It looks like more people are trying to help you find a job on Facebook.
BranchOut raised $6 million in A Series funding on Thursday, according to an SEC filing. The round was led by Accel Partners. Three months after launching this past July, BranchOut has accumulated 1,346 fans.
Using Facebook to help your job search isn't a new idea, by far. It is, however, an often-overlooked one. This is likely because things are largely informal. Connections through your alumni organization, advice from job search groups, and listings of openings, have all been available for some time. Of course, these sources can be scattered. The San Francisco-based BranchOut is looking to help you find work, by tapping into the power of your network. And apparently, someone is willing to pay them to do it.
BranchOut's Facebook application works in two different ways. When a user signs up for BranchOut, they are able to see the work history of all of their friends. They can also see information about people who are in their second degree of separation, also known as friends of friends. The site also has a job board, where you can see openings that your connections, or their companies, have posted. The only problem is, if no one in your network is posting leads, then you will not see any openings. Even if they exist on the system.
Right now, with the user base as small as it is, finding friends who are on the network, let alone open positions, is tricky.
Most job seekers would be better off with the more established site, like LinkedIn. Well, with one exception. If you have a vested interest in one specific company, BranchOut could become a valuable research tool. After finding people who work for your target company, getting informational interviews or insider insight is simply a matter of how persuasive you can be. It may also depend on how big your network is. Someone with 200 friends will have more opportunities then someone who has 10 friends.
There is a great deal of potential in this application. The value of networking to job searchers has been well proven. Once this app has some time to mature and grow its user base, it could become a solid tool for job searchers.
The application itself takes a decent amount of access permission when you sign up. Be ready for it. Not only do they want to mine your data, but they want it to send you emails and post to your wall. On the bright side you have to give the app permission to share your data with your friends. This is good news for anyone who is worried about their personal privacy online. Just be aware that if you do not share your data then people will not come to you with information. You will have to go to them.
The BranchOut team includes:
Rick Marini, the Founder, CEO. He was also the Founder and CEO of SuperFan, as well as being a co-founder at Tickle. He holds both a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of New Hampshire, and a MBA from Harvard University Graduate School of Business Administration. Rick currently serves on the Advisory Boards of Fwix, Friendster, Lumos Labs, Stipple, and FIGHTER.
Zack Onisko, the Director of Product, Design & Strategy. He has formerly worked at both SuperFan and Tickle. Zack is also an alumni of San Francisco State University.
Nate Smith, the Director of Engineering. Nate is a former Senior Engineer at Tickle. He holds a BS in Computer Science and Engineering from The University of California, Davis.
Ray Siu, the Director of Production. A former Web Developer at Tickle, Ray holds as an undergraduate degree from the University of San Francisco and has studied Multimedia and Web design at the Art Institute of San Francisco.
Rene Ravenel, the Senior Engineer. A former Senior Software Engineer at Tickle, he holds a B.S. in Computer Science from the State University of New York, at Buffalo.
Ted Metzger, the Senior Web Developer. Formerly of both Tickle, and Monster.com's boutique in-house ad agency TMPWorldwide. He holds an undergraduate degree from Georgia Tech.
Kai Fortney, the Marketing Coordinator & Community Manager. He holds a B.S. in Economics with minors in Criminal Justice and Psychology from the University of New Hampshire.
Accel Partners has offices in California, London, China and India. They have previously backed startups such as: Admob, Brightcove, ComScore, Etsy, Facebook, Foundry, Gameforge, Glam, Macromedia, Omneon, MetroPCS, Riverbed, RealNetworks, Trulia, and Veritas. The company and it's investment choices were featured in a Wall Street Journal posting on Wednesday.