GroupOn’s weird connection with Embroidered Apparel

GroupOn is one of the hottest new fads to hit the internet.  Local businesses can advertise a huge discount to customers as long as they buy in bulk.  Figuring that getting a huge group to try their product will make them return customers.

Anyway, back in the Ya-Ya 90’s two embroidery and screen-print guys named Bradley Keywell and Eric Lefkowsky started Brandon Apparel.  They then did what we all did, created an internet spin on the business.  Theirs was called Starbelly.  Starbelly.com was funded by Fred Wilson (probabaly why he wouldn’t reply to my email) and they raised the next round from Chase Capital Partners.  At the very top of the bubble, a company called Halo (large promotional products company) bought them for $600mm!  yes, 600.  Without revenues and the internet bubble bursting Halo filed for bannkruptcy primarily because of this outrageous purchase.

Fast forward 10 years and after a stint as lawyers and professors, they used the proceeds from that illustrious deal to provide seed financing for GroupOn.  They are considered founders and GroupOn’s most recent valuation was reportedly $1.2Billion.

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