Texting App GroupMe Gets Into Group Buying And Launches 'Experiences'

GroupMe is moving beyond group texts and into the group buying space with the launch of Experiences.

The startup, which was acquired by Skype for ~ $80 million one year after its launch, is curating things for people to do in New York.

Unlike Groupon, the sales aren't for hundreds of people. They're for small groups of four to six friends.

Unlike Gilt City, experiences are skewed towards the younger set. GroupMe Experiences include trips to Brooklyn Brewery, concerts in Central Park, and dinners at exclusive restaurants.

GroupMe also plans to utilize social media more than other group buying sites. When a user opts into a GroupMe Experience, they're given a unique url to share with friends. Once all of the spots in the experience are filled, credit cards are charged. Then a GroupMe mobile chat group is created to coordinate details and share memories.

GroupMe users will be notified of Experiences via email. GroupMe declined to say how big its mailing list is, or how many users it has. Its mobile app will continue to become more integrated with Experiences over time.

Experiences is the first leap GroupMe has made from group texts to real-world hangouts. But both founders Steve Martocci and Jared Hecht say it fits GroupMe's initial vision.

"We've always wanted to help groups make decisions," says Martocci. "In December, Jared and I were talking about group commerce and he said, 'I want to get into group buying and get it done right.' We mocked up a flow right there in the meeting and it led us down a path to develop GroupMe experiences."

"Experiences is not a diversion, it's an actual extension of where we were on Day 0," says Hecht. "It's the first step forward of many."

Here's what Experiences looks like:

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