Investors add $22.7 million to LinkedIn

/ Source: The Associated Press

LinkedIn Corp. has raised an additional $22.7 million to help insulate the steadily growing online business network from the economic storm and provide more financial flexibility.

The investment announced Thursday was made by one of LinkedIn's long-time backers, Bessemer Venture Partners, and three newcomers — the venture arm of business software maker SAP AG, banker Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and The McGraw-Hill Companies Inc., which publishes BusinessWeek.

The deal values privately held LinkedIn at slightly more than $1 billion, the same appraisal assigned the Mountain View-based company when it raised $53 million in June.

LinkedIn hasn't drawn on any of that money yet, but still thought it was prudent to have more money in the bank as the economy slumps amid a credit crunch, said Dan Nye, LinkedIn's chief executive officer. He also said LinkedIn wanted the extra cash in case an enticing acquisition opportunity crops up.

The new investors in LinkedIn are all intrigued with how they might be able to use information picked up from the Web site's 30 million members to drum more sales in their own businesses, Nye said.

Goldman Sachs' investment won't give it the inside track to become LinkedIn's investment banker should it ever pursue an initial public offering of stock, Nye said.

For now, LinkedIn is still trying to boost its revenue. Toward that end, LinkedIn also will begin offering a survey service that will poll its members about specific topics for a fee that will be negotiated on a case-by-case basis.