Deals

7 Degrees raises $6.8M to find the path of least resistance for business connections

7 Degrees, which develops a business-partner recommendation service called PeopleMaps, announced today that it has raised $6.8 million in its second round of funding from Rho Ventures, vSpring Capital and Parkview Ventures.

PeopleMaps gives users a visual representation of what kind of connection they have with other potential business partners based on the people they know. The idea is to provide enterprise users with a way to get a warm introduction from someone they know to a potential recruit or business partner.

It’s similar to LinkedIn, but PeopleMaps calculates the ten “best” routes to a potential business partner. The routes are computed through a series of algorithms that include whether the two individuals are connected on Facebook and LinkedIn connections, as well as information from ZoomInfo, Thomson Reuters and other databases to determine a connection’s strength.

“Essentially it’s giving us complete bios on people so that we can know their work history, where they went to school, what nonprofits they work with, what investments they’ve made,” said Tim Sheehan, CEO of 7 Degrees. “It will automatically leverage not only the individual’s personal and professional relationships, but everyone in the firm’s personal and professional relationships.”

Connections are rated on a 100-point scale, both to an individual and to that person’s company. The connections are arrayed in a flowchart-style presentation that identifies potential connections within a certain group. All the data crunching is done on in-house databases because cloud servers wouldn’t be able to handle the load of analyzing around 5 million paths between individuals, Sheehan said.

But the main difference is that PeopleMaps is about 10 years ahead of the competition in the social graphs market because it acquired Cogito when social graphs were just emerging, Sheehan said. Companies like Ancestry.com, which helps develop a family tree through social graphs, and intelligence agencies are still running on Cogito’s original technology, he said. 7 Degrees no longer licenses out Cogito’s engine, Sheehan said.

The Cottonwood Heights, Utah-based company was founded in 2007 and has raised $8 million over two rounds of funding to date. The company currently employs 10 people, all of whom are working on PeopleMaps.