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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.