Living Social, the No. 2 “deal a day” site after Groupon with $44 million raised, announced today that it has expanded beyond the U.S., adding London as its 27th market. Additional U.K. sites in Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool are up next. Dozens of additional markets worldwide are expected to be launched throughout the year.
We visited last week with CEO Tim O’Shaughnessy at his Washington, D.C., headquarters. O’Shaughnessy says the company has focused on building real scale and now has 180 employees.
Its plans for rapid expansion not only include large metros but suburban locations as well. Los Angeles, for instance, has been divided by the company into L.A., Orange County and the San Fernando Valley. The vast majority of sales are within five to 10 miles, he notes.
O’Shaughnessy also says the company has focused on feet on the street rather than telemarketing and on having direct relationships with both customers and merchants. He notes a music teacher in Seattle recently sold almost a year’s worth of lessons off a single offer. “It would be hard to build this off of affiliate programs,” he says, adding that his vision for the company is as a “city guide that highlights merchants.” The daily offer is described as a “content snack.”
The company has largely developed its own markets but has several partnership deals in place, including deals with The Washington Post and San Francisco Weekly. The deal with The Post relies on The Post for local promotion but not for sales. It includes a custom element specifically for Post readers.