Middle-market dealmakers have been slow to warm up to general-purpose social networks, but in recent years, deal professionals have been drawn toward more specialized online communities catering to their needs. One of the more successful social networks aimed at middle-market dealmakers is Axial Networks Inc., a New York startup founded in 2010 and backed by venture capital firms, including Redpoint Ventures and First Round Capital. In August, Axial raised an $11 million Series B round of venture capital, led by Comcast Ventures. Billing its service as "a network of relationships, a marketplace of transactions," Axial boasts 17,000 members, including M&A advisers, investment bankers, private equity investors, lenders and family offices. The specialized social network partnered recently with virtual data-room provider Merrill Datasite, enabling M&A practitioners to move from deal sourcing and business development activities to deal workflow management. We turned to Sam Jacobs, Axial's senior vice president of sales and business development, to learn about today's best practices in social media for deal professionals. (See "12 Dealmakers You Should Follow on Twitter")

Why do many middle-market dealmakers shy away from social media?

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