Social networking site LinkedIn hit a milestone of 4m members in the UK yesterday, adding a million users in less than eight months.Although most tech-savvy entrepreneurs already use LinkedIn regularly, a more surprising stat is that 25 per cent of FTSE 100 companies actively hire new employees through LinkedIn. LinkedIn’s appeal is clear: the site boasts that one in three professionals in the UK has a LinkedIn account, and with over 70m members worldwide, it’s the largest professional social network. Set up in December 2002 by internet entrepreneur Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn launched five months later in Mountain View, California. LinkedIn turned profitable in 2007, the same year it hit one million members in the UK. It secured funding from several VC firms, which paid $53m for a five per cent stake in June 2008, valuing the group at $1bn. Hoffman – who has also invested in Facebook, Flickr and social gaming group Zynga – stepped down as LinkedIn’s CEO last year, replaced by former Yahoo! manager Jeff Weiner. He remains LinkedIn’s chairman. “UK professionals from all industries are adopting LinkedIn with accelerating speed,” says Kevin Eyres, MD of LinkedIn Europe. “In our working lives, the internet is now often our first destination when we’re looking for advice or expertise.” If you’re a member on LinkedIn, make sure to add yourself to the Real Business Entrepreneur Network.
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