Reid Hoffman, born August 5, 1967, is an American entrepreneur, venture capitalist and author. Hoffman is best known as the co-founder of LinkedIn, a social network used primarily for business connections and job searching.
Hoffman was born in Stanford, California, the son of Deanna Ruth Rutter and William Parker Hoffman, Jr. and grew up in Berkeley, California. He attended high school at The Putney School, where he farmed maple syrup, drove oxen and studied epistemology. He graduated from Stanford University in 1990 with a BS in Symbolic Systems and Cognitive Science. He went on to earn an MA in philosophy from Oxford University in 1993.
Hoffman joined Apple Computer in 1994 and later worked at Fujitsu before co-founding his first company, SocialNet.com in 1997. It focused on online dating and matching up people with similar interests, like golfers who were looking for partners in their neighborhood. It was a social network several years before social networking would become a trend.
While at SocialNet, Hoffman was a member of the board of directors at the founding of PayPal. In January 2000 he left SocialNet and joined PayPal full-time as the company’s COO. He was responsible for all external relationships for PayPal, including payments infrastructure, business development, government, and legal. At the time of PayPal’s acquisition by eBay for $1.5B (US) in 2002, he was executive vice president of PayPal.
Hoffman co-founded LinkedIn in December 2002 with two former colleagues from SocialNet, a former college classmate and a former colleague from his time at Fujitsu. LinkedIn launched on May 5, 2003 as one of the first business-oriented online social networks. LinkedIn is, far and away, the most advantageous social networking tool available to job seekers and business professionals today.
In 2012, Hoffman received an Honorary Doctor of Laws from Babson.
Image Caption: Reid Hoffman speaking at a conference. Credit: Joi Ito/Wikipedia (CC BY 2.0)