The real cause of Groupon's problem is that it had too much of a good thing. With over $1 billion of venture capital money to invest in growth, what manager has time to worry about profitability? Groupon's "bad money" — investments that were patient for profit but impatient for growth — did not instill the discipline needed to enable the company to emerge as a successful standalone venture. Now, the venture capital markets cannot supply more capital and the company must depend on the IPO market to finance its money-losing operations. Eventually, investors will be unable to sell their shares to a greater fool and Groupon will be added to the list of companies that had immense potential but died because they did not find a successful profit formula in time. The story would be much different if Groupon did not have nearly unlimited access to funding so early in its corporate life. A successful financing strategy would have provided Groupon with incremental investments to enable the development of a profitable business model around a product that had obvious appeal to customers and merchants. In such a world, Groupon would have stuck to its home market of Chicago until it developed a business model that was profitable at scale in one market. Armed with a viable profit formula, Groupon could have scaled aggressively — confident that much larger profits awaited it. But it is now too late. Groupon needs another $750 million to keep the lights on and to keep growing while it prays for profitability that will perpetually lay just one funding round away. Groupon's venture investors and executives need a way to cash out before everyone realizes that the emperor has no clothes. I will probably buy a Groupon every now and again — I have no problem letting investors finance my cheap consumption. But as far as an investment goes, Groupon is looking about as profitable as giving away your merchandise for 90% off. Get the full story at the Harvard Business Review