Pinning has become a popular hobby among the 12 million users, mostly women, who go to Pinterest for fashion, cooking, and home decorating ideas. And now it looks like investors are also looking to pin the site to their portfolios.
Pinterest secured $10 million in Series A funding from Bessemer in the spring of 2011, making the company worth an estimated $40 million. Then in October, the company raised an additional $27 million in a round of funding led by Andreessen Horowitz for a total of $37.5 million in capital, which raised its value to estimated $200 million. But experts say that this figure is conservative.
“Pinterest’s user base has nearly tripled since [its last funding round], bringing the valuation now, we estimate, closer to $400 million in a new venture financing,” said Sam Hamadeh, CEO of the private financial data company PrivCo in an interview with VentureBeat. Pinterest attracts 12 million unique visitors every month, and according to the ranking service Alexa, is now the 16th most-visited website in America and the 50th most popular in the world.
But Pinterest CEO and co-founder Ben Silbermann hasn’t busted out the monocle and top hat just yet. The former product specialist at Google told attendees at a recent Startup Grind gathering in Palo Alto, CA that he hadn’t even hired a publicist to handle the constant inquiries from the press.
The 30-person team in Palo Alto is still working through its Beta phase, which includes an early business model. Right now the company’s main source of revenue is an affiliate program with a third-party service called Skimlinks that tracks the purchases that were referred to an online store through Pinterest. Brands like Gap, Whole Foods and CBS have also marketed on the site. There is currently no public data on how much income this generates for the company.
But PrivCo believes that Pinterest could easily be acquired – or at least courted – by Facebook and other larger networks. For this reason, said Hamadeh, “An additional 25 percent ‘control premium‘ to acquire the entire company puts us at about $500 million today in an acquisition.”
Image by Gunnar Pippel via Shutterstock.