LinkedIn Acquires ChoiceVendor

By Cindy Waxer September 24, 2010

LinkedIn has acquired ChoiceVendor, a San Francisco startup founded by two former Google employees, Yan-David Erlich and Rama Ranganath, that provides “real-world ratings and reviews of business-to-business service providers.”

“Our acquisition of ChoiceVendor is right in line with our top priority to build a world-class team at LinkedIn,” CEO Jeff Weiner said in a statement. “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.”

Erlich has held software engineering jobs at Google and Microsoft and launched Mogad/Social.IM, which was bought by iSkoot in 2008. Ranganath managed Google’s AdManager staff and was an engineer for Google’s AdSense product. Before joining Google, he also worked at Microsoft.

"Since Yan-David and I worked with members of the LinkedIn team in the past during our time at Google, we've kept a sharp eye on the company's phenomenal growth," Ranganath said in the statement. "We're excited about the direction that LinkedIn is headed."

LinkedIn appears to be on a roll. The 7-year-old social networking company’s membership surpassed 80 million users this month, up from 65 million members in May, and spans more than 200 countries. And LinkedIn made its first acquisition in August with the purchase of mSpoke, a Pittsburgh recommendation technology provider. According to TechCrunch, LinkedIn has received more than $100 million in venture funding.

Recently, LinkedIn has been beefing up its social networking capabilities, creating more Facebook and Twitter-like features including a news feed and new link sharing options. In light of these enhancements and its recent acquisitions, Reuters reports that “a source familiar with the matter told Reuters that LinkedIn met with several major banks earlier this year to explore the idea of an IPO.” In February, LinkedIn hired Robby Kwok as head of corporate development to spearhead the company's acquisition strategy.

Edited by Erin Harrison

TechZone360 Contributing Editor

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