Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Explaining What It’s Going to Do With All That Dough, Pinterest Unveils Stats on Strong Mobile and International Usage

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Pinterest confirmed an earlier report by AllThingsD that it had raised $225 million more from investors at a valuation of $3.8 billion.

This Series E round will bring the total funding to $564 million for the San Francisco social scrapbooking startup since it launched in 2010.

Yes, you may say it out loud: Yipes!

In a statement, co-founder and CEO Ben Silbermann said: “We hope to be a service that everyone uses to inspire their future, whether that’s dinner tomorrow night, a vacation next summer, or a dream house someday. This new investment enables us to pursue that goal even more aggressively.”

I’d say so — now Pinterest can afford the really big guns.

But to perhaps help assuage the worry — more like: “Good god, VCs have lost their marbles again!!!” — that Silicon Valley is in a bubble with this latest massive investment, especially given Pinterest’s lack of revenue, the company also released some new stats about its usage growth and what it plans to use the money for.

Such as:

Pinterest will use the additional capital for corporate purposes including:

International expansion that builds on 125% international growth since the beginning of the year. Pinterest recently launched in UK, France and Italy and plans to launch in 10 more countries before the end of the year.

Investment in the core Pinterest service, especially mobile which has grown 50% since the beginning of the year to become more than three-fourths of all usage (for comparison, LinkedIn just announced 38%).

Continued development of monetization, which first began testing earlier this month, into a global program.

Capital investments in technical infrastructure to make the service faster, more reliable and more efficient.

Strategic acquisitions of both talent and technology.

Well, alrighty then!

In fact, some of this is already happening. Pinterest recently said it hired country managers — its first global employees — in France (where it launched its first localized edition in June) and England. Pinterest had also indicated interest in Japan, when it raised $100 million from Rakuten in May of 2012. It also expanded to Italy, as it noted.

Pinterest also just did a deal, unpaid, to be preinstalled on Google Android phones distributed by Telefónica’s various carrier brands in Latin America and Europe.

Pinterest has seen huge growth as consumers have flocked to the free site on which they “pin” photos of their interests and share them widely. Usage has exploded since it was founded several years ago and has also become an increasingly key driver of traffic across the Web to other sites.

While comScore showed Pinterest had 24.9 million unique monthly users in September, that is only in the United States and is desktop only. As AllThingsD previously reported, in March alone, after mobile and international is added, it had close to 50 million unique monthly users worldwide.

Growth is the ticket to Pinterest’s funding, since it hasn’t had the opportunity to have slowing revenue or disappoint investors with monetization troubles yet, because it has yet to even try to make any money. In fact, the company started its first test of advertising, called “promoted pins” that appear in search results and category feeds, just a few weeks ago.

But that’s an unpaid trial, according to the extensive disclosure post personally penned by Silbermann that tried to ease users into the idea of advertisers having any place at all on the site.

Still, as with Facebook’s Instagram, marketers are interested in finding new ways of reaching consumers in innovative ways, especially over mobile devices.

Pinterest, essentially, is building the ultimate personalized catalog of the digital age.

At least, that’s the big bet here.


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik