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“It ended up being a huge failure,” Lefkofsky wrote on his blog.

At first, the company -- like Groupon -- saw fast growth, with revenue rising from million to million. “We over-leveraged the company and it eventually crumbled under the weight of that debt,” Lefkofsky wrote.

But Groupon’s IPO has brought an uncomfortable spotlight onto Lefkofsky.

While some attention focuses on his ambitions as an investor in tech startups, others see a “spotty history” and draw parallels between the past and the present.

Not long after that transaction, Ha-Lo declared bankruptcy.

In early 2000, Starbelly sold itself to another company called Ha-Lo Industries for $240 million, much of which went to the author of those words, a man named Eric Lefkofsky.

Eric Lefkofsky is the co-founder and chairman of Groupon, which filed last week for an IPO valuing the company at $30 billion, as well as its largest shareholder, with a pre-IPO 22% stake in the company.

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