Scrappy job candidate scoring database Identified will stop at nothing to become a contender in the professional network space. This morning it delivered a flaming uppercut to reigning champion LinkedIn, hiring away key product manager Janet Ryu. She built LinkedIn’s People You May Know and Who’s Viewed Your Profile features, and previously studied engineering at MIT. Ryu will work on similar features for Identified. Seeking reduced bureaucracy, a chance to build something from scratch, and stock liquidity, Ryu and others are leaving top tech companies to join smaller startups.
Unlike the recent exodus from Twitter, Ryu’s says her move wasn’t primarily fueled by a desire to sell shares, though LinkedIn went public 7 months ago and its stock lockup has expired. “The IPO was definitely an awesome thing, but I don’t think it made me feel like I wanted look for someone else. Being at an early stage startup and being able to have a huge impact were huge motivators.” Ryu will become Head of Product and bring expertise to help make Identified more sticky.
The upstart professional network is already growing quickly thanks to job candidates eager to check their Identified score — a sort of Klout for job candidates which indicates how in-demand they are to recruiters. It doubled its user base in the last 14 days, though Identified’s total user count is still small having only launched in September. Co-founder Brendan Wallace tells me “We didn’t expect to grow this quick, and ran into some problems with scaling.” To shore up the backend, Identified also recently hired its CTO Vladimir Giverts from Tagged and some engineers from Facebook.
All these hires have been paid for with its $5.5 million in seed funding from investors including Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, Bill and Tim Draper, and former Facebook VP Chamath Palihapitiya. Though it’s trying to knock out LinkedIn, Identified will also settle for an alliance. Wallace tells me “There’s an opportunity to work with LinkedIn to integrate our scores.” That’s a bit bold for such as small company, though. LinkedIn could take the Ryu hire as an act of war and look to squash Identified by launching its own scoring system.