The online scrapbooking site, Pinterest is now valued at $5 billion after raising $200 million in a fresh round of funding and, according to commentators, it is inching closer to joining the two-digit club. That brought its valuation to somewhere near that of cloud storage service Dropbox and alternative rental site Airbnb.
The fresh funding came from SV Angel, Bessemer, Venture Partners, Fidelity, Andreessen Horowitz, FirstMark Capital, and Valiant Capital Partners -- all existing investors. Six months back, Pinterest received $225 million in a funding round that gave it a $3.8 billion valuation. The company had till date raised $764 million through six rounds of funding.
Pinterest announced in September that it would start rolling out advertising into its platform through "promoted pins." Like sponsored tweets on the micro-blogging site Twitter, the posts are paid for by advertisers and flagged as such. The company has pledged to keep the promotions tasteful, transparent, and relevant so as not to shoo away users.
The site's sharing metrics are amazing, registering 58 per cent growth in 2013 -- faster than Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn - as per social data platform ShareThis. Pinterest leaves email behind as the popular sharing platform overall, accounting for 48 per cent of all sharing on tablets.
According to commentators, the fact that Pinterest users had stuck with the network, and were increasing their usage over time was one big plus in its favour.
The basic idea of Pinterest was that users uploaded pictures, or "pins," to their boards, and could re-pin the photos of other users. Every pin linked to a web site.
According to market research company RJ Metrics, the top categories that people were pinning were food and drink, DIY and crafts, and home decor. The site also recently released a feature called Place Pins which could be used by users to plan and track their vacations, and according to the company travel was one of its fastest growing categories.
As of April, over 70 million Pinterest users had uploaded more than 30 billion pins and created 750 million boards and that 30 billion marked a near 50 per cent increase from only six months before.
Although there were male users of the site, women formed the overwhelming majority of users.
That was fine for the site as nearly 85 per cent of consumer purchasing decisions were made by women.
One of the major strengths of the site was that it was addictive, and once it got someone signed up they were likely to get hooked for good. According to RJ Metric data, 84 per cent of women using Pinterest were still pinning in their fourth year.