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CoolSavings Gets $5 Million Investment

Online coupon company CoolSavings (www.coolsavings.com) announced recently that Lend Lease, an Australian-based property and financial services group, has acquired a 10 percent stake in CoolSavings for $5 million. The deal includes options for Lend Lease to increase its holding to 30 percent. Lend Lease has more than $46 billion in funds under management.

Melissa Bane, senior analyst at research firm The Yankee Group, Boston, called CoolSavings' end of the deal “not bad for a space that hasn't exactly taken off yet,” referring to the online coupon market. Like most Internet investments, she said, Lend Lease's stake in CoolSavings probably is based more on speculation than performance.

“It's like the California gold rush,” Bane said. “Everyone is staking claims in an attempt to be in the right place when the money finally starts rolling in.”

CoolSavings did not return a call for an interview.

Launched in March 1997, CoolSavings, Chicago, lets advertisers use detailed member-supplied demographic information to deliver targeted offers to the site and to special on-site member e-mail boxes. CoolSavings members download the offers as coupons redeemable at local retailers.

To be eligible for the coupon offers, CoolSavings visitors must supply their names, addresses, area codes and e-mail addresses. They also can supply the number of homes and cars they own, household income, profession, age, number of children and pets, household birthdays and anniversaries — all with the promise of getting offers tailored to their interests.

CoolSavings currently claims a database of 1.1 million shoppers and projects that number to grow to 2 million by September.

CoolSavings advertisers include JCPenney, Kmart, Barnes & Noble, Chuck E Cheese's, Pearle Vision, Sears, ServiceMaster, Fashion Bug, Blockbuster Video, United Airlines and Domino's Pizza.

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