Who is Reid Hoffman?

Born August 5, 1967, Reid Hoffman is an American public speaker, entrepreneur, podcaster, author, and venture capitalist. Most know Hoffman as the co-founder of LinkedIn, but the billionaire was also involved at PayPal in the early days and is a current partner at VC firm Greylock Partners.

Read Also: PayPal Mafia


Hoffman attended Stanford University where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Symbolic Systems and Cognitive Science in 1990.

He later earned a Master of Studies in Philosophy from Wolfson College, Oxford, in 1993.

Hoffman initially wanted to impact the world on an appreciable scale and planned to become a public intellectual and professor once he graduated.

However, he soon realized that he could make a greater impact as a businessman than he could as an academic.

Early career

Determined to pursue a career in business, Hoffman joined Apple in 1994 and worked on an early service called eWorld which offered email, news, software, and a bulletin board system. 

After a brief stint at Fujitsu, he then founded the online dating turned social and professional networking platform in 1997.

The platform failed because no one knew what it was supposed to be, but billionaire entrepreneur Peter Thiel nevertheless called it an idea that was years ahead of its time.


PayPal makes money primarily by processing customer transactions on the Payments Platform and from other value-added services. Thus, the revenues streams are divided into transaction revenues based on the volume of activity or total payments volume. And value-added services, such as interest and fees earned on loans and interest receivable. As of 2021 PayPal processed $1.25 trillion in total transactions, with net revenues of $25.4 billion, and $4.3B operating income

Hoffman also sat on the board of directors of PayPal in the late 1990s and joined the company in a full-time capacity as COO in 2000 after leaving

Two years later, Hoffman became PayPal’s vice president and was praised for his ability to compete successfully in what was an extremely crowded market.

Thiel also noted that Hoffman “was the firefighter-in-chief at PayPal. Though that diminishes his role because there were many, many fires.” This role encompassed responsibility for payments infrastructure, business development, government, and legal.

Read Also: PayPal Mafia


LinkedIn is a two-sided platform running on a freemium model, where to unlock unlimited search and other features, you need to switch to a paid account. In addition, LinkedIn is the most successful B2B advertising platform. In fact, by 2022, with over 850 million members, LinkedIn generated over $6 billion in revenues through its Talent Solutions and over $5 billion through its Marketing Solutions (B2B advertising platform). Acquired by Microsoft for $27 billion in 2016, LinkedIn might now be worth anywhere between $100-150 billion. 

Hoffman founded LinkedIn with an assortment of former colleagues from and PayPal.

Importantly, Hoffman had learned from his past failure with where the platform had tried to do too much:

One of the things I learned from the whole experience, was that you should focus on one domain that really matters to people and just do that really well.

LinkedIn was launched in 2003 and while initial growth was slow, the platform would surpass 1 million members in 2005, 10 million in 2007, and 90 million by 2010.

Angel investing

More or less after the sale of PayPal to eBay, Hoffman started on a journey that would see him become one of Silicon Valley’s most prolific and successful angel investors.

He joined VC firm Greylock Partners in 2010 and made an early investment in Airbnb. 

Since that time, Hoffman has also invested in Flickr, Edmodo, Helion Energy, Aurora, Blockstream, and Coda, among many others.

Speaking and writing

Hoffman has not completely abandoned his interest in being a public intellectual.

He has spoken at TED conferences and Accelerate Good Global – an event uniting tech non-profit entrepreneurs.

He also works as a lecturer at Stanford University, Oxford University, MIT Media Lab, and Harvard University. 

In terms of writing, Hoffman has written various posts as a “LinkedIn influencer” with one example an essay advocating for a new way to credential university students.

Some of the books Hoffman has co-authored include The Alliance, Masters of Scale, and Blitzscaling – a technique for scaling a business at a rapid pace to destroy its competitors.

Blitzscaling is a business concept and a book written by Reid Hoffman (LinkedIn Co-founder) and Chris Yeh. At its core, the concept of Blitzscaling is about growing at a rate that is so much faster than your competitors, that make you feel uncomfortable. In short, Blitzscaling is prioritizing speed over efficiency in the face of uncertainty.

Key takeaways:

  • Born August 5, 1967, Reid Hoffman is an American public speaker, entrepreneur, podcaster, author, and venture capitalist.
  • Hoffman initially wanted to make a sizeable impact on the world and planned to become a public intellectual and professor once he graduated from Stanford University. However, he soon realized that he could make a greater impact as a businessman.
  • Hoffman learned from his failures at when he founded LinkedIn in 2002 with some of his former employees from that platform and also from PayPal. Since then, he has become a prolific angel investor and has not abandoned his passion for speaking and writing on meaningful topics.

Reid Hoffman: Co-founder of LinkedIn and Serial Entrepreneur

  • Introduction: Reid Hoffman, born on August 5, 1967, is an American entrepreneur, author, venture capitalist, and public speaker.
  • Education: Hoffman graduated from Stanford University with a degree in Symbolic Systems and Cognitive Science in 1990. He later earned a Master of Studies in Philosophy from Oxford University and an MBA from Stanford.
  • Early Career: After working at Apple on the eWorld project, he co-founded the online dating and networking platform Despite its failure, Hoffman’s experiences shaped his future successes.
  • PayPal: Hoffman joined PayPal as COO and played a significant role in managing various aspects of the company’s growth, including payments infrastructure and legal matters.
  • LinkedIn: Co-founded LinkedIn in 2002, focusing on building a platform that excelled in a specific domain. The platform’s growth was steady, and it reached millions of users within a few years.
  • Angel Investing: After PayPal’s acquisition by eBay, Hoffman became a prolific angel investor, making early investments in companies like Airbnb, Flickr, and more.
  • Venture Capital: He joined VC firm Greylock Partners and continued his successful investment career, leveraging his insights and network.
  • Speaking and Writing: Hoffman remained involved in public intellectual endeavors. He delivered talks at events like TED and Accelerate Good Global and lectured at prestigious universities. He also co-authored books like “The Alliance,” “Masters of Scale,” and “Blitzscaling.”
  • Blitzscaling: “Blitzscaling,” co-authored by Hoffman, presents a concept focused on rapid growth to outpace competitors, emphasizing speed over efficiency.

Read Also: PayPal Mafia

Read Next: Bill Gates Companies, Jeff Bezos Companies, Elon Musk Companies.

Related Personal Wealth Case Studies

Warren Buffet

Warren Buffett is an American investor, business tycoon, and philanthropist. Known as the “Oracle of Omaha”, Buffett is best known for his strict adherence to value investing and frugality despite his immense wealth. He is among the wealthiest people in the world. Most of his wealth is tied up in Berkshire-Hathaway and its 65 subsidiaries.

Jeff Bezos

Jeff Bezos was best known for founding eCommerce giant Amazon in 1994. However, the entrepreneur owns companies in several industries, including health care, retail, robotics, real estate, and media. Many of these companies have been acquired by Amazon over the years, but some have been the result of direct investment from Bezos himself (through his investment arm is called Bezos Expeditions).

Elon Musk

Elon Musk is one of the richest people in the world, with his main ownership in Tesla, making him worth more than a hundred billion dollars. The companies founded by Elon Musk range from electric vehicles and renewable energies, with Tesla, rockets, with SpaceX, infrastructure with The Boring Company, and neurotechnology with Neuralink.

Bill Gates

Bill Gates is an American business tycoon, software developer, investor, and more recently, philanthropist. After dropping out of Harvard University and founding Microsoft in 1975, Gates has at times been the richest man in the world with an estimated net worth of $129 billion. He founded Cascade Investment in 1995 to manage his investments outside of Microsoft. The firm employs over 100 people and has significant stakes in hotel, rail transport, beverage, and waste management companies. To further his philanthropic causes, he founded the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000. The foundation holds almost $47 billion in assets and tackles entrenched global issues around poverty, healthcare, and climate change. The foundation also has several trust investments in companies such as Berkshire Hathaway, Caterpillar, FedEx, Walmart, and UPS.

Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg is the largest shareholder of the company. Zuckerberg retains ownership and control of the company. Like Google, Facebook has issued two common stocks, Class A and Class B. The holders of Class B common stocks are entitled to ten votes per share, and holders of our Class A common stocks are entitled to one vote per share. Mark Zuckerberg has a voting power of 56.9%; he’s the main decision-maker.

Who Is Tim Cook?

Timothy Donald Cook is the current CEO of Apple, a position he has held since 2011. Cook, who was born on November 1, 1960, is an American business executive who is also on the board of Nike and the National Football Foundation.

Who Is Susan Wojcicki?

Susan Wojcicki is a Polish-American businesswoman who currently serves as the CEO of YouTube. Wojcicki, an early Google employee, was also the company’s first marketing manager before later leading its advertising business.

Who is Martin Lorentzon?


Main Free Guides:

About The Author

Reid Hoffman

Reid Garrett Hoffman (born August 5, 1967) is an American entrepreneur, venture capitalist and author. Hoffman is best known as the co-founder of LinkedIn, a social network used primarily for business connections and job searching.

About The Author

Scroll to Top