My alma mater, and the #1 ranked business school — according to BusinessWeek — continues to strengthen its entrepreneurship offerings. When I attended between 1998-2001, there were a few course on entrepreneurship (entrepreneurial finance, entrepreneurial strategy, etc.), but I don’t recall courses on internet strategy. Booth has announced a course called Building Interet Strartups: Risk, Reward, and Failure and it is being taught by two of Groupon’s co-founders. That is a great opportunity for Booth students. From Chicago’s Booth School of Business:
The only two serial entrepreneurs in Chicago who can answer those questions have agreed to share what they know with students at Chicago Booth. Eric Lefkofsky and Brad Keywell, the Chicago-based cofounders of the social coupon website, Groupon, turned down an offer from Google in early December. On January 3, the adjunct professors will tackle their newest challenge: teaching 95 Booth students who have enrolled in the course, Building Internet Start-Ups: Risk, Reward, and Failure.
Lefkofsky and Keywell launched Groupon (along with Andrew Mason, former student at the Harris School of Public Policy, who left to become Groupon’s CEO) in 2008. The firm offers email subscribers a deal-of-the-day coupon at a local business, then encourages them to share it with their social networks. Shoppers have jumped at such deals as a $110 spa treatment for $40, or a $60 dinner at a popular restaurant for $30, passing it along to friends. If enough people sign up for it, the offer is good.
Groupon was so successful in drawing local customers in such markets as Chicago, a national promotion by the Gap last summer drew $11 million in revenue on one day and temporarily shut down Groupon’s server, the New York Times reported. “Groupon had 124 employees on January 1, and it will end the year with more than 3,200 employees worldwide in 34 countries,” Keywell said.
Groupon is not the only success story for Lefkofsky and Keywell. Lefkofsky launched InnerWorkings, a business-to-business online printing firm, in 2002 and took it public in 2006; it’s now run by CEO Eric Belcher, ’95. In 2005, he and Keywell started Echo Global Logistics, a business-to-business online logistics and trucking firm that they took public in 2008. In 2007, they started Mediabank, a business-to-business media-buying technology firm whose platform powers over 40 percent of North American media spend across all media types.
Their success is unparalleled, said Steven Kaplan, Neubauer Family Professor of Entrepreneurship and Finance. “Eric was the keynote speaker at our entrepreneurship conference last November and I did a fireside chat with him,” Kaplan said. “He started talking about what he’d done and my jaw dropped. I realized Eric is probably the most successful entrepreneur on the planet in the last 10 years. He’s started four IPO-able companies in eight years. There’s no one else in the world who’s done that.