Amidst all the hubbub about the Facebook IPO last week, another social media site received a $100 million investment.
Pinterest, a California based company, is a social networking website that uses what the company calls virtual pinboards to allow users to share photos and links. Users can create their own “PinBoards” to share collections of items about any area of interest. The social networking part is that users can “follow” other users’ pinboards and make comments and offer suggestions. Pinboards can even be used to plan events or offer products for sale.
As the company describes it “Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes.” Its stated mission: “Our goal is to connect everyone in the world through the ‘things’ they find interesting. We think that a favorite book, toy, or recipe can reveal a common link between two people. With millions of new pins added every week, Pinterest is connecting people all over the world based on shared tastes and interests.”
Just before FaceBook’s IPO last week, a company called Rakuten (a Japanese e-commerce giant) announced that it had, with the participation of existing investors and a number of angel investors, put $100 million into Pinterest.
The purpose of the funding is to allow Pinterest to improve its service and expand globally. Rakuten is already in Japan and 17 other markets, and hopes to expand Pinterest into those markets. Rakuten management has stated that they believes their experience in making e-commerce a living, interactive process can be leveraged to commercialize Pinterest’s pinboards. Plus they see potential synergies between Pinterest and other Rakuten e-businesses.