We are just few days into the new year and we are already seeing some exciting news coming. I read an article today that pointed that LinkedIn might have plans to go public this year. Honestly, I was not surprised. LinkedIn has been one of my favorite and I have gained immensely by staying in the vicinity of some amazing people. LinkedIn gave a new definition of professionalism. Recruitment took a new shape with LinkedIn and I must say that I would not be surprised to find certain job openings coming first on LinkedIn than other recruiting websites like Naukri or Monster. So, what made LinkedIn click? Let us try to understand few things that LinkedIn did great:
- Stay connected with people we meet and interact.
- Online references and of course, authenticity can be more trusted here.
- Great Connectivity because one could find Barack Obama to Hillary Clinton to Bill Gates. It was phenomenal because I believe LinkedIn paved the way on which twitter attracted celebrities and legends.
- Knowledge sharing platform across groups.
I am not a premium member at LinkedIn and hence, not the right person to comment on its premium services. But I cannot ignore the fact that it might be really good because LinkedIn generates a considerable amount of revenues from its premium users. Other than premium services, advertising is another source on which LinkedIn relies to generates its revenues.
LinkedIn claims to have more than 85 million members, which is a good number, I must say. So, what could be its value? LinkedIn never commented on its valuation and none close to it too. SharePost gives LinkedIn an implied value of $2.2 Bn. Now, I am not an expert but looking at the popularity of LinkedIn and the kind of platform it has provided to its members, I will not be surprised to see LinkedIn valued anywhere near to $4 – 5 Bn. I hope that I would have the technical know-how to evaluate a company’s profile but unfortunately, I dont’ have it now. Please don’t ignore the investment of Sequoia Capital in LinkedIn. Yes, it is the same company that invested in Google, Yahoo, Cisco, Apple and Oracle to name a few. And we all know what these companies went up to become.
Now, lets come to an interesting aspect. Why all of a sudden buzz of LinkedIn going for its IPO? And trust me when I say that LinkedIn might also be joined by twitter and Zyngya, in particular to go public. The reason is simple: FACEBOOK. The shark is in the sea and even though there are a lot of speculations of when facebook might go public, but all of us know if LinkedIn, Twitter and Zyngya don’t go public before Facebook, it might face the heat later. I completely agree with some of the experts that if Facebook goes public first, others might feel the pinch because it would be difficult to come out of the euphoria of the IPO of facebook. I can safely say that day and year Facebook decides to go public, it would be the FACEBOOK year. So, here was th news that kept everyone thinking:
“Facebook rocked the world when Goldman Sachs bought 1% stake in the company for whooping $500 mn. This makes Facebook valued at $50 Bn and yet to go public.”
Now, Facebook has mentioned of no intention of going public before late 2012 but here is the reason it might not take long. In USA, the definition of a private firm stands good if there are no more than 499 stakeholders and with Glodman Sachs’ investment, SEC has already initiated a thorough look-out into Facebook. Secondly, remember Google also never wanted to go public till Goldman Sachs invested in it and we know the history: with 10 months, Google went public. So, will Facebook follow the same route? Only time will answer the question.
To sum up, I am excited and I am more excited for these small firms, especially Facebook. A software application launched from a dormitory of a school in 2004 has today been estimated to be valued at $50 Bn. As we say the fall of 105-year Great Lehman Brothers, we also say the great Rising of Facebook. We will try to keep a close watch on the exciting developments of the social networking era
PS: Did you know Goldman Sachs does not allow to use Facebook in office? Now, will they remove the restriction after its investment in Facebook ?