Nov. 11, 2011 - WhaleShark Media, an online coupon retailer, has scored $150 million in Round D venture funding. Unlike its competitors with more novel business models, WhaleShark Media sells traditional coupons through a portfolio of websites - no daily deals and no group buying.
The investment, led by JPMorgan Asset Management and Institutional Venture Partners, comes after $125 million in private funding from firms like Austin Ventures and Google. At a time when BuyWithMe (group buying) sold for a mere $5 million following over $20 million in funding, the $150 million vote of confidence emphasizes the upside to the “vanilla” coupon selling business.
WhaleShark’s CEO, Cotter Cunningham, agrees. While outlining his firm’s plans for future acquisitions, Cunningham explained, “We’re going to stick with coupons.” Cunningham’s dissenting voice in the world of creative coupon-ing underscores WhaleShark’s success. Founded in 2007, the company will book over $70 million in revenue in 2011 and, unlike Groupon and others, is profitable.
Mr. Cunningham’s background is also different from that of his competitors. At 49, the CEO brings business savvy to the discount business. Prior to founding WhaleShark, Cunningham was COO at BankRate, a publicly traded financial information aggregator. Experience and profitability, hard to find qualities in the Internet Boom 2.0,make WhaleShark a promising player in the coupon business.