Groupon has acquired Uptake in a move that may see the deals site make good on its pledge to get more deeply involved in travel.
Uptake had raised some $12 million from the likes of Shasta Ventures and Trinity Ventures. AllThingsD pegged the acquisition price at "teens" of millions, but the full payout, with most of the Uptake team joining Groupon, is believed to be substantially more than that.
Groupon has no immediate plans to close Uptake.com, with its focus on social travel and helping consumers find hotels and in-destination activities, but Groupon will indeed shutter Uptake's Real Travel, acquired in November 2010. Real Travel will cease to be operational in mid-March.
Groupon has a partnership with Expedia for Groupon Getaways, and has always said that travel is a key part of its growth strategy.
With Uptake and the data it collects on traveler behavior, Groupon could go beyond its email blasts based on subscribers' cities and make the offers more personal, both in email marketing and in mobile.
Launched in 2008, Uptake is known for its social recommendation apps, data mining technologies and SEO activities as it helps inspire travelers toward finding the ideal romantic or family vacation, for instance.
Groupon isn't saying much on how the Uptake acquisition impacts its Expedia partnership, although its clear the acquisition could broaden the offering beyond hotels and vacation packages.
The majority of the Uptake team -- although Groupon isn't providing specific numbers -- will join Groupon in Palo Alto, California.
Gene McKenna, an Uptake co-founder with specialties in product development and direct marketing, will join Groupon, while co-founder and president Yen Lee will serve as a consultant.
Many travel inspiration sites have gone by the wayside in recent years, but Groupon's acquisition of Uptake puts the latter on the other side of the ledger.