Pinterest could be valued at $2.5bn with new funding round

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You know a social network is really kicking ass when its valuation is in the region of billions. Pinterest, the online scrapbooking social network, seems to be ready to raise some more money after three years of service, that will raise its value significantly.

According to a Wall Street Journal report, the company is getting serious about revenue and is looking for potential advertising systems.

“A lot of last year was keeping up with growth [and] the big change with touch-screen devices,” said founder and CEO Ben Silbermann to the Journal. This year, “we’re building foundations to monetize.”

Launched in 2010, the site (which allows users to “pin” items to a virtual scrapbook) has been working very hard at getting its business right In the last year its employee count grew from 20 people to 100 people and moved it offices from Palo Alto to a 58 000-square-foot warehouse-like space in San Francisco. Silberman means business.

These new improvements in the business have attracted the interest of investors with a fund-raising round that could rocket the company’s valuation to US$2.5-billion, according to sources close to the matter.

“Pinterest is in talks to raise a new round of financing at a US$2-billion to US$2.5-billion valuation”, said people familiar with the matter. No funding deal has closed, one of these people said. The company last raised US$100-million in a May 2012 financing led by Japanese ecommerce company Rakuten Inc, reports the Journal.

Not everyone agrees though:

“We think Pinterest will have to settle for, at best, a nominal ‘up round’ to save face at say US$1.6-billion to US$1.7-billion. Proof of revenue monetization needs to come soon for Pinterest,” Sam Hamadeh, CEO of PrivCo, a financial-data firm that tracks private companies told CNET. “To go after new funding at a US$2.5-billion valuation, [Pinterest] must immediately demonstrate a revenue model…”

Pinterest is growing in popularity, with more that 40-million visits to the site in December, up 9-million from the previous year. The company also launched a selection of mobile offering giving its users an on-the-go experience.

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