When you want to hang out with your friends online, you go to Facebook. When you want to look for a job, you go to LinkedIn. Well, maybe not for long. BranchOut, a startup that is essentially building a LinkedIn for Facebook, raised $6 million in a series A round. Several news sites reported the funding yesterday when the SEC filing came out, but other than Accel Partners, none of the investors were known. Here they are:
In addition to Accel, which led the round (partner Kevin Efrusy sits on the board), the other two VCs were Mike Maples of Floodgate and Tim Chang of Norwest Venture Partners. But the round also attracted a lot of high-profile super angels, including Napster founder Shawn Fanning, former Facebook platform manager Dave Morin (Fanning and Morin are now co-founders of Path), Bebo founder Michael Birch, WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg, Tickle founder James Currier, former Tickle CEO Stan Chudnovsky, Blippy founder Philip Kaplan, Googler Ben Ling, Naval Ravikant, and Josh Elman (former Facebook, now Twitter).
Many of the angel investors are, appropriately enough, friends and former colleagues of BranchOut CEO Rick Marini, who was also a co-founder of Tickle. (Michael Birch of Bebo fame also used to work there).
The basic idea of BranchOut is to find jobs through your real friends. It is a Facebook app that lets you search for companies and then it shows you all your friends who either work there or know somebody who does. It only goes two degrees of separation out, unlike LinkedIn which goes three. It doesn’t show the names of the people who work at the target companies, just their titles. You ask your friends for an introduction.
Why is this better than LinkedIn? Well, because it is on Facebook. “Basically we have this thesis that the social graph will change a lot of internet businesses,” explains Efrusy. “We fundamentally believe it will change jobs and recruiting. If you look at how most people really get their jobs it is through their real friends.”
Right now BranchOut gets all of its data from Fecebook profiles, including employment histories, but it plans to add more data from other sources, perhaps even LinkedIn. It also allows you to post jobs to your friends for free, and will eventually let companies post jobs for a fee.