founders of City Nomads Alex Linton and Shavit Clein have positioned City Nomads as a premium luxury focused group buying site that specializes in food and beverages deals. Read more
Another daily deal site has popped out. SuperDeals resides on inSing.com, a portal that is run by SingTel Digital Media, a wholly owned subsidiary of telecommunications giant, SingTel. Read more
Groupon has announced the launch of Groupon Singapore, Philippines, Hong Kong and Taiwan through the acquisition of daily deal sites: Beeconomic (Singapore and Philippines), uBuyiBuy (Hong Kong) and Atlaspost (Taiwan).
The terms of the deals have not yet been disclosed. Read more