socialmedian

European Business Social Network XING Acquires socialmedian (Update: For $7.5 Million)

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Hamburg, Germany based XING, a global professional social network that’s strong in Europe, has acquired New York based socialmedian for an undisclosed amount approximately $7.5 million in total, a mix of $4 million in cash up front and an earn-out valued at between $700,000 to $3.5 million (€0.5 million-€2.5 million) payable over three years. Socialmedian’s founding CEO Jason Goldberg is relocating to Germany and will be joining XING as Vice President Applications Platform, and the entire socialmedian team will be integrated into the company.

Socialmedian is basically a personalized news filter that integrates well with social networking platforms. It aggregates news articles from around the web, blogosphere and social services like Digg, Delicious, Twitter, Flickr, Facebook, YouTube, Google Reader, FriendFeed, etc. which are then filtered by topic. Users can pre-define which keywords and topics they’d like to receive news on, and they can also submit articles to the site with the help of a bookmarklet. Stories can be viewed either in chronological order or according to popularity on the network. The startup was operating on a mere $560,000 in seed funding from individual investors and The Washington Post Company, so this is definitely a successful exit for them.

About 3 weeks ago, we reported on XING CEO Lars Hinrich, who founded the company in 2003 and led it to an IPO three years later at the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, stepping down. He still got to announce the news, though:

Why do we think that socialmedian is a perfect fit for XING? Here´s why: In business success depends on access to the right information at the right time. Both the speed of information and the sheer volume of data have increased rapidly due to the rise of the internet. Traditional media companies, social media such as blogs, tweets, videos and other user-generated websites now provide daily news, leading to a veritable flood of information. The consequence: Time-strapped professionals are forced to parse through numerous news sources for relevant information and sort, organize, and share stories on their own.

In the short term, this is mostly about adding business news functionality into the network, and hiring experience and knowledge. But with this acquisition, XING also shows that it’s not about to give LinkedIn and Facebook, both of which are expanding rapidly across the globe, an easy path to dominating social networking for professionals. The Applications Platform division that former Jobster CEO Goldberg will be heading is an entirely new business unit and will likely take a page from the application strategy that both LinkedIn and Facebook exhibit. It will basically enable application developers and content providers to connect to the XING platform. Goldberg’s first job will be launching OpenSocial on XING (due this Spring), after which he’ll concentrate on making strategic partnerships with service providers that can bring added value to XING’s member base on a professional level.

Publicly listed XING currently boasts nearly 7 million members (up from 4.8 million in 2007), about 510,000 of which are paying about $90 per year for a premium account to get full networking functionality. XING has been cash-flow positive 3 months after the start and boasted seven record-breaking quarters after the IPO, achieving more revenues and earnings in each quarter. Revenues from January to September this year amounted to $32 million, 28% more than in 2007 as a whole.

We’re left wondering if the acquisition was settled over Twitter. If you don’t know what we’re talking about, read this.

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