With its latest $367 million of funding in the bag, the image-sharing startup Pinterest is now valued at $11 billion. This makes Pinterest one of the most highly valued startups in the world; as of this round, only five private, venture-backed companies in the world are valued more highly than Pinterest, and Indian online retailer Flipkart is valued at the same amount. The latest round more than doubles Pinterest's last valuation of $5 billion.
And the firm isn't done yet, as it is on track to raise as much as another $211 million before the round closes out in a few weeks. According to the startup, new investors have climbed aboard the Pinterest train during this round, though they declined to name who they are. Previous investors include venture-capital firms Bessemer Venture Partners and Andreessen Horowitz, hedge fund Valiant Capital Partners and Japanese e-commerce firm Rakuten Inc.; the company has already raised $764 million.
Though the business started with a focus on allowing users to save images, Pinterest is angling to become the search engine for discovery, or at least the place to go to when users are looking for new ideas.
It began selling advertising on the platform in January of this year via the promoted pin. It has also said that it plans to focus on building out its advertising platform in 2015 - and in recent months it has gone ahead with new ad-targeting capabilities and pushed ad testing elsewhere on the service.
“They have a lot of things going for them,” said Matt Britton, CEO of digital marketing agency MRY. “Pinterest’s users are the CFO and CMO of the household, moms. ...They can deliver ads to these moms in a way that Facebook and Twitter can’t.”
The company says it aims to use the funds for international expansion. The site's U.S. visitors reached an all-time high of 75.8 million in January, according to comScore; Pinterest does not release figures.