Up-and-coming social networking site Pinterest has raised $100 million in a new round of financing, a deal that values the community digital scrapbook at $1.5 billion. Investing companies include existing shareholders Andreessen Horowitz, Bessemer Venture Partners, FirstMark Capital, and new investor Rakuten Inc, an online Japanese retailer. The money will help Pinterest expand into new markets, including Japan and other Asian countries served by Rakuten.
The sky-high valuation puts an exclamation point on Pinterest's stellar growth since the site was launched in the Fall of 2009. Just last month, marketing firm comScore estimates the site's traffic had risen to over 20,000,000 unique visitors monthly, making it the sixteenth most visited site on the web and fifth in social networking, just behind number four photo-sharing site Tumblr and third place has-been MySpace. (Another company, Experian, says Pinterest is the number three social networking site already.) If the site's rate of growth continues, it could easily find itself as the undisputed number three by the end of the year, positioning itself to threaten Twitter's perch at number two.
Considering that Facebook just bought Instagram for $1 billion earlier this year, and Rupert Murdoch's News Corp paid $580 million for MySpace in July 2005, it's hard not to look at a valuation of $1.5 billion and think, "whoa." It may not be Facebook IPO kind of money, after all — that site is worth $100 billion — but $1.5 billion isn't bad for a two-year-old site where you pin stuff.
[Image credit: borman818]
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