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2016 IPO Prospects: Glassdoor Gearing up to go Public

Posted on Friday, Jul 15th 2016

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Referring to online reviews is no longer restricted to restaurant booking, hairstylists, or your neighborhood dog walker. More and more people are using job review sites like Glassdoor.com to review their next new job. Little wonder then that the increasing traffic has helped drive valuations upwards as the company gets ready to go public.

Glassdoor’s Offerings

Sausalito-based Glassdoor was founded by Expedia veterans Robert Hohman, Tim Besse, and Zillow co-founder Richard Barton. The company was founded to help people get access to anonymous reviews about potential employers and insights into job interview questions. But it has graduated to more than that. It now allows people to search for jobs and to establish a professional network. The site has more than 30 million users globally, accessing over 10 million reviews for more than 540,000 companies.

Glassdoor operates on a freemium model. Individual users can access the site for free to read and post reviews on companies and even search for jobs. Employers have the option of selecting a paid-for enhanced option that includes features such as access to brand awareness and analytic tools, recruitment engine, the ability to respond to reviews, and even advertise.

Glassdoor’s Financials

Glassdoor may not primarily be a job search engine, but job search is a big part of its offering. And online job search industry is seeing a big upheaval. Recently, Microsoft announced the $26.2 billion acquisition of job search and professional networking site LinkedIn. Another job search site Simply Hired recently shut down after it was reportedly acquired by its parent Indeed.

Meanwhile, in its reviews section, Glassdoor is also facing several issues of user discontent. Since the company does not validate any user information, it is easier for people to fake reviews. The only cleaning that its team of content reviewers does is that of removing malicious and obscene language from reviews. Its paying customers feel that they should be able to remove untrue content based on their premium status. But Glassdoor does not allow customers to do that. Good stance, as it would take away all authenticity from the service.

But despite the worries, Glassdoor’s valuations do not appear to be significantly hurt. It is privately held and does not disclose its financials. It has raised $201 million from venture investors so far including T. Rowe Price, Google Capital, Tiger Global Management, DAG Ventures, Battery Ventures, Sutter Hill Ventures, and Benchmark. Its last round of funding was held last month when it raised $40 million from T. Rowe Price at a valuation of $1 billion. Prior to this round, Glassdoor had raised $70 million from Google Capital and Tiger Global Management at a similar valuation.

Glassdoor claims that it didn’t really need the money, as unlike other companies, it is balancing between growth and profitability. It was attracted by the ability to add T. Rowe Price to its investor list. Some believe that the latest round was a pre-cursor to Glassdoor’s IPO.

Photo credit: David Wall/Flickr.com.

This segment is a part in the series : 2016 IPO Prospects


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