Ideeli

Ok, I know the numbers are nearly as big as Google’s $3.2 billion acquisition of Nest, but still, it’s worth noting: yesterday Groupon, the deal site, bought Ideeli, the fashion-centric flash sale site, for $43 million. Interpreted in the most positive way, this is a vote of confidence in flash sales, which have been under a bit of a question mark recently, and another indication of a more accessible site wanting to get into fashion, a la Amazon. Of course, it could also have been just a really opportunistic punt, since at $43 million Ideeli is relatively cheap (compare it to the $270 million Nordstrom spent on flash sale site HauteLook in 2011 for example). Still, $43 million is $43 million. And while it makes sense to me in the short-term – both Groupon and Ideeli are about making consumption of all kinds accessible – I’m not sure about it as a long-term play. After all, by buying Ideeli, Groupon may have bought entree into fashion, but they have not bought that most elusive and powerful driver of consumer loyalty: a point of view. Read more

I just got an email inviting me to a super-secret announcement over lunch tomorrow — which is rumoured to be an announcement of their partnership with Vente-Privee, the french flash sale site that was at the forefront of the current etail consumer phenomenon.

If this is true, it will be the third in a rash of investment in the latest fashion fad that began at the end of April with Ideeli’s raising $40 million of Series C funding, followed tuesday by Gilt Groupe’s raising $168 million. And you know what they say: three examples of anything is a trend. Welcome to the new internet investment bubble: shopping!
 Read more