"Our focus is on helping millions of people discover things they love," Pinterest Chief Executive Officer Ben Silbermann said in a statement. "This investment gives us more resources to help realize that vision."
The online image sharing and social networking service saw enormous growth over the past year, jumping to 48 million monthly visitors last December compared to just 9 million in the previous year, according to data provided by comScore (NASDAQ:SCOR). In a statement confirming the new valuation, which was first reported by AllThingsD, Pinterest said it plans to use the funding for expanding its personnel and international user base by focusing on “strategic acquisitions of both talent and technology.”
Launched in March 2010, Pinterest made its first acquisition last month when it purchased the recipe site Punchfork. The company’s last round of fundraising took place in May 2012 and was led by Japanese e-commerce company Rakuten (PINK:RKUNF). That fundraising round brought in $100 million, putting Pinterest at a $1.5 billion valuation with $140 of total capital raised. The company has now raised approximately $337 million in financing.
Pinterest’s commercial and cultural expansion follows in the footsteps of other prominent Internet businesses such as Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN) and Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA), all of which received substantial investment through private fundraising before making initial public offerings.
Given the financial backlash against these companies -- all three still remain below the initial market values set by their IPOs -- Pinterest, however, might avoid rushing to market. Even Twitter, its fellow rising star of social media that’s already valued at $11 billion, has only offered the smallest of hints about its plans for an IPO. And as Facebook has struggled to enhance its own e-commerce offerings by even offering Pinterest-like features, a social network still in its startup stage of development has the advantage of experimenting with different monetization tactics and business strategies before facing all the pressures of a public company. Seeing the misfires of the past generation of Internet firms, these companies are realizing the benefit of taking their sweet time.