BranchOut, the Facebook app for business professional networking, announced today a $25 million Series C funding from Mayfield and others, bringing its total tally to $49 million. BranchOut has been around for about two years, and is similar to the business-oriented social network LinkedIn, though it relies of Facebook’s network.
BranchOut users potentially have access to Facebook’s 800+ million users, as opposed to LinkedIn’s roughly 150 million users. And, soon after BranchOut released its mobile app, its user base jumped from 400,000 to 13 million, indicative of its viability as an alternative to LinkedIn. BranchOut CEO Rick Marini sees Facebook’s larger user base as affording a better selection in the types of careers available to pursue, also considering Facebook’s broad demographic. Marini states, “LinkedIn is somebody I meet at a conference for 5 minutes. Facebook are (sic) my real friends and family, my supply network. These are people who will go out of their way to help me get a job.”
BranchOut is banking on the notion that since Facebook is a larger, more personal network, stronger personal business relationships can be forged, and with 800 million active users, more opportunity is present by default. Investors appear to agree, with the latest round of funding. Come to think of it, the whole point of LinkedIn’s lack of personability goes along the lines of the general and legitimate carrer environment in the U.S. What Marini mentions about BranchOut makes it sound like it would be more useful in finding a gig digging holes in a neighbors yard or something.