Now that the social network for professionals has amassed some cash, LinkedIn's M&A team might look at Hashable, Socialware, Yammer, Indeed.com, and Branchout, for starters
LinkedIn (LNKD) made its NYSE (NYX) debut Thursday morning with a bang. The company's share price more than doubled before lunch on its first day of trading, soaring within a few hours to more than 100 from its initial public offering price of 45. In all, LinkedIn's initial public offering brought the company $352.8 million. What will LinkedIn buy with its cash? The company mentioned that it could use its IPO proceeds for "acquisitions of complementary businesses, technologies, or other assets" in its S-1 filing to the Securities & Exchange Commission. While mention of mergers and acquisitions is typically included in the boilerplate language of all public company filings, the Web has no shortage of potential acquisition candidates that could make their way onto LinkedIn's shopping list. Here are a few options: Hashable Hashable is a professional-focused social network. (Sound familiar?) Hashable, however, was founded in 2010, so it is much younger than eight-year-old LinkedIn. It was built from the ground up with mobile, geolocal, and social capabilities. My colleague Mathew Ingram has noted that Hashable is "what LinkedIn would look like if it [were] built now." And it's worth noting that Hashable Chief Executive Officer Mike Yavonditte has built and sold companies before. He was CEO of Quigo, a Web-based ad company that he sold to AOL (AOL) in 2007 for $340 million. Hashable has raised $4 million in venture capital. Socialware Many employees at investment banks and insurance companies are prohibited by their companies from interacting on LinkedIn because of potential compliance issues. This Austin (Tex.)-based startup caught my colleague Stacey Higginbotham's attention at this year's South By Southwest conference for targeting extra-secure social networking tools at those who work in highly regulated industries such as financial services. Socialware currently has more than 100 corporate clients in financial services. It announced an official partnership with LinkedIn in March. "For years, LinkedIn has heard from financial companies that they struggle with getting access," CEO Chad Bockius told me in a recent interview. Socialware has raised $4.8 million in venture capital. Yammer This San Francisco-based startup began in 2008 as a microblogging service for professionals—essentially a Twitter for enterprise companies. In the past year, Yammer has evolved to include Facebook-like social networking services for the corporate set as well. The company is certainly addressing a lucrative market: Yammer reportedly has 2 million verified users, 19 percent of whom pay for the service. Yammer has raised $40 million in VC. Indeed Indeed.com is said to be the world's largest jobs site by unique visitors, besting even Monster.com. In a guest blog post on Business Insider, Union Square Ventures's Fred Wilson recently called Indeed "possibly the best all-around company in our portfolio." LinkedIn already has a job-search feature, but buying Indeed could add impressive volume to the site's current offerings. Indeed has raised $5 million in VC. Branchout Branchout brings those much-discussed "gamification" elements to professional networking. GigaOM's Mathew Ingram flagged the startup as an attractive acquisition target for LinkedIn when Branchout launched with its Facebook app last summer. Branchout is also led by M&A-savvy CEO Rick Marini, who sold social gaming site Tickle.com to Monster in 2004 for $100 million. Branchout has raised $24 million in VC. If you can think of any other M&A targets that could make sense for LinkedIn, please add them via the comments section below. Also from GigaOM: Did We Really Learn Anything From the Dot-com Crash? (subscription required) Exclusive: A First Look at AT&T's LTE Network LinkedIn Founder Reid Hoffman's $2B Bonanza Khosla Raising $1.05B Fourth Fund LinkedIn Is a Good Business, But Just How Good Is It?