Saturday, July 09, 2005

Working the Net

LinkedIn and other networking tools helping business

Paul Allen, managing partner of business incubator Infobase Ventures in Provo, Utah, likes to help entrepreneurs with advice on business plans and raising capital. But as a frequent lecturer at business schools and conferences, he recently found himself inundated with requests. So he made a new rule: If you're not a member of the LinkedIn network with a minimum of 10 connections and two endorsements on the site, don't even bother calling him. "The most important thing for an entrepreneur is not necessarily what they know, but who they know," says Allen.

Allen's prerequisite underscores the growing popularity--and scope--of online business networking tools such as Palo Alto, California-based LinkedIn Corp. These sites allow members to build networks of friends and associates, as well as gain warm introductions to investors and potential clients. "It's really automating and streamlining the historic word-of-mouth introduction process, which tends to be the best source of investment opportunities," says LinkedIn member Chip Hazard, managing general partner at Boston-based VC firm IDG Ventures.

More Than Money
Beyond just bringing entrepreneurs and investors together in a trusted context, these virtual communities are helping small businesses find potential customers, board members and other strategic business partners.
READ MORE in the news:

Who Knows Whom, and Who Knows What?
CIO Magazine, Australia - Jul 6, 2005

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