Leaders in the spotlight: Reid Hoffman

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Reid Hoffman

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American internet entrepreneur, venture capitalist and author, Reid Hoffman is the co-founder and executive chairman of LinkedIn.

Hoffman, born in Palo Alto, California, USA on August 5, 1967, graduated from Stanford University in 1990, where he won both a Marshall Scholarship and a Dinkelspiel Award, with a B.S. in Symbolic Systems and Cognitive Science.

Following this, Hoffman pursued a career in business and entrepreneurship with his first job seeing him take an internship at Inglenook, a winery in Napa Valley.

In 1994, he joined Apple Computer where he worked on eWorld, an early attempt at creating a social network – the business was acquired by AOL in 1996.

During the following year, Hoffman founded SocialNet.com, which focused on online dating, it was while at this company that he became a member of the board of directors during the founding of electronic money transmission service PayPal.

In January 2000, he left SocialNet and joined PayPal full-time as the company’s COO. At the time of PayPal’s acquisition by eBay for $1.5bn (approximately £1.15bn) in 2002, he was executive vice president of PayPal.

During the end of that year, Hoffman co-founded LinkedIn with two former colleagues from SocialNet, launching on May 5, 2003. Linkedin was one of the first business-oriented online social networks and by November 2014, the site had over 332 million members in more than 200 countries and territories.

Having been the founding CEO for the first four years of the company’s existence, he became executive chairman in June 2009. With the IPO of LinkedIn on May 19, 2011, Hoffman owns a stake worth an estimated $2.34bn.

In June 2016, Microsoft proposed to acquire LinkedIn for $26.2bn (£20bn) in cash.

Hoffman became a board member of Microsoft on March 14, 2017. After the PayPal sale to eBay, Hoffman became one of Silicon Valley’s most prolific and successful angel investors.

He is currently a partner at the venture capital firm Greylock Partners.

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