Now that Groupon shares debuted to a very welcoming and clearly hungry investment public, the question is: When will Gilt Groupe make it's way to the IPO scene?
It's in the cards, suggested Kevin Ryan, founder and CEO of Gilt Groupe, in an interview with me recently, without really giving away his hand.
The first course of action before an offering, however, is to get as big as possible. Often getting big comes from making acquisitions. And, there's no shortage of companies to buy these days.
In the past year, there've been hundreds of daily deal sites sprouting up to capitalize on the consumer's craze for daily deals. One has to wonder if any of them are worth picking up? Gilt Groupe's Gilt City just snapped up BuyWithMe recently, and earlier this year Gilt Groupe bought Decorati. But these purchases are probably not the last acquisition for a company whose CEO has a history of buying companies.
Kevin is no stranger to acquiring companies. He did a fair share while at DoubleClick, a company he founded in the early days of the Internet. "Are there any models of interest to Gilt Groupe?" I asked Kevin, in our third part of our five-segment interview.
"We will do more acquisitions in the next year," said Kevin. "We look at things that are geographic focused and vertically focused." Gilt will take a look at children's product and home products, areas that the company is already in, as well as new verticals, such as arts, pets, bridal wear. The company will also take a look at full-priced e-commerce players and not just daily deal sites. The company has two M&A executives, and is seeking another.
Kevin also defends the business model of daily deal sites, which have come under fire as being somewhat flawed. "Criticisms are flawed," he said, referring to concerns that daily deal sites don't bring in reliable and repeat business. "It's not the problem of the daily deal," said Kevin. "It's a problem of the [merchant]." Kevin also talks about competition from Google, LivingSocial, and others.