For tens of millions of smartphone users, Pinterest is the tool of choice for finding a new dinner recipe, hairstyle idea, or patio furniture set. Now it's also the latest startup to join the $10 billion valuation club.
Conducting a series H funding round, the San Francisco social-media company has raised $367 million at a valuation of $11 billion, according to financial disclosures made Monday. To date, Pinterest has raised more than $1 billion in capital, and it's reportedly still planning to take in another $200 million in this go-round.
The new price tag is more than double the one it fetched in its last funding round, which closed only 10 months ago. At the time, Pinterest had just introduced its first advertising product, called Promoted Pins, in a limited trial. Pinterest's valuation has more than quadrupled since February 2013.
Although it's often lumped in with Facebook and Twitter as a social-media service, Pinterest's executives, led by CEO and co-founder Ben Silbermann, have increasingly been characterizing it as a more visual and human-centric alternative to Google. Whereas Google is helpful at retrieving predetermined answers, Pinterest, they say, excels at a more open-ended process they call "discovery."
"Even the concept of discovery is a relatively new one to talk about in that way," Silbermann told me when I interviewed him last summer. "When we talk about it, it's: How do we show you things you're going to love even if you didn't know what you were looking for at the outset?"
With discovery and advertising already dialed in, Silbermann suggested a natural progression would be to complete the funnel by building out Pinterest's e-commerce capabilities.
"The next step will be: How do we make it really easy if you want to go out and do that, whether it's buy that ring or go out and take that trip."