LinkedIn gets its billion-dollar valuation

White-collar social network pulls in a $53 million Series D venture round led by Bain Capital, bringing its valuation to slightly more than a billion dollars--guess that's what happens when Bill Gates is a vocal member of your site.

Business-networking site LinkedIn announced on Tuesday evening that it had netted $53 million in a Series D funding round led by Bain Capital Ventures and with participation from existing investors Sequoia Capital, Greylock Partners, and Bessemer Ventures. CEO Dan Nye wrote in a blog post that this values the company at a smidgen more than $1 billion.

Rumors floated this spring that the company was aiming for a billion-dollar valuation on a new funding round, rather than seeking a buyer. Previously, the company had raised $27 million. Chairman and co-founder Reid Hoffman has said that it'll likely go public unless an ideal buyer pops up.

Why so much money? Well, LinkedIn is more profitable than most of the social-networking fray. The site currently has 23 million members, small compared with Facebook or MySpace. But its white-collar focus--billionaire Bill Gates is proud of his profile --means that the people using the site likely aren't going to be college students scrounging for pizza money. That lets LinkedIn rake in premium advertisers and charge quite a bit for them--reportedly $75 per thousand impressions.

And it's growing fast , according to Web metrics firms. LinkedIn has also continued to launch new features in the past year, like customized news and developer platform widgets.

About the author

Caroline McCarthy, a CNET News staff writer, is a downtown Manhattanite happily addicted to social-media tools and restaurant blogs. Her pre-CNET resume includes interning at an IT security firm and brewing cappuccinos.


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