German Business Network XING takes over Honeypot

Yesterday, the press release appeared, and frankly, I had thought for 2 seconds, if it was perhaps an April Fool joke: XING is doing its largest company takeover so far and buys the Berlin tech recruiting startup Honeypot for 22 million euros. If defined high goals are achieved, the acquisition amount can increase to up to 57 million euros.

With the acquisition, the press release reveals, XING sets another “milestone in the company’s vision of making the future of the workplace a better, more humane one – with products that help people to find jobs, which are a fit for their life. ”

This fits well with the pursued corporate strategy, in which XING sees itself as a player around New Work. Hence the planned renaming of XING SE in “New Work SE” from this June. All company activities are to be bundled on New Work.

In today’s post I will

– briefly talk about the past XING acquisitions
– outline who Honeypot is, how the platform works
– formulate 2-3 questions that are open for me
– briefly point out the HR Hackathon

The history of XING acquisitions

In the beginning, XING called itself “OpenBC” when the network started in 2003. In 2006, OpenBC became XING and went public.

It’s still listed there, and yesterday the price rose sharply – possibly a reaction to the takeover? Today, the course is a little weaker again.

The chronological list of companies acquired by XING misses some providers, e.g. SocialMedian by Jobster Founder Jason Goldberg in 2008. Or also in 2014. These services still exist, with SocialMedian running as XING News for quite some time.

–        In 2010, the ticketing service amiando was taken over and integrated into the XING Events platform.

–        In 2012, the purchase of the Austrian employer rating platform kununu was the next

–        In 2015, XING acquired the German job search engine for EUR 6.3 million and since then has been aggregating jobs from           the network

–        In 2016, the purchase of Buddybroker AG follows with its employee referral program eqipia

–        In 2017, the cloud-based candidate management system prescreen (formerly MercuryPuzzle), which is currently being continued as a              separate tool

–        and the international network for Expatriates Internations

And now Honeypot.

What is Honeypot and how does this “reverse job marketplace” work?

Honeypot was launched in Berlin in 2015 and was referred to in the media as “Berlin’s”.

Honeypot as well as (which was able to get much more financing, with Hired being from the US, where there are simply higher rounds of financing) are tech recruiting platforms with the “reverse” model: developers do not compete for job vacancies, but employers.

Incidentally, platforms such as the 4Scotty, also from Berlin, or the French (which has been represented in the German market since the takeover of Ivo Betke’s Webcrowd at the beginning of 2016) are following the same reverse model.

Some use intelligent and learning algorithms to evaluate developers’ coding skills, others use “manual” processes to pre-select candidates. The automization of these processes makes these platforms scalable and thus interesting for investors and buyers.

According to the announcement, Honeypot currently has 100,000 tech profiles, 50 employees, 1,500 corporate clients and is particularly well-known and active in Germany and the Netherlands.

How does Honeypot fit in with XING or New Work SE?

As I mentioned earlier, my first reaction to the XING purchase announcement was that I could not quite believe it.


Of course, the news emphasize that it is a “natural fit” for both sides: The “social recruiting” character of the Honeypot platform (companies apply to candidates, i.e. sourcing or talent acquisition) fits in well with a business network, which has in the DACH region a successful e-recruiting product. The e-recruiting segment has grown as per recent annual reports and has achieved growth of 40 percent according to the latest 2018 annual report.

The Honeypot founders are hoping this deal will enable them to expand their international activities as part of XING.

There are two questions from my side:

–        How will developers react if XING Recruiters contact them in the future? Will the inquiries over the platform be written by the sourcer, recruiter, or talent acquisition staff so that the developers find themselves in it, feel attracted to the business, and won´t be overflooded with inquiries at the same time?

–        XING is mainly active in the DACH region, the membership numbers of the international expatriate Netzwerk Internations are very manageable – how should a far-reaching international expansion take place in spite of this background?

It also remains to see how XING will position itself as New Work SE in the future. XING CEO Thomas Vollmoeller speaks about this in the press release:

With the takeover our product range grows by another real New Work provider. Honeypot focuses on the candidates and allows them to find the job that suits their individual preferences.

Is this New Work?

Would not all job portals be New Work providers?

What do you think?


HR Hackathon 

Maybe you want to try something new for your tech recruiting, working with tech talents in an agile, self-organized team?
You can do that, for example, at the next HR Hackathon. Although this is not a recruiting event, but for a first “contact point” very well suited.

In addition to many other benefits.


Author of the article: Eva Zils

Eva is three-lingual HR blogger since 2007. She writes about trends in international online recruitment, HR Tech & Startups, Job portals, and Mindfulness.

The original article written in German.

Credits to Oscar Mager from Mager Photography for the title photo.

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