Over the past decade LinkedIn has grown from a simple idea to a company with more than 200 million members worldwide. Designed for professionals, recruiters and job seekers, the site allows members and companies to build profiles and make connections, taking business contacts out of the rolodex and into the 21st century.
I am a huge fan of LinkedIn. I have used the site for recruiting, sales and even raising capital. If we aren’t connected we should be. You can find my profile here: www.linkedin.com/in/tedmurphy
I thought it would be cool to take a look back and see how it all started. A brief history of LinkedIn:
2003: Reid Hoffman and Colleagues Launch the Site
Like so many other internet and technology ventures, LinkedIn began in someone’s home, more specifically, the home of Reid Hoffman. Formerly an employee of SocialNet and PayPal, Hoffman invited a team of colleagues from those companies to begin work on his project. Co-founders of LinkedIn include Allen Blue, Eric Ly, Lee Hower, Konstantin Guericke, Stephen Beitzel, David Eves, Ian McNish, Jean-Luc Vaillant, Yan Pujante and Chris Saccheri.
2004-2006: Growth, Investment and Profitability
After the launch in 2003, LinkedIn grew slowly at first, but by the following year, the site gained the attention of Sequoia Capital who invested more than 3 million dollars in the company. During these years the site introduced new features for its users, such as Address Book, Groups, LinkedIn Jobs, Business Accounts, InMail, Recommendations and People You May Know. The company also began advertising to small business owners in partnership with American Express. By 2006, LinkedIn achieved profitability
2007-2010: New Faces and New Places
After reaching profitability, LinkedIn experienced changes in leadership and a period of expansion. Replacing Reid Hoffman as CEO, Dan Nye took over the reins in 2007. The following year, LinkedIn opened their first international office in London and launched both French and Spanish language versions of the site. The company would again see a change in leadership when Dan Nye departed from the company and Jeff Weiner became the new CEO in 2009. New features during this time include LinkedIn Answers and LinkedIn Recruiter.
2011: Initial Public Offering
On May 19, 2011, LinkedIn went public under the stock symbol LNKD, beginning at $45 per share. The company also opened the doors to new offices in Paris, Bangalore, Melbourne, Milan, Munich, Sao Paolo, Stockholm, Tokyo and Singapore, and added even more foreign language versions of the site. That same year, the Apply with LinkedIn feature was introduced, allowing job seekers to apply directly to companies through the site.
2012: New Visual Architecture
After the IPO, the LinkedIn website underwent a complete visual redesign, streamlining everything from the homepage to profile and company pages. The company also continued to add new language versions, bringing the total to 19 that year
2013: 10th Anniversary
As the company turns 10, it boasts an impressive 225 million members and counting, with new memberships numbers estimated at approximately 2 new members every second. Countries with strongest membership numbers include the US, India, UK, Brazil, Canada, Australia and the UAE. There are 23 products and services now available on the site, such as InMaps, Resume Builder, Sales Navigator and Talent Connect.