Who Owns LinkedIn?

Founded in 2002 by – among others – former PayPal Mafia member Reid Hoffman, Microsoft acquired LinkedIn in 2016 for $26.2 billion. By 2021, LinkedIn had passed $10 billion in revenues for the first time. And it generated $13.8 billion in 2022. LinkedIn is now integrated into Microsoft. LinkedIn is a multi-sided platform where job seekers connect with HR professionals. At the same time, LinkedIn has become the most well-known professional network.

FoundedFounded in 2002 by Reid Hoffman and a team from Socialnet.com and PayPal.LinkedIn’s origins trace back to early social networking attempts, which evolved into a successful professional networking platform.
Growth & Expansion– Launched publicly in 2003. – Reached 1 million members by 2004. – Key features like address book upload and community building.Rapid growth and strategic features contributed to LinkedIn’s early success and user engagement.
Business Model– Multi-sided platform connecting job seekers with HR professionals. – Revenue streams: premium subscriptions, recruitment, advertising.LinkedIn’s diversified revenue sources contribute to its financial success in the professional networking space.
Acquisition & Integration– Acquired by Microsoft in 2016 for $26.2 billion. – Remains a separate entity within Microsoft.The Microsoft acquisition has provided resources and integration opportunities while preserving LinkedIn’s unique identity.
Leadership Transitions– Reid Hoffman stepped down as CEO in 2009, succeeded by Jeff Weiner. – Went public in 2011, valuing the company at $4.5 billion.Leadership changes and the IPO were pivotal moments in LinkedIn’s journey towards becoming a global professional networking giant.
Position in the Market– Over 900 million members. – Leading B2B advertising platform.LinkedIn’s widespread user base and focus on B2B advertising cement its status as a significant player in the professional networking sphere.
Notable Strategies & Moves– Collaboration with American Express. – Introduction of premium subscription services.Strategic partnerships and premium services have contributed to LinkedIn’s value proposition.
Current ValuationEstimated worth between $100-150 billion.Post-acquisition by Microsoft, LinkedIn’s valuation reflects its significance in the tech and professional networking sectors.

Business Model:

  • LinkedIn operates as a multi-sided platform, connecting job seekers with HR professionals and recruiters.
  • The platform offers free basic features for users, but it also provides premium subscription plans for individuals and businesses.
  • It generates revenue through premium subscriptions, recruitment solutions for businesses, and advertising.

Ownership Structure:

  • LinkedIn is now owned by Microsoft, following its acquisition in 2016.
  • Prior to the acquisition, Reid Hoffman and other co-founders were major shareholders of LinkedIn.

Organizational Structure:

  • LinkedIn operates as a subsidiary of Microsoft, with a separate management team.
  • The platform maintains its unique brand identity while leveraging Microsoft’s resources and infrastructure.

Leadership Style:

  • As a subsidiary of Microsoft, LinkedIn’s leadership style may align with Microsoft’s overall approach to technology and business.
  • The leadership team at LinkedIn likely focuses on enhancing the platform’s user experience, expanding its offerings, and driving growth and revenue.

Understanding how LinkedIn works and makes money

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. 

LinkedIn is a tech company employing algorithms at various levels to empower the community’s engagement on the platform.


A massive knowledge graph is employed to enable LinkedIn to organize information in a way that is relevant to its members.


Today LinkedIn is the most used platform for social selling.

Social selling is a process of developing trust, rapport, and a relationship with a prospect to enhance the sales cycle. It usually happens through tech platforms (like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and more), which enable salespeople to engage with potential prospects before closing the sale, thus becoming more effective.

LinkedIn grew from about $3 billion in revenue, pre-acquisition by Microsoft, back in 2016, to nearly $14 billion in revenue in 2022.


Today LinkedIn is one of the most important products within Microsoft’s business model.

Microsoft is a tech giant worth over $1.8 trillion in 2023, and over $198 billion in revenue, spanning various segments, such as Cloud (Azure), Windows Office, Gaming (Xbox), Social (LinkedIn), Search Advertising (Bing), Enterprise Services (GitHub), hardware devices and more.

LinkedIn was founded by Reed Hoffman, a former PayPal member, who also invented a framework called Blitzscaling.

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.

In 2022, LinkedIn became the most successful B2B advertising platform.

In fact, for the first time in its history, LinkedIn Marketing Solutions surpassed 5 billion dollars in annual revenue.


LinkedIn was founded in 2002 by Reid Hoffman and various individuals from Socialnet.com and PayPal, such as Allen Blue, Eric Ly, Jean-Luc Vaillant, Yan Pujante, Chris Saccheri, Stephen Beitzel, Ian McNish, Konstantin Guericke, David Eves, and Lee Hower. 

LinkedIn is now a powerhouse social media platform for business and employment-related services. In this article, we’ll discuss the origins of the company and how the platform grew to over 900 million members.

Early years

LinkedIn’s story starts with the failure of SocialNet, an online dating and social media platform that Hoffman founded in 1997. The platform was one of the first of its type and to some extent, failed because it was ahead of its time. 

But Hoffman would also later observe that SocialNet lacked a clear purpose and was trying to wear too many hats at once. It was this lesson in particular that he would keep in mind when developing LinkedIn.

Hoffman was initially keen to start another business immediately after SocialNet, but friend Peter Thiel convinced him to join PayPal instead in 1998. By the time eBay acquired the company in 2002, Hoffman was the Executive Vice President.

LinkedIn is launched

Later that year, Hoffman started work on LinkedIn in his living room. The platform, which was bankrolled from cash he received from the eBay deal, was developed to enable professionals from all over the world to connect and network

LinkedIn went live to the public on May 5, 2003, and by August of the following year, had amassed 1 million members. During this period, Hoffman orchestrated a Series A funding round led by Sequoia Capital worth $4.7 million.

Early interest in the platform surprised Hoffman because, in the early 2000s, social media was still in its infancy.


Growth in the platform’s user base continued over the next few years as new features designed to appeal to small business owners were added. LinkedIn took a major step forward when it enabled users to upload their address book and invite co-workers to the site.

LinkedIn introduced functionality that allowed members to build communities around shared interests in 2004. The company also entered into a collaboration with American Express to broaden its appeal and debuted premium subscription services in 2005.

Soon after, the platform introduced public profiles with associated features such as People You May Know and Recommendations. With Hoffman focused on the user experience in the early 2000s, the company became profitable in March 2006 and surpassed 10 million members just over a year later. 

IPO and Microsoft acquisition

Hoffman stepped down as CEO in 2009 and was replaced by Jeff Weiner. Under Weiner’s leadership, LinkedIn continued to experience rapid growth and held an IPO in 2011 to become valued at $4.5 billion

In April 2014, LinkedIn announced that it had leased a 26-story building in San Francisco to accommodate up to 2,500 employees. The company’s objective was to house its growing staff cohort (which had quadrupled in number since the IPO) and unite sales and marketing teams with research and development. 

Microsoft acquired LinkedIn in 2016 for $26.2 billion – the company’s largest acquisition to date. Two years later, the platform surpassed 500 million users.

Key takeaways:

  • LinkedIn was founded in 2002 by Reid Hoffman and various individuals from Socialnet.com and PayPal such as Allen Blue, Eric Ly, Jean-Luc Vaillant, Yan Pujante, Chris Saccheri, Stephen Beitzel, Konstantin Guericke, David Eves, and Lee Hower. 
  • With Hoffman focused on the user experience in the early 2000s, the company became profitable in March 2006 and the platform surpassed 10 million members just over a year later.
  • Hoffman stepped down as CEO in 2009 and was replaced by Jeff Weiner. Under Weiner’s leadership, LinkedIn continued to experience rapid growth. It held an IPO in 2011 and was acquired by Microsoft in 2016.

Key Highlights on LinkedIn’s Journey and Business Model:

  • Origins:
    • Founded in 2002 by Reid Hoffman and a team from Socialnet.com and PayPal.
    • Evolved from Hoffman’s previous venture, SocialNet, an early social media platform.
  • Growth & Expansion:
    • The platform launched publicly in 2003 and reached 1 million members by 2004.
    • Key features like address book upload, community building, and public profiles fueled its growth.
    • Became profitable in March 2006 and surpassed 10 million members in 2007.
  • Business Model:
    • LinkedIn operates as a multi-sided platform connecting job seekers with HR professionals.
    • Revenue streams include premium subscriptions, recruitment solutions, and advertising.
    • Generated over $6 billion in revenues through Talent Solutions and over $5 billion through its Marketing Solutions in 2022.
  • Acquisition & Integration:
    • Microsoft acquired LinkedIn in 2016 for $26.2 billion, making it one of the tech giant’s largest acquisitions.
    • By 2021, LinkedIn had passed the $10 billion revenue mark and generated $13.8 billion in 2022.
    • Now integrated into Microsoft’s ecosystem, LinkedIn remains a separate entity with its unique brand identity.
  • Leadership Transitions:
    • Reid Hoffman stepped down as CEO in 2009, succeeded by Jeff Weiner.
    • Under Weiner’s leadership, LinkedIn went public in 2011, valuing the company at $4.5 billion.
  • Position in the Market:
    • As of 2022, LinkedIn is the most renowned professional networking platform with over 900 million members.
    • Primarily a B2B advertising platform, it successfully competes in the space with robust revenue figures.
  • Notable Strategies & Moves:
    • Collaboration with American Express to broaden appeal.
    • Introduction of premium subscription services in 2005.
    • Continuous focus on user experience and community-building features.
  • Current Valuation:
    • Post-acquisition by Microsoft, LinkedIn’s estimated worth ranges between $100-150 billion in the present market.

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Who Owns Tesla

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Who Owns PayPal

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