It’s been more than 10 years since Reid Hoffman, an entrepreneur, investor and product strategist out of Oxford University, called his colleagues from PayPal and SocialNet to gather in his living room and start a new company called LinkedIn.
Hoffman officially announced on Sunday in a company blog that LinkedIn, the social networking site for professionals, is celebrating its 10th anniversary in the business.
The company started slow in its early days, with only 4,500 members after its first month, wrote Hoffman in the blog post. For a while, it never seemed to deliver on its promise, as there were some days when only 20 people would sign up to the service.
But it nearly looked unavoidable that LinkedIn would make it to the top, especially with the company’s mission of connecting the world’s professionals.
A decade after it launched in Cinco de Mayo 2003, LinkedIn now caters to more than 200 million users and employs 3,700 people in 26 offices worldwide.
In 2004, LinkedIn introduced new features such as Groups, and it partnered with American Express to focus in on small business owners.
A year later the company released its first business lines with Jobs and Subscriptions. It created a business model with job listings and tiered subscriptions to generate revenue. It now generates more than $300 million in revenue for each quarter.
Profitability was elusive to the company at first, but in 2006, LinkedIn finally made profit and introduced features such as Recommendations and People You May Know.
It was in 2007 that Hoffman stepped down as CEO to run product, and Dan Nye took the highest post in the company.
In 2008, LinkedIn opened an office in London, the first company office outside of the United States. It also launched French and Spanish language versions of the website.
Jeff Weiner, the current CEO of LinkedIn, took the helm from Nye in 2009 after serving as president of the company.
LinkedIn became a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange, or NYSE, a year after Weiner stepped in as chief executive.
In 2012, LinkedIn implemented Project Inversion, a major revamp of the website and the company to focus on simplicity and growth.
This year LinkedIn reached the mark for 225 million members and now grows at more than two new members per second.
The beginning, the struggles, the milestones – LinkedIn went through all these things for the past decade.
The company’s 10th birthday is an achievement on its own, as Hoffman and his friends started the Internet company after the Dot-Com bust and thrived at a time when the world’s largest social networks were MySpace and Friendster. And Facebook, Twitter and Google+ were still relatively unknown to the public.
LinkedIn appeared before most of the major social networks we know of today entered the game. Facebook is a year younger than LinkedIn, Twitter is three years younger, and Google+ is eight years younger.
As part of the celebration, LinkedIn published a collection of photos that show the company’s evolution throughout the past decade.