Tag Archives: LinkedIn

Why LinkedIn should acquire AngelList

Had predicted earlier that LinkedIn shall acquire SlideShare; Two years back I wrote that Quora should be acquired by LinkedIn, though that has not happened yet, I strongly feel its imminent to happen. Adding to that list, I strongly feel AngelList will be acquired by LinkedIn.

While LinkedIn continues to grow (it recently crossed 200 Mn users), Naval & Nivi’s efforts on AngelList have been spectacular. Over 100,000+ companies/startups listed, 2% of them are hiring (through AngelList) and over 200,000+ early adopters (which includes people who matter) on the platform. And there is speculation that AngelList is raising investments at a valuation of over $150 Mn USD.

Among few user trends I am noticing with regards to AngelList – People from startup community on Twitter are replacing LinkedIn profile links with AngelList.

Here is why I feel LinkedIn should acquire AngelList –

  • LinkedIn appeals to larger audience across multiple sectors, but startups is where the action is. For startups, AngelList is more valuable than LinkedIn.
  • Startups (or companies) are present and more active on AngelList than on LinkedIn.
  • While LinkedIn is professional resume, business connections, AngelList is business in action for Startups. Take a business vertical and be immensely valuable to them, AngelList is perfect example for this.
  • AngelList is not just beneficial to startups, but also to the entire community of startup ecosystem. Its API now handles over 3 Million requests per day.
  • AngelList is rolling out features at a much faster pace than LinkedIn… Introductions, Hiring through AL, Investing directly in startups, showcasing marquee customers for companies, service providers and so on. 
  • It will be very difficult (next to impossible) for LinkedIn to replicate such products for a particular vertical like startups. But it might be easier for AngelList to move beyond the tech startup community.
  • Technology is shaping every domain. As startups are established in multiple business verticals, it will attract talent and early adopters from every segment on to AngelList… to a point that in future AngelList might be a threat to LinkedIn.

When Quora was small, its biggest challenge was to break beyond the startup community. I don’t foresee AngelList wanting to immediately expand beyond the startup community and its focus will continue to be startups for some time.

And yes these are the early trends. With that I include a possible acquisition of AngelList by LinkedIn to my list of Tech Predictions.

Why LinkedIn should acquire Quora

Quora has seen unprecedented traction in last few months on 2010 and bound to be an one of the most talked about startup for 2011. Here are few reasons what makes Quora an perfect candidate for acquisition by LinkedIn.

1. LinkedIn is a network of professionals – however much activity is centered around initiating business contacts and building your professional resume/network.

2. LinkedIn tried getting into having its users into groups and eventually discuss, debate on topics within the community – if you are an expert a mere “recommendation” by colleague is emphasis of your performance at a particular role or organization. Recommendations always centered around – great team player, leadership role, knowledgeable, etc – but users were not able to demonstrate their expertise, opinions on to a common forum with industry leaders/ participants.

3. LinkedIn community features (like status updates) are mostly feed-into by Twitter or applications like Foursquare. Professionals will not share expertise without being asked for – Quora has questions, and hence ability for professionals to demonstrate their knowledge.

4. LinkedIn Groups have repeat questions – the perfect answer may be in some different group which is not discovered by the person asking the question. Quora has solved the discovery puzzle for users. I manage an 8000+ group on LinkedIn, the quality of answers on Quora are unmatched to those on LinkedIn. The issue is not quality of people, they same are on LinkedIn, issue is how to get those quality Questions & Answers discovered or re-used.

5. Other players – Twitter, Facebook, etc are more social and so is the content shared – status messages, pictures, links, etc. The level and quality of questions that are asked and answered on Quora will not fit within the Social Norms established by Twitter or Facebook.

Nevertheless Quora also has challenges like going beyond the web-startup community, dealing with self-glorifying users that at times add irrelevant answers to grab attention, highly prolific users with right expertise flooding user stream that overshadows other users, questions with multiple answers but few getting maximum votes causing difficult in discovering other relevant answers, and so on. These are good challenges to have and will only test ability of this product.

If LinkedIn has to acquire Quora, rather than integrating the same within LinkedIn as an component it should –

– Allow Quora to grow independently on its own

– Allow LinkedIn profiles to be linked with respective Quora profiles

– Build an rating/ranking system that allows determination of user’s expertise on subjects/topics based on crowdsourced feedback on user’s questions / answers / comments

– For LinkedIn users, show an Quora expertise quotient in subject/topic user has participated.

The great thing about Quora is its well maintained quality of questions and answers. The next great knowledge resource is Wikipedia (but in encyclopedia format). If Quora has to be independent it will grow in a Q&A’pedia; if not LinkedIn is best fit for professionals to demonstrate their expertise

This opinion was posted originally as an answer on Quora at: http://www.quora.com/Who-is-most-likely-to-acquire-Quora