Pinterest raises US$100m in funding round that values it at US$1.5bn

17 May 2012

Fast-growing social network Pinterest has received a US$100m investment in a round led by Japan’s biggest e-commerce site Rakuten that values the company at US$1.5bn.

The round includes follow-on investment from existing investors Andreessen Horowitz, Bessemer Venture Partners, and FirstMark Capital, as well as a number of angel investors.

In a statement, Rakuten said the funding will allow Pinterest to continue improving its service and expanding its community globally.

“While some may see e-commerce as a straightforward vending machine-like experience, we believe it is a living process where both retailers and consumers can communicate, discover, and curate to make the experience more entertaining,” Hiroshi Mikitani, CEO of Rakuten, explained.

“We see tremendous synergies between Pinterest’s vision and Rakuten’s model for e-commerce. Rakuten looks forward to introducing Pinterest to the Japanese market, as well as other markets around the world.”

The investment also marks the start of a strategic partnership between Rakuten and Pinterest to help expand in Japan and into Rakuten’s 17 other global markets.

Discover the things you love

Ben Silbermann, co-founder and CEO of Pinterest, said: “Our goal is to help people discover things they love, by connecting people through their shared interests. Bringing Rakuten on board gives us an amazing opportunity to move a step closer to this goal.”

Silbermann founded Pinterest in March 2010 as a way to connect everyone in the world through the things they find interesting.

Earlier this year, comScore reported that with 11.7m users, Pinterest was the fastest site in history to break through the 10m unique visitor mark.

Most of the site’s users are female – with 97pc of the site’s Facebook Likes being made by women.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years