OpenTable is valued based on the platform that it is growing and the future profits that it will garner from that platform.
The platform is all the restaurants that sign up for the service. Those restaurants pay a set-up fee and an annual fee. The more that sign up, the more profits that flow to the bottom line.
OpenTable currently has 20,000 restaurants signed up. The company is doing about $130 million in annual revenues.
For LinkedIn, the company doesn't have restaurants; it has corporate clients -- headhunters and large companies that constantly need to hire people -- who pay an annual subscription fee.
At the moment, LinkedIn has about 3,900 of these clients. They are going to do about $400 million to 500 million in revenue this year.
Although I've criticized LinkedIn for lacking profitability and having bloated up its sales, product and general and administration costs in the past 12 months, the one area where the business has seen enormous growth is in corporate clients, making up 43% of its current revenue (up from 23% a few years ago). This is great revenue for LinkedIn -- much better than ads on its site and premium subscriptions to individual users to see who looked at their profiles in the last five days.
The folks buying up LinkedIn today think that the company will grow this significantly in the years ahead. Lots of companies out there need to hire folks.
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