Category Archives: European Founders Fund

LinkedIn is out pitching for a major round at the staggering $1B pre-money

The rumors across the valley are that LinkedIn is out trying to raise a new round at $1B pre-money valuation. They are using the service of the New York based secretive investment bank Allen & Co. where the Managing Director Dave Wehner seems to be engaged with the effort to help LinkedIn secure its next round of funding.

There were clearly rumors over the past months that LinkedIn was looking for potential sell out as one of the rumored suitors was News Corp., but as it often happens nowadays after you fail to sell out you are raising a new round instead at preferably huge pre-money valuation to keep your company alive until IPO and M&A markets improve. Similar deals were done by many web 2.0 start-ups from the valley and among others are Slide, Ning, Federated Media and most recently Meebo.

If those rumors turn out to be accurate it will be one of the most expensive private venture deals in recent history. So far LinkedIn is said to have taken $27.5M in total over three rounds. They have also claimed publicly they will reach anything between $70M and $100 million in revenue in 2008. Yet if this is true that they need new round before their exit it means they are barely profitable.

The latest numbers from LinkedIn are as follows: over 20M registered users worldwide, more than 1M new users get registered on their social networking site each month and the average user is said to be 41 years old making around $110,000, which the company says allows it to charge advertisers $75 per thousand impressions.

However, both Quantcast and Compete do report for no more than 4 up to 5M uniques per month to their site. 

This past January, cofounder and board chairman Reid Hoffman told the Sydney Morning Herald that the company will most likely file for an IPO before 2010 if “he isn’t first tempted to sell to one of the suitors that have inquired about buying LinkedIn. Hoffman wouldn’t identify the suitors.” This simply sounds like invitation for the suitors to sweeten their offers.

More about LinkedIn

LinkedIn is an online network of more than 20 million experienced professionals from around the world, representing 150 industries. When you join, you create a profile that summarizes your professional accomplishments. Your profile helps you find and be found by former colleagues, clients, and partners. You can add more connections by inviting trusted contacts to join LinkedIn and connect to you. Your network consists of your connections, your connections’ connections, and the people they know, linking you to thousands of qualified professionals.

Through your network you can:

  • Find potential clients, service providers, subject experts, and partners who come recommended
  • Be found for business opportunities
  • Search for great jobs
  • Discover inside connections that can help you land jobs and close deals
  • Post and distribute job listings
  • Find high-quality passive candidates
  • Get introduced to other professionals through the people you know

LinkedIn is free to join. We also offer paid accounts that give you more tools for finding and reaching the right people, whether or not they are in your network.

LinkedIn participates in the EU Safe Harbor Privacy Framework and is certified to meet the strict privacy guidelines of the European Union. All relationships on LinkedIn are mutually confirmed, and no one appears in the LinkedIn Network without knowledge and explicit consent.

LinkedIn is located in Mountain View, California and is funded by world-class investors including Sequoia Capital, Greylock, the European Founders Fund, and Bessemer Venture Partners.

More about Allen & Co

Investment bank Allen & Company has been involved in a number of high profile mergers and acquisitions in the past. Interesting for the Allen & Company is the privacy the investment firm seems to be working in as argument for which is the absence of even a basic site for the company on Web. Perhaps they don’t like publicity. Yet, we have found the firm’s contact details, which can be found among the other links on the end of the story’s page.

For Allen & Company, there’s no business like financing show business. The investment bank serves variously as investor, underwriter, and broker to some of the biggest names in entertainment, technology, and information. Viewed as something of a secret society, the firm has had a quiet hand in such hookups as Seagram (now part of Vivendi) and Universal Studios, Hasbro and Galoob Toys, and Disney and Capital Cities/ABC. The firm’s famous annual retreat in Sun Valley, Idaho, attracts more moguls than a double-black ski run (Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, and eBay CEO Meg Whitman have attended). Brothers Herbert and Charles Allen founded the company in 1922.

Key people and executives for Allen & Company LLC are as follows:

  • Non-Executive Chairman Donald R. (Don) Keough
  • President, CEO, and Director Herbert A. (Herb) Allen
  • Managing Director and CFO Kim M. Wieland


Page creator Jimdo landed the Samwer Brothers as investors

It has been so much noise around Facebook lately and whose their next investor is going to be so that great small start-ups have naturally been overlooked. One of those is a tiny German based start-up called Jimdo. What is in common between Jimdo and Facebook, you may ask? There is nothing in common aside the fact that they have an investor in common – The Samwer Brothers. Just two months before they invested in Facebook with plans to take the company to Europe, the brothers have poured money into Jimdo through their European Founders Fund. The Samwer Brothers are Jimdo’s first large-scale investor. The amount of the investment is not publicly disclosed.

Jimdo is an AJAX-based web pages creation tool similar to Google Page Creator, allowing users to create homepages completely over the Web, without any knowledge of HTML. Jimdo is perhaps most popular with the fact that you can easily grab a design from any site and apply to yours in a couple of steps. Jimdo is available in several major languages such as Deutsch, English, French, Chinese, Italian and Russian. 

Jimdo is really easy to use as the company’s web site claims. Once you’ve registered for your own JimdoFree-Page, they will immediately send you an e-mail with a link to your Page. After logging in to the admin mode, you’ll discover Jimdo’s greatest innovation: you practically won’t notice a difference between the site as it appears online and the site as it appears in admin mode!  You can also integrate photos, videos, RSS feeds and downloads just as easily! Your visitors will immediately be able to see any changes that you make.

More about Samwer brothers

After selling the German Internet auction site to eBay for $50 million in shares, the brothers have made names for themselves and have become even more involved with startups since. After a brief spell working for eBay, they then set up ringtone firm Jamba, which they sold to the U.S. company Verisign for $273 million in shares and cash in 2004. Little later they have also invested in the German Twitter clone, Frazr, and a handful of other startups. Interestign fact to note is that the Samwer brothers also invested in the Facebook clone StudiVZ, which was sold about a year ago for $112 million. Taking these facts and achievements into consideration we would not be that far in our conclusions if we say the guys are successful serial entrepreneurs and they have something to do with the social networking, at least in Europe. It already comes as no surprise they are interested to bring the most popular social site into Europe and lock down exclusivity for the market.

The Samwer brothers have become the strategic partners for Facebook in Europe. In 2006, they established the European Founders Fund to invest in promising Internet companies.

More about Jimdo

In 2004 we founded NorthClick on an old farm. Without a cent we moved in at Fridtjof’s home and developed the online-software that now is the core of Jimdo. NorthClick distributes this software to small and medium sized enterprises who can use the software for updating their websites really easily. Short after the founding we won a business plan competition, which gave us approximately 20,000 USD.

In combination with some basic agreements and our first customers we had enough money to move to Hamburg and rent our first office. Since then, we already moved into a bigger office and have a rising number of customers and colleagues!

During the last four years more and more of our friends asked us whether they could use our system for private stuff. We were so fascinated by the cool pages they created! Some used the system for pages about themselves, three guys used it to document their sailing trip from Germany to Sydney, some to promote their bands… and the feedback was just unbelievable!

That’s when the idea was born to give Pages to the People!

The team (the founders)

Matthias Henze
Marketing, Distribution
1979. Matthias has a diploma in business studies. He studied at the universities of Kiel, Germany and Goteborg, Sweden. In 2004, he was one of the founders of NorthClick, and of Jimdo in 2007. Almost every evening he puts up a good fight against Fridtjof and Christian (it’s all about being the best in Atomic Bomberman).

Fridtjof Detzner
Interface Design, System Development
1983. Fridtjof and co-founder Christian founded his first company, web agency when they were still going to school. Later he founded NorthClick and Jimdo together with Christian and Matthias. At the moment, he practices handstand-running and furthermore he is innovator of the so-called “salary-golfing”.

Christian Springub
Programming, System Development
1982. Christian founded with Fridtjof the web agency, later with Matthias and Fridtjof NorthClick and Jimdo. If Christian is not in the office, the noise level decreases at once!