Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Confirmed: Pinterest Completes $200 Million Funding at $2.5 Billion Valuation

Pinterest, the popular social scrapbooking site, has completed a massive $200 million funding, which values the company at $2.5 billion, according to sources close to the situation.

There have been reports that the funding was coming, but now it is done, in a round led by Valiant Capital Management. Existing investors, including Andreessen Horowitz, Bessemer Venture Partners and FirstMark Capital also participated.

Update: Pinterest confirmed the funding and released this statement from CEO Ben Silbermann: “Our focus is on helping millions of people discover things they love and get inspiration to go do those things in their life. This investment gives us more resources to help realize that vision.”

Pinterest’s last round was in May of 2012, when it raised $100 million from Japanese e-commerce firm Rakuten.

It’s likely that the San Francisco-based Pinterest will use the money for further product development, as well as to accelerate international expansion, to further expand the scope of its impact and reach.

While it sounds too simple to be so valuable, consumers have flocked to the free site on which they “pin” photos of their interests and share them widely. Usage has exploded and has also become an increasingly key driver of traffic across the Web.

It now has close to 50 million unique monthly users worldwide and has quintupled its employees to 100 in the last year.

Such growth has become invaluable to many doing business across the Web.

As an article in The Wall Street Journal, which had also flagged funding efforts, recently noted:

Businesses said they also have gravitated to Pinterest because “pinned” content has a different life cycle than what is posted on Facebook and Twitter. Brian Madden. executive director of social media for Hearst Corp.’s Hearst Digital Media, said content that Hearst puts onto Pinterest can resurface months later when people continue to discover it. In contrast, posts on Facebook and Twitter tweets produce “a lot of initial interaction” before fading.

“The longevity of content [on Pinterest] is very valuable to us,” said Mr. Madden. He adds that in December, Hearst got more online traffic through Pinterest than Facebook and Twitter combined. Overall, 3% to 5% of traffic to Hearst’s various brands was through Pinterest that month, with about 1.5% from Facebook and 1.5% from Twitter, Hearst said.

I have a call into Pinterest and await confirmation about the funding.

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There’s a lot of attention and PR around Marissa, but their product lineup just kind of blows.

— Om Malik on Bloomberg TV, talking about Yahoo, the September issue of Vogue Magazine, and our overdependence on Google