eBay’s Investment in Meetup.com
eBay has taken its high profile investments and acquisitions beyond Craigslist and Skype and over to the Meetup.com. Along with other investors including Senator Bill Bradley (you know, the guy who lost to Al Gore in the 2000 Democratic primaries, who is also an investor in QuinStreet) and the Omidyar Network, eBay lead the investors who in all received a 10% equity in Meetup.com.
Meetup.com fits into eBay’s community feel and community expansion plans, moving beyond auctions and into communications, local classifieds, and now local gatherings. Meetup.com, with its 2.5 million registered members, would be a perfect fit with integrated eBay tools and Meetup.com usage is geared to heatup with cut throat US Congressional elections this fall and the next Presidential election in 2008.
From Meetup.com : “Since the 2004 presidential election, Meetup.com quietly continued to grow, in the number of people going to Meetups– and as a viable business. From Moms to Dog Owners, NASCAR Fans to Knitters, more-and-more people everyday are creating and becoming part of local Meetups in their towns. All Meetups pay Meetup.com a monthly fee of up to $19 per month for listings and services to help them grow a sustainable Meetup. The company’s sales have more than doubled in the past six months.”
Moms to Dog Owners, NASCAR Fans to Knitters? Yes, that sounds like eBay’s core business.
“Meetup.com and eBay share a focus on using the Internet to connect people and create communities,” said Garrett Price, vice president of New Ventures, eBay. “In fact, we are now seeing groups of eBay users in local areas using Meetup.com to arrange get-togethers.”
“Meetup was one of the key inspirations in creating Omidyar Network, a mission-based investment group committed to individual self-empowerment,” said Pierre Omidyar, Meetup board member, Omidyar Network CEO, and founder/Chairman of eBay. “My belief that business can be a tool for social good is validated by eBay and Meetup’s ability to connect people over shared interests through a for-profit model.”