It’s not especially well known that the retail / e-commerce juggernaut Groupon started life not as a provider of retail savings to consumers but as a nonprofit crowdfunding platform for communities called The Point. Groupon founder and former CEO Andrew Mason’s original software project let communities pool their money online to, for example, get a park built in their neighborhood or to solve some other community problem together. It was only later, after a nudge and a million-dollar check from a venture capital latecomer that Mason applied the same crowdfunding idea and software to coupons. The rest, as they say, is retail history.
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