Investments, News

Professional Social Networking to Receive a Boost; Viadeo raises $32 Million; India arm Apna Circle to receive part of the funds

The Viadeo Group, a social networking group for professionals has raised over $32 million in a fourth round of funding, from Government backed French Sovereign Wealth Fund and the Fonds Strategique d’Investissement (FSI), institutional shareholders IdInvest and Ventech, as well as new investors such as Jefferies, Allianz, and Middle Eastern Private Funds. The company had previously raised $5 million in 2006 with total investments of over $55 million since its launch in 2004.

The Viadeo Group owns and operates professional social networks around the world with a total membership base of over 45 million professionals and comprises of Viadeo, Apna Circle (India) and Tianji (China).

“We’re a global society where critical business connections span multiple languages, geographies and cultures. We have always been laser-focused on our ‘multi-local’ approach, which goes beyond simple translation and focuses on catering to, and understanding, the business and cultural needs of each market,” said Dan Serfaty, CEO, Viadeo.

The company will allocate more than one-thirds of the amount, over $10 million to Tianji, to grow its base from 10 million members to over 100 million over the coming years. Tianji was founded in 2005 by Derek Ling and is currently China’s largest professional social network. The company was acquired by Viadeo in 2007.

The company will also allocate a part of the funds towards growing Apna Circle’s base and capabilities in India. ApnaCircle was founded by Yogesh Bansal in December 2006 and Sabeer Bhatia joined the Board of Directors in August 2007. The company became part of the Viadeo Group in 2009.

Viadeo was founded by Dan Serfaty and Thierry Lunati in 2004 and has grown to over 400 employees spread over 12 global offices across Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia with over 45 million members. The company has recently opened its office in Casablanca, Morocco.

Jefferies acted as exclusive financial advisor to Viadeo for this transaction. Paul Hastings and De Gaulle Fleurance acted as legal advisors to Viadeo and the FSI respectively.

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