Hoffman was born in Stanford, California, but grew up in Berkeley, California. Hoffman's first company was SocialNet.com, an online dating service.
While at SocialNet, Hoffman was a member of the board of directors at the founding of PayPal, an electronic money transmission service, and later joined the firm as a full-time employee.
Hoffman co-founded LinkedIn in December 2002, where he's currently working as the Executive Chairman.
After the PayPal sale to eBay, Hoffman became one of Silicon Valley's most prolific and successful angel investors. He made 80 angel investments in technology companies, many of them becoming successful. In 2010 Hoffman joined Greylock Partners and runs their $20 million Discovery Fund.