For a long time, LinkedIn worked towards becoming the most reliable way of making professional connections online. This wouldn’t have been possible without the help of a few companies they acquired along the way.
Over the years, LinkedIn has expanded itself by acquiring companies that had the potential to help them grow and improve their services. Here we will discuss some of the most notable business acquisitions LinkedIn has made.
LinkedIn’s first acquisition was back in 2010 when they bought a small startup called mSpoke that aims to make content more relevant through recommendation technology. Though exact terms were not disclosed, the company was reportedly acquired for $0.6 million. The company builds an “adaptive personalization engine” that combines advanced machine learning technology with consumer feedback. LinkedIn used mSpoke to fine-tune its recommendations so that it can bring LinkedIn users relevant content.
Also in 2010, LinkedIn acquired San Francisco-based startup ChoiceVendor for $3.9 million. This startup provides ratings and reviews of B2B service providers in more than 70 categories across the entire country.
About the acquisition, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner said: “Our acquisition of ChoiceVendor is right in line with our top priority to build a world-class team at LinkedIn. We’ve admired the work that Yan-David, Rama, and the talented ChoiceVendor team have done for some time now and are excited to have them join us, especially given their highly relevant work experience.”
Yan-David Erlich is the co-founder and chief executive of ChoiceVendor, while Rama Ranganath is the VP of Engineering. Ranganath was an early engineer on Google’s AdSense team before co-founding ChoiceVendor, while Erlich was an entrepreneur.
CardMunch was acquired by LinkedIn for $1.7 million back in 2011. CardMunch was a free iPhone app used for converting business cards into digital address book contacts. Business cards can be messy, but CardMunch helped LinkedIn users stay organized. Unfortunately, the application only got updated once after that acquisition, which meant LinkedIn had to move towards a newer app called Evernote. CardMunch has since shut down.
Connected is a contact management startup that was acquired by LinkedIn in 2011, but the details of the acquisition were not disclosed. Connected is a CRM tool or customer relationship management tool that provides a way for people to manage their contacts online from Gmail, Google Contacts, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
IndexTank was acquired in 2011, when LinkedIn was in an acquisition spree, for an undisclosed amount. IndexTank is a real-time hosted search engine service that allows developers to build research-based applications quickly. One benefit is that developers no longer had to worry about hosting their own search software.
Rapportive is a Gmail plugin that shows the latest social network updates from whoever you are corresponding with. LinkedIn acquired Rapportive in 2012 for $12 million. After acquiring the startup, LinkedIn said it will continue to support Rapportive to help it build more products for users.
SlideShare is a hosting service for professional content such as infographics, documents, and videos, wherein users can upload files either publicly or privately in many different formats. Slideshare was acquired by LinkedIn in 2012 for $119 million.
SlideShare content can be viewed either on the site itself, on handheld devices, or even embedded on other sites. It is described as something similar to YouTube, but for slideshows. SlideShare has about 38 million registered users and gets an estimated 80 million unique visitors per month.
Pulse was acquired by LinkedIn back in 2013 for $90 million. This popular newsreader for web and mobile was acquired because LinkedIn wanted the site to “be the definitive professional publishing platform – where all professionals come to consume content and where publishers come to share their content.”
Pulse started as an iPad app when it was founded in 2010 by Akshay Kothari and Ankit Gupta as students at Stanford University.
Bright.com was acquired by LinkedIn for $120 million in 2014. As a job matching service similar to LinkedIn, Bright.com was absorbed by the company to help boost job matches for professionals. Several members of Bright’s team joined LinkedIn as part of the acquisition.
LinkedIn acquired Newsle—a machine-learning startup founded to help users find relevant info about their most important contacts—in 2014. Newsle was founded in 2011 and was designed to scan the web to find blogs and articles that mention specific people such as blog posts and articles, and then return results. The details of the acquisition were not disclosed. However, as part of the acquisition, Newsle’s entire team of engineers, including four employees were hired by LinkedIn, along with founders Jonah Varon and Axel Hansen.
In 2014, LinkedIn also acquired a business marketing company Bizo for $175 million. The company helps advertisers reach businesses and professionals. It offers targeting and analytics for display and direct response ads. LinkedIn was motivated to acquire Bizo because of the growth of business-to-business advertising on LinkedIn. The company wanted Bizo’s technology to help them improve their offerings.
Careerify has two products: the first is an employer branding software that helps companies attract prospective candidates, while the other is an internal mobility software that works as a hiring software. LinkedIn acquired Careerify in 2015 for an undisclosed amount, to help businesses hire people using social media.
LinkedIn bought Refresh.io for an undisclosed amount back in 2015. Refresh.io is a startup and iOS app that surfaces insights about people in your networks before you even meet them. This helps LinkedIn push its anticipatory computing, where it predicts what kind of information you need to know when you need it.
Lynda.com was acquired in 2015 for $1.5 billion. This website is focused on eLearning: helping users learn business, technology, software, and creative skills through videos. This is for users who wish to develop creative skills in order to achieve personal and professional goals. Lynda.com offers an expansive video library filled with engaging, top-quality courses taught by recognized industry experts.
LinkedIn also acquired Fliptop in 2015 for an undisclosed amount. This predictive sales and marketing firm helps companies close more sales by using data science. Fliptop’s goal is to provide businesses with applications that can benefit them through data science and predictive analytics.
LinkedIn continues to expand its internal ecosystem through acquisitions and investments. This, in turn, helps them provide a much more reliable service for professionals and businesses alike.