LinkedIn’s Journey – The First 20 Years Of The Professional Network [Timeline]

Posted on: May 4, 2023 Posted by: Alexander Krastev Comments: 0

LinkedIn’s Journey – The First 20 Years Of The Professional Network [Timeline]

14 December 2002

The idea for a professional network is created by Reid Hoffman

Reid Hoffman, internet entrepreneur and venture capitalist, started working on his idea in November 2002, as he was interested in professional space. He hired a team of team 10 people from Socialnet and Paypal to create a professional network, called LinkedIn.

5 May 2003

LinkedIn was officially launched

The professional network was officially launched on 5 May, 2003 with a mission to connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful. LinkedIn’s vision is aimed at creating economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce.

August 2004

The professional network reaches 1 million users

One of the greatest milestones in LinkedIn’s history was hitting 1 million users in August 2004. From then on, the platform continued to grow fast and became the leading platform for professionals to network and build relationships and find new opportunities together.

8 August 2005

LinkedIn launches Premium Service for recruiters and researchers – LinkedIn Business Accounts

LinkedIn Business Accounts provide more powerful search tools to recruiters, investment professionals, management consultants, analysts, and market researchers, addressing their need to find the right job candidates and experts quickly and efficiently.

July 2005

LinkedIn Groups are created

The professional network introduces LinkedIn Groups as spaces, where professionals with similar interests or occupations can exchange knowledge, share ideas, build relationships and ask for advice. Users can both create and participate in groups, which can be private or public. 

5 February 2007

LinkedIn Reaches 10 million users

Less than 4 years after its official launch, LinkedIn reached the staggering number of users of 10 million! The news was introduced together with the change in the management team – Reid Hoffman stepped off as a CEO and Dan Nye took his position. By the way, 4 more years later – in June 2011, LinkedIn reached 10 million members only in India.

February 2008

LinkedIn introduced its mobile version

LinkedIn launched its free mobile service in 6 languages – Chinese, English, French, German, Japanese and Spanish. This advancement gave the approx. 19 million member then to connect easier and the addition of languages enabled the growth of the network outside the USA.

21 March 2008

LinkedIn creates Company Pages under the name Company Profiles

Companies finally found a place in the professional network. What now is known as LinkedIn Page. Back then there were 20 million professional profiles on LinkedIn and it was high time companies had their pages. The Company Profiles combined LinkedIn network information with a company’s description, key industry statistics, and targeted job listings.

15 September 2008

Targeted advertising campaigns are rolled out

The opportunity to advertise on LinkedIn was introduced for the first time. The professional network joined the ad network Collective Media to create the LinkedIn Audience Network, which let advertisers target specific sections of LinkedIn users – called the InCrowds.

7 November 2008

LinkedIn Events were first announced

A new era has begun – LinkedIn Events were made available and anybody who was excited to search for a suitable event, could do it through their Events browse page. There one could find info about events based on speakers, topics, conference organizer, etc. This was a partnership with Eventbrite – a leading provider of online event management and ticketing services.

17 December 2008

LinkedIn Founder Reid Hoffman Returns as CEO

LinkedIn’s founder, Reid Hoffman, was appointed as the new CEO following the resignation of Dan Nye. Jeff Weiner served Interim President while remaining in his role at Accel Partners and Greylock Partners.

27 June 2009

Jeff Weiner became CEO and President of LinkedIn

Jeff Weiner was named as the new CEO of LinkedIn, while founder Reid Hoffman remained as executive chairman. Weiner had played a vital role in the company’s growth, with LinkedIn exceeding 42 million global members at the time and becoming profitable.

10 March 2011

LinkedIn Today was launched

Later it became the backbone of LinkedIn Articles, especially after the acquisition of Pulse in April 2013.

March 2011

LinkedIn reached 100 million users

This major milestone in LinkedIn’s development was announced by the professional network’s CEO Jeff Weiner.

19 May 2011

LinkedIn IPOs and trades its first shares under the NYSE symbol “LNKD”, at $45 per share

3 May 2012

LinkedIn announced the acquisition of SlideShare

LinkedIn acquired the presentation sharing startup SlideShare for $118.75 million in cash and stock. The core idea was to help professionals share presentations and connect people through content.

2 October 2012

The first LinkedIn influencer programme was launched

LinkedIn’s team was insightful enough to give rise to the trend individuals to be interested in leaders from certain sectors. After the launch of the first influencers programme, LinkedIn members could follow certain key figures from a variety of industries, who were broadcasting their news, blog posts and more across the network.

9 April 2015

LinkedIn acquired lynda.com

The professional network reaffirmed its intention to put a focus on the learning process as a prerequisite for success in any sphere. Its acquirement of lynda.com, a leading online learning company teaching business, technology and creative skills, was an important step towards offering a massive library of high-quality courses.

April 2016

LinkedIn Reaches 500 million users

This milestone meant that members from 200 countries represented 10+ million active jobs, 9+ million companies, and more than 100,000 articles published every week.

8 December 2016

Microsoft completed its acquisition of LinkedIn

Microsoft’s $26.2-billion acquisition of LinkedIn was one of the most famous win-win tech deal of the century. LinkedIn got the opportunity to integrate with Microsoft’s enterprise software and Microsoft could now reach LinkedIn’s massive user base.

November 2018

The professional network relaunched LinkedIn Events

LinkedIn continued to develop its Events, giving members more and more opportunities to explore new possibilities. Since the relaunch members were able to seamlessly create and join professional events, invite their connections, have conversations with other attendees, and stay in touch online after the event ends.

1 June 2020

Ryan Roslansky became the CEO of LinkedIn

The previous vice president of product development, Ryan Roslansky, became LinkedIn’s CEO. On his first day of work in the new position, Roslansky released a letter to the company’s employees with several key messages. These included the importance of LinkedIn remaining a leader in innovation in the labor market, working as one big body to address pandemic threats and growing racism in the US, and pushing for a faster pace of innovation within the company.

April 2021

LinkedIn introduces Creator Mode

LinkedIn continued to help content creators get more visibility and engagement. With the new Creator Mode switched on, members could add hashtags to indicate what topics they post about most on the platform. Featured and Activity sections are moved to the top of one’s Profile and the “Connect” button changes to “Follow”. This helps creators grow their audience on the platform and engage with the most interested members.

November 2021

LinkedIn introduces Newsletters

LinkedIn gave its members the chance to provide regular news about their expertise to their followers with Newsletters. The feature was available only for individuals then. 

January 2022

LinkedIn introduces Newsletters for Pages 

After the great success of newsletters for individuals it was time for LinkedIn to make it even better. Therefore, LinkedIn Pages got access to this feature, as long as they have at least 150 followers. Working as an email marketing tool, the newsletters for pages prove to be a great addition to the arsenal of tools companies have on the professional network.

January 2023

LinkedIn reaches 900 mln members

So close to a 4-digit number of followers… The professional network announced that its 900 mln members span across 200 countries and regions worldwide. 

5 May 2023

LI Celebrates 20th Anniversary with 930 million registered users 

Happy birthday, LinkedIn! The professional network greets its 20th anniversary with 930 mln users across 200 countries and regions worldwide.