When Groupon was founded in 2008 by Andrew Mason, it was unique, and put a tech-savvy spin on the traditional coupon. Groupon allowed merchants to offer coupons through its website; customers would then purchase and use the coupon in the merchant’s physical store. It quickly became one of the internet’s fastest-growing companies, and in 2011 was valued at about $10.5 billion.

But as Groupon enters 2012, the marketplace has changed. Where once Groupon stood alone, it now must compete with a flood of competitors; along with the waning novelty of daily deals and purchased coupons, a declining customer base, and restless merchants complaining of profit-loss from the coupons, the company is on shaky ground.

However, Andrew Mason is confident that if Groupon maintains its focus on its customers, it will be able not only to differentiate itself from its competitors, but to affirm that its meteoric rise will not end in a flameout.