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Commercial? Yes
Type of site Professional network service
Launched May 2004
Paris, France
Revenue €12-14 million (2008 projected)
Current status Active

Viadeo is a professional social network service that was begun in May 2004 by Dan Serfaty, a graduate of the French HEC School of Management in France, and Thierry Lunati. now functions in six languages. In 2007 it had annual turnover of approximately €10 million[1]. Since Viadeo started as a private business social network in France, localized versions have become available for several European countries, including the UK, Germany, Spain, Italy and Portugal.


Recent acquisitions

Viadeo raised €5 million in funding from investors, AGF Private Equity and Ventech in August 2007[2]. The extra cash was used used to promote the growth of Viadeo in Asia.

In 2007, Viadeo announced a strategic partnership with Tianji. Based in Beijing, Tianji is China’s largest business social network. The partnership has allowed the offer of campus social networking services between China and Europe.

Six months after purchasing Tianji, in July 2008 Viadeo acquired its Spanish competitor ICTnet[3]. ICTnet was launched in 1995 and is popular in South America.

At the beginning of 2009 Viadeo acquired Apna-Circle, which is one of the biggest Indian professional social networks services.[4]. Apna-Circle has 350,000 well-educated users in India.[4] Sabeer Bhatia, the founder of Apna-Circle, was a co-founder of Hotmail.

On October 13, 2009, Viadeo announced the purchase of the Canadian web 2.0 platform UNYK and of its 16 million members around the world, and mostly located in The USA and in Latin America.[citation needed]


At the beginning of 2009, out of Viadeo's 1,800,000 members in France 80 to 90% have at least five years of postgraduate education (Master's level or higher)[5] Dan Serfaty, co-founder, and chairman of Viadeo and also a member of the Viado HEC Alumni group said in a recent interview with the French Financial Daily Les Echos: "We can offer the official alumni groups put in place by the schools the same formal services that allow alumni to come together under the school name, get organized, and create a better sense of online unity than can be found on LinkedIn where a school's alumni are usually split up into many groups of differing sizes and with different names."

Cultural and language features

Viadeo has recently been featured in French Financial news[5] because of the creative destruction effect it is having on LinkedIn and on traditional French Business School (Grande Ecole) alumni networks.[6] Viadeo's founders both graduated from the system of the French big business and engineering schools, the Grandes écoles and their understanding of the alumni networks has given them an initial advantage.[5] Dan Serfaty, for example, is not only the co-founder of Viadeo but also a member of the prestigious HEC alumni network which has found a home on his property. However that advantage may be short lived.

Linkedin is attracting a growing number of highly-educated French professionals, including 12,000 from ESCP-EAP European School of Management, 12,000 from ESSEC, 20,000 from the very elite École Polytechnique engineering school, and 7,000 from the School of Mines--École nationale supérieure des mines de Paris. This is according to a search on LinkedIn that was done (in conjunction with the French National Employment Agency—ANPE using LinkedIn's own search engine in March 2008). That search also showed that more than 600,000 members of LinkedIn are French (about as third as many as Viadeo).[5]

That Viadeo is not the only network being joined by Grande Ecole graduates may mean that some French professionals are unwilling to stay even in close proximity with the traditional networks that denote elitist and isolationist mindsets. A recent book "Grandes Ecoles - la fin d'une exception française"[7] (which can be translated as "The Big French Business Schools: The End of a French Exception" by Thomas Lebègue and Emmanuelle Walter states: "Mediocre rankings in the international league tables, weak in research, the inadequacies of an ultra-elite system of student recruitment: these establishments now know that they must urgently reform." This wish to get away from a traditional French way of doing things, which still works for Viadeo to some extent, may explain why not all French graduates prefer to join it instead of LinkedIn.

The much larger American social networking companies are now seeking to provide services specific to European national cultures, such as localization. LinkedIn co-founder Konstantin Guericke was quoted as saying at the end of 2007 that LinkedIn needed to push forward aggressively with internationalization and localization in 2008 and that LinkedIn competed with XING the social network platform in Germany and Viadeo in France, both of which supported multiple languages.[8].

One of the problems for Viadeo's competitors is the perception by some French professionals that LinkedIn and Facebook are still not fully localized[5]. However other French professionals, based on the numbers given above, have joined LinkedIn's network and total localization does not seem to be a concern to them.

See also


  1. Viadeo et Tianji lancent l'Euro-China Link par. Retrieved on 2009-01-30.
  2. LinkedIn Competitor Viadeo Raises €5 Million. Retrieved on 2009-01-30.
  3. [fr] Viadeo acquiert le réseau social professionnel espagnol ICTnet. Retrieved on 2009-01-30.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Viadeo acquiert Apna-Circle - Toute l'actualité dans les Ressources Humaines. Retrieved on 2009-01-30.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Le match réseaux professionnels et association d'anciens. Les Retrieved on 2009-01-30.
  6. John Gaynard on Creativity and Innovation: Could LinkedIn and Viadeo Creatively Destroy the Traditional French Networks?. (2009-01-13). Retrieved on 2009-01-30.
  7. Calmann Lévy - livre Grandes Ecoles - La fin d'une exception française - auteur Thomas Lebègue. Retrieved on 2009-01-30.
  8. 2008: The Year of LinkedIn?. (2007-12-04). Retrieved on 2009-01-30.

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