After watching LinkedIn’s stock climb to impressive heights following its IPO today, not to mention all the subsequent talk that we’re in a new bubble that will eventually pop, you might think that the executives at professional networking company Viadeo are regretting their recent decision to postpone their own IPO. But Viadeo chief executive Dan Serfaty told me today that he’s feeling just fine.
“I really think we need to stay focused on growth,” Serfaty said. Going public, on the other hand, would mean the company would have to spend more time thinking about profitability and worrying about public shareholders.
As for his long-term plans, Serfaty said he would like to go public eventually, just not for the next 12 to 18 months. And no, he’s not worried that he may miss his window. He said that he doesn’t think there’s a bubble, and even if the public market’s enthusiasm for Web 2.0 companies cools eventually, it won’t be for a while. Specifically, he argued that things will stay hot for at least six months to a year after Facebook’s IPO (which will probably happen in the next couple of years).
So what is Viadeo, anyway? Well, it’s a professional networking site with 35 million registered users, that says it’s either bigger than or neck-and-neck with LinkedIn in countries like China and Brazil. You probably haven’t heard of it because it doesn’t have a presence in the United States — something that Serfaty said he doesn’t have plans to change soon, though he is tempted to try to make headway here by acquiring a company. To that end, Serfaty said he is thinking about raising another round of private capital. Viadeo is cash-flow positive, but “money is cheap right now”, so it may make sense to raise some money and do some extra spending.