ResearchGate, a social network for scientists backed by Bill Gates, has started introducing adverts to its platform in a bid to boost revenues.
Founded in 2008 by Horst Fickenscher, Ijad Madisch, and Sören Hofmayer, ResearchGate is a website that allows scientists to share their work and provide feedback to others in their field.
The company believes that advertising products and services on its platform will assist its network of 11 million scientists and researchers with their work.
But academics and corporate researchers sign up to ResearchGate for free. As a result, ResearchGate’s path to monetisation was called into question by early investors.
In 2008 and 2009, VCs were asking Madisch, the CEO of ResearchGate, how he planned to make money. Speaking to Business Insider in September, Madisch explained: “I said: ‘Hey guys, you don’t get it. If this thing is going to be successful, if we change how scientists think — something that is way harder than making money with this network — then the potential is big.'”
At the time, Madisch hinted that he was thinking about introducing a scientific equipment marketplace to the platform. He claimed the market for scientific equipment is worth $30 billion (£24 billion) in the US alone.
The size of ResearchGate’s initial fundraises was not disclosed but the company raised $35 million (£28 million) in July 2013 in a round that was lead by Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates and venture capital firm Tenaya Capital.
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