Whrrl Acquired by Groupon and Shuts Down Mobile Apps

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It wasn’t that long ago that we wrote about Whrrl and their checkin service. The BlackBerry app was pretty cool although it was very much in Beta. There was also a mobile site that let you checkin to venues and join what Whrrl called societies. Societies are groups of people with similar interests and it’s this feature that makes them a clear acqhire and acquisition.

Since Whrrl was focused on allowing users to make a list of things they want to do locally, and join affinity groups of people with similar interests, it should be interesting to see how they fit into Groupon. Read more from Pelago’s CEO and Co-Founder, Jeff Holden after the jump.

If you haven’t heard, we have a big announcement today: Groupon has acquired Pelago. (You can read Groupon’s blog post about it here.)

You might think at first that this is strange… But it actually makes a ton of sense. Many people think of Groupon as one thing: the inventor of the daily deal. But as it often is in such cases, there is an amazing vision behind the company that goes far beyond what is visible on the surface today.

Whrrl’s mission has always been to increase the possibility of adventure in our daily real-world lives, and to that end, we invented an idea economy (with Whrrlbot as its inexhaustible champion!) It turns out that Groupon has a very similar mission, except they approached it by creating a new kind of deal economy.

The mission alignment of the two companies and the fact that we’ve taken very different approaches is a big part of what makes this marriage non-strange, and in fact, very complementary and compelling. And what made this a no-brainer was Groupon’s massive adoption and meteoric growth. The opportunity to take the collective brain power and technology of our two companies and point them at a phenomenon already at huge scale is virtually impossible to refuse.

What does this mean for Whrrl? We’ve made the decision to close the curtain on Whrrl for now. Think of it as the end of the first act of a long and complex play. You would be right to expect that the ideas underpinning Whrrl and many of the inventions contained within may reemerge under the Groupon banner.

In that context, I want to take a moment to thank you and our many hundreds of thousands of customers. You placed your trust in us to capture and digitize your experiences in the real world, to transform your life data into new and highly relevant opportunities to explore the world around you, to connect you with others in a novel and powerful way.

Importantly, Whrrl has been a “cloud service” for you and your data, and under no circumstances would we ever let your data disappear irretrievably into the cloud. As such, our last engineering effort on Whrrl has been to develop an experience that lets you get your data (checkins, photos, recommendations, your Want To list, etc.) back in a way that we think is pretty convenient and useful.

You will be able to continue using Whrrl normally through April 30. Starting today, however, you’ll find on the website that you now have an option to retrieve your data – pretty much everything you ever put into Whrrl. It’s explained pretty clearly on the site, so I won’t get into the details here, but I hope you do download your data and ultimately have the opportunity to use it again.

With that, please accept my sincerest thanks, truly from the bottom of my heart, for allowing us to invent on your behalf. I look forward with great eagerness to serving you in my new role at Groupon. And to our investors – Kleiner Perkins, T-Venture, Bezos Expeditions, DAG, Trilogy Equity Partners and Reliance – thank you so much for believing in our vision and team from the days when the idea of “checking in” sounded like pure lunacy straight through to today.

Now, back to the business of building the future, this time with the incredible team at Groupon! :-)

Jeff Holden
Pelago CEO / Co-founder