BranchOut wants to beat LinkedIn at its own game: helping people use their social network to find a job.Today, the company got a lot more backing to help it out. It announced a $25 million Series C round from Mayfield and other investors, bringing its total funding to $49 million in just over two years.
BranchOut isn’t setting up its own social network from scratch, but rather runs as a Facebook app. This lets Facebook’s more than 800 million users tap into their network of friends to look for job leads, recommend one another, and so on.
So far, the app has 25 million registered users.
They’re actually using it as well. Since December, monthly average usage has grown from 400,000 to more than 13 million. That’s mainly because BranchOut launched a mobile version of its app in December.
So does BranchOut REALLY think it can beat LinkedIn, which has more than 150 million registered users?
CEO Rick Marini thinks so, because Facebook’s audience of 850 million users is much larger, and includes more kinds of employees looking for more types of jobs.
“LinkedIn is a great company, and does a great job with 10% of the workforce” — executives and other high-demand professionals who make big salaries. “But the other 90% of the world is on Facebook. Those are the people we can finally give a professional profile to.”
He also thinks that the connections on Facebook are more authentic than those formed on LinkedIn. “LinkedIn is somebody I meet at a conference for 5 minutes. Facebook are my real friends and family, my support network. These are people who will go out of their way to help me get job.”
He now has a lot more money — and time — to prove his thesis.
Marini said that BranchOut will use the funds to improve its infrastructure to support its growth, as well as to focus on mobile with new native apps for iOS and other platforms. (The current mobile app is an HTML5-based Facebook app.)
“Out of our 45 employees, we have one mobile developer who does mobile. The mobile app was basically built on the weekend.”
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