An internet networking site aimed at professionals has said a £27 million cash injection from investors would help its expansion in Europe.
Silicon Valley-based LinkedIn, which has one million of its 23 million members in the UK, said the cash boost offered the chance to roll out new services and platforms. It intends to invest in its Soho-based European headquarters, including through the creation of 20 new jobs.
LinkedIn plans to invest in the development of Facebook-style applications, such as a virtual conferencing program that aims to improve communication between business professionals. The five-year-old site generates revenues through advertising, subscriptions, job listings and direct recruitment.
LinkedIn’s European managing director Kevin Eyres said: “Seventy-five per cent of our members are university educated. We know what industry people work in and what position they have.
If, for example, Barclays comes to us and says we want a financial professional with a certain number of years experience in this field then we can put them in touch.”
And despite other companies suffering in the economic downturn of the credit crunch, Mr Eyres said LinkedIn was thriving.
“The financial services industry is in our top ten (membership rate) of 170 different industries. When times are bad then it’s even more important to join. At the moment a new member joins every two seconds around the world.”
The $53 million (£27 million) financing now values LinkedIn, which has 300 staff, at more than $1 billion - reportedly the first time an internet company has reached the $1 billion dollar mark since 2000.
Bain Capital Venture, owner of Staples office supplies, led the latest round of investment. Bessemer Venture Partners, Sequoia Capital and Greylock Partners also reinvested.
Jeffrey Glass, venture partner at Bain Capital Ventures said: “Our investment in LinkedIn is based on the company’s opportunity, solid and diversified business model, smart strategy for growth and strong management team.”