Today, I’m thrilled to announce that Identified has closed a $21 million Series B financing with a truly outstanding group of investors led by VantagePoint Capital Partners and Capricorn Investment Group. This round is a huge accomplishment for our young company which positions and capitalizes Identified for continued success. I am both humbled by the support of our investors and, at the same time, incredibly excited about what this Series B will mean for the future of Identified.
A few things of note about this financing …
Identified’s Team is Amazing. Period.
More than anything, this financing is a testament to the hard work of the entire Identified team. We’ve assembled one of the best technical and business teams in Silicon Valley to work on an incredibly interesting problem online: professional identity. That grand vision is bold, exciting, and inspiring but, ultimately, it’s the long hours, sacrifice, and dedication of the entire Identified team that has transformed that vision into a strong product and a great company. In a startup, your team is everything. And here at Identified we’re incredibly lucky to have such an outstanding team committed to building great products, changing the world, and having a blast while doing it all. To my team: thank you, all of you rock.
Thank You Angels
Back in 2010, some crazy investors gave two MBA students at Stanford $1.5M to “go change the way people manage their professional identity online.” Those two founders had no product, no team, no code, and hadn’t even graduated school … they just had a big idea. To those angel investors who took a big bet on my co-founder Adeyemi and I, thank you. Your support is the reason why Identified is here today and why we just closed a $21 million Series B. While we’re working hard to make this an outstanding financial outcome for you, more than anything I want you to know how much we appreciate your support, trust, and confidence.
Finding a Partner – not just Money
After meeting with many VCs and fielding a lot of interest in our Series B, Adeyemi and I could not be more thrilled with the two partners Identified chose to lead this investment. We viewed this financing not merely as an opportunity to put cash in the bank, but rather as an opportunity to identify partners who could truly add value to Identified and take our business to the next level. Although we had received numerous offers from VCs to lead financing for the company, until now, we had always been inclined to instead rely on angel financing to remain lean and retain flexibility. However, as Identified grew from 0 to 10 million users in just 8 months, we knew we needed help. We were growing up as company and we needed the strategic, financial, and operational support of a committed top tier VC partner. We met with a number of funds and with each one we tried to assess the following:
- Did this VC share the founder’s vision for Identified?
- Could they add real strategic value to Identified? (‘blocking and tackling’ on recruiting, networking, business development, etc.)
- Did they understand how truly massive Identified could become? And did they have the fund size to continue to support the company through future financing rounds?
VantagePoint and Capricorn have been amazing since my first interaction with them almost 5 months ago. Both firms really took the time to understand Identified’s vision and spent time with both Adeyemi and myself. Bill Harding, Rick Prostko, Anita Rehman, and Ion Yadigaroglu have really rolled-up-their-sleeves and helped the company think through some very challenging strategic issues. In short, we are incredibly fortunate to have to top tier funds supporting Identified and look forward to working with them.
Data is King
In the end, the reason Identified was able to raise such a large Series B can be summarized in one word: DATA. Through gamification, Identified has been able to capture unprecedented amounts of professional data that literally doesn’t exist anywhere else. A demographic of people (millennials) that never built professional profiles online is building them on Identified. Why? Because Identified makes it dead simple and fun. That is why young people love our product and engage with it. But these are early days— our product is about to get a whole lot more engaging and powerful for our users.
We’re not interested in just collecting data. Now the real fun, and the real challenge, begins: making that data come alive to users through the power of analytics, visualization, and game design. Identified has assembled some of the greatest data scientists and game designers in the world to help bring this data to life. We are going to help our users plan their careers and manage their professional profiles in ways never before possible.
The Future is Bright
There is a lot on the horizon for Identified. A new consumer product, a mobile product, recruiting solutions for companies, branding solutions, partnerships — we believe what we are building will make people happier in their careers, and make the world a better place for professionals and companies alike.
On behalf of Adeyemi and I, we are thrilled to have closed this outstanding round for Identified and are incredibly excited about the future.