Today, LinkedIn announced its acquisition of Bright for an announced $120 million. Bright, the fastest growing online career destination and third largest overall job board, which generates approximately 72 million unique monthly visitors in a highly competitive, highly fragmented industry. This acquisition came only three years after the company's founding, and only a few months after it raised its final $19 million round of Series D funding.
"We decided to join LinkedIn because of what we lacked – the ability to apply this technology across the entire economy," said Bright founder Eduardo Vivas. "We share LinkedIn’s passion for connecting talent with opportunity at massive scale. And we agree that the old models for online recruiting are hopelessly broken."
Parker Boarille, VP of Product at LinkedIn, claims that the acquisition was shaped over a similar shared vision, echoing the altruistic sentiment behind "connecting talent with opportunity," but corporate messaging aside, Boarille alluded to what was really behind the acquisition.
"We’ve invested a lot of time and energy into developing products like “Jobs You May Be Interested In” and LinkedIn Recruiter that use data to match members with the right opportunities and employers with the right prospects at scale."
Back in December, I spoke with Eric Owski, VP of Strategy for Bright (well played, by the way), and was incredibly impressed by their underlying data science and algorithmic approach to talent matching. As I wrote in that post, their underlying technology, Bright Score, indicates, on a scale of 0-100, how closely a candidate’s resume matches a job description.
The result of an 18 month comprehensive study covering millions of job and resume pairing – and insight from real recruiting leaders to add qualitative data and context, utilizing a proprietary matching algorithm provides a powerful tool for candidate sourcing, screening, and self selection.
That the Bright Score will inevitably be a core part of the "Jobs You Might Like" feature for LinkedIn users and a capability that will be easily moved from resumes to profiles to pretty easily see which candidates work best, and this will be a key selling point to increasing their market share to employers while also making a move to put job boards out of business.
But as Owski freely admitted, Bright wasn't actually designed as anything more than an experiment - it wasn't founded as a recruiting company, but instead, a data science company, and recruiting was simply the challenge to which they decided to apply, tweak and refine their formula. The real play for LinkedIn - and implications for the entire HR tech industry - extend far beyond recruiting.
“We’ve designed something much larger than just a job destination,” Owski said in December. “Bright Score is capable of giving companies a lot of intelligence on their existing workforce, too. We’re interested in matching people with the right jobs, and we see helping companies identify internal talent for roles as being part of what our data science delivers. Brightscore will be our engine, but the possibilities will be endless.”
Look for a move from LinkedIn to move from recruiting destination to competing in the larger integrated talent management picture sometime in the next 12-18 months. In the meantime, the good news for competitors is that this acquisition clearly signals LinkedIn doesn't think resumes or job boards are dead, either.