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WhaleShark raises funds from Google Ventures

Austin Ventures startups stick together: HomeAway CEO Brian Sharples now on WhaleShark board

Financial trends and news by Ronny Kerr
August 2, 2011 | Comments
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/1d5c

Coupon and deal marketplace WhaleShark Media announced Tuesday that it has secured an investment from Google Ventures. Size of the round was not disclosed.

Back in 2009, WhaleShark closed its first institutional funding in the form of $33 million from Austin Ventures. This past December, the company raised a $90 million round, though much of that cash was used to purchase online coupon site RetailMeNot. This year, another $10 million was tacked on to that larger round, the company tells me.

Traffic to WhaleShark’s sites is still growing, with over 230 million users browsing discounts from more than 100,000 merchants every year.

“WhaleShark exemplifies the key characteristics we look for in an investment -- community-fueled growth and products that address a pervasive market need,” said Karim Faris, partner at Google Ventures. “For consumers, WhaleShark offers a simple way to save money online, and for retailers, a marketing vehicle to showcase discount opportunities for potential buyers. We are excited to collaborate with a company innovating in this fast-growing market.”   

Google Ventures joins Austin Ventures, Norwest Venture Partners and Adam Street Partners as an institutional investor in WhaleShark.

In addition to the funding, WhaleShark also announced today that Brian Sharples, CEO and co-founder of HomeAway, has joined the company’s board of directors. Probably not coincidentally, both WhaleShark and HomeAway are portfolio companies for Austin Ventures and Google Ventures.

Sharples helped HomeAway, a vacation rental site, raise over $400 million and complete 17 acquisitions since 2005. Not only that, but he just took the company public in late June, raising $216 million. WhaleShark hopes that as an advisor, Sharples can help replicate that same success.

(IPO update: HomeAway has seen its shares slowly drop from $40.21 on the day of its public market debut to under $38, as of Monday. Despite that, it still commands a $3.03 billion market cap--nothing to scoff at.)


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