Xing was founded as OpenBC GmbH (Open Business Club) by Lars Hinrichs. It was re-branded as Xing in 2006 as a support of its internationalization strategy.
And in December 2006 Xing had a successful IPO (Initial Public Offering at a stock exchange) as the first company of the “Web 2.0” category in the world.
Xing represents essentially the mapping of the well-established concepts of a business club into the Internet environment to create a social network for professionals. Lars Hinrichs himself is a widely networked person.
Lars Hinrichs always had a bent for technology and observed the Internet’s development from the beginning. And he proved how to learn from a sensational flop for a sensational success – Xing.
The firm openBC started as a “One-Man-Show”, in the dining room of his apartment. It was totally a virtual company. Everything that could be outcontracted was outcontracted, such as accounting, support, development, programming and design.
The case provides insights into successful entrepreneurship when the founder “studied exactly one day” and almost everything what he knows he “learned from other entrepreneurs.”
Xing’s successful development is reflected by his exit. By November 2009 Lars Hinrichs sold his stake in Xing via his firm LH Cinco Capital GmbH for €48 million.
Furthermore, as from a US point of view Xing is a “Teutonic version of LinkedIn” this case and the accompanying one (LinkedIn) reveals typical differences between the two professional social networks and sheds some light on the differences between entrepreneurship in Germany and the US.