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April 20, 2011

Pelago Acquired By Groupon,gets Hyperlocal

Groupon has acquired Pelago, creator of location-based check-in service Whrrl. The deal is the latest sign that the daily deal space is converging with geolocation, making it possible for businesses to present offers to consumers based on where they are. It’s the latest move by Groupon and other daily deal sites to market to consumers based on their locations.

The move comes a little more than a month after LivingSocial, Groupon’s primary rival, began testing a mobile app feature that lets consumers search for deals within a half-mile radius of their current locations. Pelago, which was a Kleiner Perkins-funded company was considered  one of the  potential Foursquare rival. 

Whrrl — is a location-based, social application for the iPhone, Android and Blackberry designed to help people discover highly relevant new experiences in the real world. Whrrl’s  Rewards program enabled businesses to participate in the discovery experience by offering prizes at places that Whrrlers win by checking and was the first real-world social loyalty program.

With the acquisition, Pelago CEO Jeff Holden will assume a new role overseeing Groupon’s product development, or “Grouponnovations.” The daily deal site will shut down Whrrl on April 30. Other Pelago employees will also work with Holden’s team. 

Pelago was founded in 2006, is based in Seattle, and is led by an executive team from companies including, RealNetworks and Yahoo. The company is backed by pioneering Internet and mobile investors including Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Bezos Expeditions, T-Venture (T-Mobile’s venture arm), Trilogy Equity Partners and Reliance Technology Ventures.