Fabian and Ferry Heilemann raised more than a few eyebrows in February when they bought back DailyDeal from Google less than 18 months after selling it for a reported $114 million – especially given the current doubts over the long-term future of the online couponing business model. And they seemingly recognise the risk, with the launch of their new ‘e-business agency’ Heilemann & Co. representing a way to diversify their activities. The agency will provide strategic advice, practical support and proven solutions for startups and larger digital businesses.
In announcing the buyback on the DailyDeal website, the brothers promised to continue the business on their own and expand it in the coming months. What effect the launch of their new project will have on those plans is unclear, with no response to a request for more information (sent Tuesday morning) at the time of publication.
Update: In response to the request, a spokesman said: “Heilemann & Co is an independent company. Though the DailyDeal founders Fabian and Ferry Heilemann operate also as Managing Directors for Heilemann & Co there is no link to DailyDeal.
“Apart from this, there are synergies between DailyDeal and Heilemann & Co. Most of the Heilemann & Co employees worked for DailyDeal. They are know providing their expertise and knowledge to other companies.”
According to a release, Heilemann & Company is based in Berlin’s Prenzlauer Berg district and incorporates a team of “experienced, highly-skilled Internet experts based around” the DailyDeal founders. Its services include business intelligence, CRM, email marketing and payments.
Fabian said: “Central to our results-oriented consultation are business and technology solutions drawn directly from our years of practical experience in e-commerce.”
According to the Berliner Morgenpost, DailyDeal, whose workforce now stands at 160, sold a total of 1.93 million vouchers worth €125.7 million – although for the current financial year, the company is targeting sales in the mid-double digit millions.
The brothers will no doubt argue that the new agency has come both from their desire to pass along their experiences and knowledge and from the high number of startups that have approached them looking for advice, but cynics will note that some diversification outside of couponing is prudent.
According to the Morgenpost, Fabian Heilemann, for one thing, is not expecting any dramatic increases in the coupon model – “the hyper growth is over” – with Groupon suffering from plunging share prices and the sacking of its founder and CEO, Andrew Mason.