As LinkedIn continues to reign as the world’s largest social network for the wider working world, we are seeing the rise of alternatives that are besting and beating it in specific verticals. ResearchGate, a Berlin-based startup that provides a professional network for the scientific community to connect with each other to share and discuss research, is today announcing that it raised $52.6 in a Series D round of funding, bringing the total raised to over $100 million.
This latest tranche of money comes from an impressive list of strategic and financial investors that include the Wellcome Trust, Goldman Sachs Investment Partners, and Four Rivers Group, Ashton Kutcher, LVMH, Xavier Niel, Bill Gates, Benchmark, and Founders Fund, some of whom (like Gates, Benchmark and Founders Fund) were investors in previous rounds.
The startup has already been using the funds to build new features, such as Projects, to expand the functionality of its platform.
“Been using” is the operative phrase here: Ijad Madisch, ResearchGate’s co-founder and CEO, said in an interview that the funding was actually closed in November 2015 (Projects, which lets scientists upload and update research in progress, was actually launched in March 2016). The company has kept quiet about it until now, but since it will be filing its accounts for 2015 soon (a requirement under German law for all companies), it is now providing more details.
ResearchGate is nowhere near the scale of LinkedIn when it comes to user numbers. There are currently 12 million registered members, compared to 467 million currently on LinkedIn. (Membership is free on ResearchGate: the company instead makes revenues from things like recruitment and other advertising, both of which are being directed at exactly the audience that those advertisers want to reach.)