Professional Social networks

Updated: May 21, 2021

2021. Polywork gets $3.5M to blend professional and social networking

Polywork, a new professional social network, has raised $3.5 million seed round. In short, Polywork sums to a Twitter-style social feed where professionals can post updates about what they’re up to (in work and, if they like, in life too). The result is an interface that feels gamified and informal — where you’re actively encouraged to inject your own personality — but which is simultaneously intended for showing off work activity and achievements. On the professional networking side, the approach allows users to get a quick visual overview of an individual — perhaps fleshing out some of the dry details they already saw on their LinkedIn account — and quickly navigate to individual examples of specific activity. Recruiters or others looking for professional ice-breakers will probably relish the chance to find more up-to-date material to work with, ahead of making a cold pitch.

2021. Blind raises $37M to double down on workplace gossip and career advice

Blind has carved out a unique niche in the social-networking world. It’s an app of verified, pseudonymous employees talking to each other about what’s going on at their employers, trading notes on everything from layoffs, to promotions, to policies. Part LinkedIn, part Reddit, part Slack — it’s become widely popular among tech workers at Silicon Valley companies and even outside the tech industry, with 5 million verified users. And now Blind has raised $37 million Series C

2020. Cooper raises $2M to build a professional network centered on introductions

Cooper, that is building a network that’s all about making and receiving introductions, has raised $2 million in seed funding. It's a private professional network that’s not about how many connections do I have, it’s about bringing the people that you already trust into a circle. That’s in contrast with existing professional networking sites, which are most useful as “directories” of online résumés, and usually emphasize the quantity of connections, rather than the quality. So Cooper tries to take the opposite approach, limiting users’ connections to people they really know. To do this, it can pull data from a user’s online calendar, and it also provides them with a personal invite code that they can share with their professional contacts.

2019. German LinkedIn rival Xing is rebranding as New Work

Xing, the business networking platform that has been described as Germany’s answer to LinkedIn, has made an acquisition to beef up its recruitment business ahead of a rebrand of the business as “New Work.” The company has also acquired Honeypot, a German startup that has built a job-hunting platform for tech people, for up to €57 million ($64 million). Xing tells us that Honeypot is its biggest acquisition to date. Xing said that it plans to rebrand as New Work in the second half of 2019, bringing together a number of other assets it has acquired and built over the years.

2018. LinkedIn adds voice messaging

Professional networking platform LinkedIn is adding voice messages. The voice recording feature is available via the iOS or Android app. Users can receive messages on both mobile and on the LinkedIn website. The voice messages can be up to one minute long. While LinkedIn has proven itself a powerful tool for professional networking, with particular popularity among recruiters and HR professionals, it can also feel a bit like a second overwhelming email inbox. Voice messages could prove to be a nice break from the text, but could also add a new weight to all the inbound messages users receive on the platform. LinkedIn thinks that sending voice messages on the go is easier than typing them out. Besides the asynchronous nature of LinkedIn, as compared to phone calls and voicemails, is easier for recipients of voice messages. And finally, the company believes that users can better express themselves via voice.

2017. LinkedIn makes its messenger smarter

LinkedIn is unveiling a new smart reply feature in its messaging app, which gives users prompts with different phrases to use while they are chatting to keep the conversation flowing. The feature is launching in English first in LinkedIn’s mobile app and on desktop. LinkedIn says that it plans to roll it out to more languages sometime in the future. And users can opt out of the smart reply feature in their settings. LinkedIn has been trying suggested replies since January, but the key difference in today’s news is that the company is now using more AI tools like machine learning and more sophisticated natural language processing to be able to understand the gist of a conversation and how to help keep it going.

2014. Business social network BranchOut is sold out

BranchOut, the startup that attempted to create a “LinkedIn within Facebook” has been acquired by 1-Page, an HR software company for around $5.4 million. When BranchOut first launched, the company raced to popularity with a Facebook app that filled niche in Facebook’s platform: it offered users the ability to use their contact book on the social network as a professional networking tool. It picked up 33 million users and $49 million in funding on the back of that growth, but then the app died a death when Facebook changed its policies on how apps could spam users (or “make their growth go viral” if you are feeling more charitable). As part of the deal, Page-1 says it is buying this very app. It will use it “to create the most powerful employee referral engine for enterprises globally,” the company notes.

2014. LinkedIn strips down social email plugin Rapportive

Rapportive, the social email widget for Gmail that pulls contact information from LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter was acquired by LinkedIn in 2012. And only now it's getting the first update. And frankly, it’s not all good news. First of all, LinkedIn discontinued Raplets (widgets that let you add a number of other data sources to Rapportive’s default configuration) and Notes. LinkedIn is also making some significant changes to how Facebook and Twitter functionality will work going forward, as well. Now, those networks won’t even be displayed in the sidebar unless the contact in question has those sites listed on their LinkedIn profile.

2014. LinkedIn premium profiles will look like Facebook

Professional social network LinkedIn invented another reason to entice more people to sign up for its paid, premium version: profile design with bigger pictures, additional features to be more easily found and contacted and expanded data on how people are viewing you. We may say it looks like Facebook, but LinkedIn says it’s simply about making a better connection: the changes will help premium users stand out more in search results as well as reflect a “more personal feel,” according to the company. While the new Profile look will be available only to premium users, all members will eventually get a version of a new profile that will let them use bigger pictures in the backgrounds of their profiles.

2014. LinkedIn now shows your rank in your network

The Who's Viewed Your Profile section is one of the most popular parts of LinkedIn. Now LinkedIn is expanding this section with a new feature that shows how your profile ranks compared to others at your company and to everyone you're connected with on the social network. The ranking is based on the number of times your profile has been viewed during the previous 30 days. Next to the rankings, users will see a list of "easy ways to get more views," which includes suggestions for users to join a particular group or add a certain skill to their profiles. One important note: only those who have a first-degree connection to you on LinkedIn will be able to see how your profile ranks, so you won't have to worry about recruiters factoring in your rank.

2013. LinkedIn wants to become contact manager in every Email client

Most people are moving away from e-mail as a tool for communication with family and friends. They use social networks or skype. But in businesses, especially for communication with partners and customers, Email continues to be probably the main communication channel. That's why, LinkedIn (the social network for business) sees the great prospects for itself in this technology. Ideally, LinkedIn wants to become an address book in each email-client. Address book, which contains the most recent and complete information about your business contacts. For this reason last year LinkedIn acquired the browser plug-in Rapportive, which works inside GMail and shows the social profile of a person that sent you email. Rapportive is still working, and recently LinkedIn introduced its version for iPhone mail - LinkedIn Intro. This is not a standalone app but also a plug-in that is registered online and appears in the phone settings. The video above shows how it works.