The enterprise social network that will do anything to avoid an IPO.
With the frenzy surrounding Facebook's impending initial public offering later this year, you'd think that every startup ultimately wants to do that IPO voodoo. Not so. In fact, it's not clear that Facebook even wants to go public. It's just that it has to many private shareholders now that the SEC is kind of forcing it to. San Francisco-based Yammer is a similar if not exactly quite as lucrative story. Yammer is a sort of Twitter for business — an "enterprise social network." And it just secured a new $85 million venture round. Which it's thinking of as a virtual IPO. The best kind, as it means you don't have to do the actual IPO.
Even better, the business is starting to boom. This is from Forbes:
A few years ago many companies were skeptical of enterprise social networking, now it’s become much more common. Now the industry is in a land grab phase, Sacks says. “Five to ten years from now every company will have an internal social network and maybe an external one as well,” he says. “Five years from now not having a social network in a company will be like not having email or phones.”
Presumably, that will be the time for the IPO. When Yammer has grown too big to avoid it. I've used Yammer and I like it — it brings Twitter into the business environment while leaving behind much of distracting wildness that Twitter endorses. Twitter is ultimately more productive than Facebook, in a getting-work-done-sense (this is why journalists like it), so creating an enterprise social network that borrows from Twitter is a smart move.
And now Yammer, with its new funding round and freedom to grow as its sees fits, is finding that out for itself.