Dealfind Nabs $31 Million for North American Expansion

Dealfind, a Toronto-based daily deal site, has raised $31 million as it strives for rapid growth to reach 100 markets in Canada and the U.S. The site, which has sold 806,199 vouchers since its launch in 2009, is currently operating in 28 Canadian and U.S. markets (17 in Canada, 11 in the U.S.). It is the largest Canadian daily deal site.

The round marks Dealfind’s first effort at outside capital. Participants include Georgian Partners, Ontario Venture Capital Fund and Insight Venture Partners. Founders Gary Lipovetsky and Michael Tulman also participated.

One key differentiator with other deal a days is the 140-person site’s “Ambassador” program. Unlike other referral programs, which typically provide a free coupon for three referrals, or $5 or $10, the Ambassador program (bewilderingly) provides a lifetime piece of the action to referring customers.

“Every time someone clicks on your link and makes a purchase, you get paid,” notes the Dealfind site. “Whenever one of your friends buys $50 worth of food for $20, you’ll get paid about $8! By being a good friend and telling everyone about this deal, you get paid! So, if 100 of your friends buy a Dealfind voucher in one day, you’ll make $800! We run 5 great deals every week, that’s 20 a month. Imagine making that kind of money 20 times a month? Well, you get the idea.”

Group Buying Canada does independent research into the Canadian market. CEO Albert Bitton confirms that Dealfind is Canada’s largest daily deal site. He says the site has been especially smart in the market, leveraging its founders’ prior experience running MenuPalace.com, a 12-year-old restaurant promotion site.

Bitton adds that the Canadian daily deal market has grown especially intense. By his count, there are 105 daily sites and 50 aggregators. While Dealfind is the leader across the country, the strengths of other market leaders vary from province to province, he notes. Torstar’s Wagjag, for instance, is especially strong in Ontario, successfully playing off Torstar’s presence not only in Toronto, but also in smaller communities.

In Montreal, the market leader is Tuango, which also operates in Quebec City and Ottawa, and has sold 174,500 vouchers. Bitton notes that it is surprising how poorly Groupon does in Montreal, where it is only the fourth- or fifth-largest deals site. “They haven’t embedded themselves in the [bilingual French/English] culture of the city,” he says.

Looking forward, Bitton expects that cable TV and broadband powerhouse Rogers will become an immediate presence when it launches its deals effort sometime this summer.

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