Success Story of the Go-to Destination for Idea Discovery

Company Profile is an initiative by Startup Talky to publish verified information on different startups and organizations. The content in this post has been approved by Pinterest.

Who doesn’t use a social network? Can anyone claim that they have no idea about social media? It is almost impossible in this generation. Because social media has crossed the stage of mere entertainment, it teaches people, offers them numerous ideas for growth, assists them in times of need, and creates a platform for them to make money.

The growth in the number of people using social media is reaching new heights every year. Reports show that 2.73 billion people were using social platforms five years ago. This number has almost doubled in 2022 to 4.59 billion. It is further predicted that, by 2027, these social media users will increase to almost 6 billion.

The age of wasting-time-on-social media has gone. They have evolved to the world’s needs and have become productively entertaining. Pinterest serves as one of the best examples of a prolific platform. It helps people share and develop ideas on anything and everything of their interest. Pinterest had created a global market and positioned itself firmly in a short span of 12 years since its inception in 2010.

An inspiring and interesting story of Pinterest lies ahead. Lets’s know more about the company’s financials, founders, growth, and challenges over the years.

Pinterest – Company Highlights

Company Name Pinterest
Headquarters San Francisco, California
Industry Internet, Information, Social Media Service
Founded 2010
Founders Ben Silbermann, Paul Sciarra, Evan Sharp
Key People Bill Ready (CEO)
Areas Served Worldwide
Revenue $2.58 billion (2021)

Pinterest – About and How it Works?
Pinterest – Founders and Team
Pinterest – Startup Story
Pinterest – Name, Logo, and Tagline
Pinterest – Business and Revenue Model
Pinterest – Challenges Faced
Pinterest – Funding and Investors
Pinterest – Acquisitions
Pinterest – Users
Pinterest – Growth
Pinterest – Competitors
Pinterest – Future Plans

Pinterest – About and How it Works?

Pinterest - Pin Sharing Platform
Pinterest – Pin Sharing Platform

Pinterest is a social media network that helps people to hunt for ideas and inspirations for their day-to-day activities like hobbies, work, and interests. It is termed the ‘catalogue of ideas’ by the founders, which uses images, videos, and GIFs to share and explore thoughts. You can create a pinboard with pictures, connect with people who share the same interests, like and comment on their opinions, etc.

Pinterest, often described as a Virtual Search Engine, was established in 2010 in San Francisco, California. As of 2022, the company has over 436 million Monthly Average Users (MAU). This number is showing consistent growth every year. Pinterest is valued at more than $12 billion and is the 14th largest social media network in the world in terms of MAU.

Pinterest, in simple terms, acts like a virtual pinboard that helps you bookmark or pin posts on your interests and important topics. This pinboard enables you to remember and retain the ideas and posts for later reference. For example, if you require travel ideas, you can create a travel pinboard and search for related topics. Add the posts and images of your liking to this board so you can try them later. You can also chat with other users and exchange thoughts you are good at.

Pinterest – Founders and Team

Pinterest has three founders, Ben Silbermann, Paul Sciarra, and Evan Sharp, who today occupy some of the top positions in the company. Below are some of the brief descriptions of the founders and the CEO of Pinterest:

Ben Silbermann

Ben Silbermann - Co-founder of Pinterest
Ben Silbermann – Co-founder of Pinterest

Ben Silbermann is the co-founder who laid the foundation for Pinterest. He was born in a doctor’s family on 14th July 1982. Ben is a graduate of political science from Yale University. He earlier served as the CEO of Pinterest since its inception in 2010. In June 2022, he stepped down from the position to become the company’s new Executive Chairman.

Evan Sharp

Evan Sharp - Co-founder of Pinterest
Evan Sharp – Co-founder of Pinterest

Evan Sharp is also the founder of Pinterest. Besides being a founder, Evan also worked as the Chief Designer and Creative Officer of Pinterest. He currently resides as a Board Member of the company. Evan was born and brought up in York, Pennsylvania and holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Chicago in History.

Paul Sciarra

Paul Sciarra - Co-founder of Pinterest
Paul Sciarra – Co-founder of Pinterest

Paul Sciarra is the third founder of Pinterest. He lent great support to Ben early in this platform’s development. Paul, however, left the company in 2012. He is a graduate of Yale University. Paul also serves as the founder of Cold Brew Labs, a social applications tool, and the present executive chairman of Joby Aviation.

Bill Ready

Bill Ready - CEO of Pinterest
Bill Ready – CEO of Pinterest

Bill Ready took up the position of Chief Executive Officer after Ben Silbermann stepped down from his position. He is a Master’s graduate in Business Administration from Harvard Business School. Bill possesses two decades of work experience in the field of management. He has served the top positions in PayPal, Google, Braintree, Venmo, ADP, Accel Partners, McKinsey & Company, and a few more.

Pinterest – Startup Story

What can the establishment of Pinterest be called? Accidental or destiny? Because its founder Ben Silbermann was meant to be a doctor. Everyone in his entire family is a doctor, and he believed he would be one too. But his interests in business and entrepreneurs pulled him toward Silicon Valley. The buzzing techies inspired him in the Bay area. As a result, Ben found a job at Google as a Product Specialist. Since he had his qualification in a non-engineering field, he couldn’t grow in the company as a developer.

Finally, with encouragement from his girlfriend, Ben started developing his tool. He joined hands with a colleague Paul Sciarra to conceive a tool called Tote. But it suffered from technical difficulties. Also, the founders faced huge struggles in finding investors and in the end, they found one. They used those funds to develop a new platform named Pinterest. The beta version was launched, and the founders consistently enhanced the tool to make it one of the largest in the world.


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Pinterest – Mission and Vision

Pinterest’s mission is to “bring everyone the inspiration to create a life they love.” The company doesn’t want its users to always stay online. It wants them to get inspired and move towards implementing those ideas. Pinterest aims to unite the people of this world through its platform and wants to encourage them to do what they love through its catalogue of ideas.

Pinterest – Name, Logo, and Tagline

Pinterest Logo
Pinterest Logo

The name Pinterest was proposed by Ben Silbermann’s girlfriend (now wife). This term combines ‘Pin’ and ‘Interest,’ meaning that the users can pin their areas of interest to the pinboard from the most favourite topics and pictures from this social networking platform.

The company’s tagline says, “When it comes to a great idea, you know it when you see it”.

Pinterest – Business and Revenue Model

Pinterest Ads
Pinterest Ads

Pinterest operates with a business model of supplying users with information, ideas, recipes, etc. It provides them with the option of pins and boards to store necessary data and explore later. This platform carries all the information and thoughts that one might need at any moment of their life. Not only Pinterest, but people using this social network can also make money through formal affiliations.

Pinterest’s revenue flows in through advertisements. The company generates revenue through the different types of ads it displays on its site. The ‘Promoted Pin’ model of the campaign was highly successful for the company in revenue generation.


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Pinterest – Challenges Faced

Pinterest faced several criticisms over the years. Since it is a photo-sharing platform, it often has to deal with the issue of copyright violations. To tackle this, Pinterest launched a notification system to report such acts. But, this became the centre of controversy when DMCA condemned the company’s action, saying that it seems the company is encouraging users to violate intellectual property rights. Other companies like Getty Images and iStock have also reported copyright violations against Pinterest.

The company paved the way for scammers. These people started using well-known brand names and advertised to offer free gift cards for users. They made the users believe in having clicked the official brand’s link but redirected them to an external site and gathered their personal data.

The Chinese government banned Pinterest without any intimation in March 2017. It was due to some political reasons and for promoting Chinese products. Even India temporarily banned Pinterest in 2016 due to copyright infringement and online piracy.

The employees of Pinterest raised their voices against the company regarding gender and racial discrimination. The company faced a lawsuit against this issue and fixed it by making settlements with employees and improving its work policy.


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Pinterest – Funding and Investors

As said earlier, Pinterest struggled with its early fundraising. But, that was not the case once it found its initial investor. Once the company started to grow, many investors came knocking on the doors of Pinterest to provide financial assistance. That way, Pinterest secured $1.5 billion through 26 funding rounds over the years. The company also launched its IPO in April 2019, where it raised roughly around $1.4 billion at a valuation of $12.7 billion. The following are some of the top and most recent funding rounds of Pinterest:

Date Funding Round Amount Name of the Investor
July 14, 2022 Post-IPO Equity Elliott Management
January 1, 2020 Post-IPO Equity Elliott Management
January 28, 2019 Secondary Market Light Street Capital
July 19, 2018 Secondary Market Founders Future
March 10, 2018 Secondary Market
October 17, 2017 Venture Round $20M Brandtech Ventures
September 18, 2017 Secondary Market SharesPost Investments, All Blue Capital
August 10, 2017 Secondary Market Manhattan Venture Partners
June 26, 2017 Secondary Market Biz Stone
June 6, 2017 Venture Round $150M Sinai Ventures

Pinterest – Acquisitions

Pinterest has made over 18 acquisitions and here is the list of its most recent acquisitions:

Date Name of the Company Amount
June 2, 2022 The Yes
December 6, 2021 VOCHI
March 9, 2017 Jelly
March 8, 2017 Jelly HQ
August 23, 2016 Instapaper
July 15, 2016 Math Camp
June 22, 2016 Tote
June 15 2016 Fleksy Inc.
May 3, 2016 URX
April 21, 2016 Curator & Co
October 2013 Hackermeter
March 2013 Livestar

Pinterest – Users

Pinterest, launched in March 2010, was the fastest site in history to reach 10 million unique monthly visitors and high user engagement metrics. It crossed the 10 million users mark in the year 2012. Soon, in 2015, the platform crossed the amazing mark of 100 million monthly active users. As of the second quarter of 2022, Pinterest had 433 million monthly active users.

Of these numbers, more than 76% of the users are women. Reports claim that only 16% of men and 8% of unspecified category marks the rest of Pinterest users worldwide.

Pinterest – Growth

Pinterest Annual Revenue Worldwide from 2016 to 2021
Pinterest Annual Revenue Worldwide from 2016 to 2021

After defeating the initial financial struggles, Pinterest started rolling out its platform in early 2010. The company managed to bring in around 10,000 users in the first year. The founder, Ben Silbermann, made every effort to increase the user count. In 2011, Pinterest launched the iPhone app, which resulted in more users utilizing this platform.

By the end of 2011, Pinterest became the 10th largest social media network with a weekly visitors count of 11 million. The company grew financially strong along with the growth of its customers. Due to the consistent backing from investors, Pinterest was valued at around $12.7 billion and raised $1.4 billion during its IPO. The growth of this social networking company caught the attention of various big market players. In fact, PayPal tried to acquire Pinterest but revoked its decision later.

Reaching such an enormous height within 12 years isn’t that easy. Pinterest today has around 436 million monthly average users and reported total revenue of over $2.58 billion in the 2021 fiscal year.


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Pinterest – Competitors

The following are some of the top competitors of Pinterest:

Pinterest – Future Plans

In its recent annual advertiser’s summit, Pinterest announced its plans to start a service closer to the eCommerce platform. This helps the users to shop for the advertised products and services directly from the Pinterest app or site. As the first step to this, the company has introduced API for Shopping and product tagging for Pins. Pinterest wanted to create an engaging and smooth shopping experience for merchants and in turn, for the users as well.

FAQs

What makes Pinterest successful?

Pinterest is a unique photo-sharing platform where users can curate personal pinboards with existing photos and photos uploaded by others.

How do I get people to see my Pinterest?

You will have to do the following things to get your Pins more views:

  • Pin relevant and trending topics
  • Upload 3-4 Pins related to the topic with different Title and Description
  • Do Image SEO by adding relevant keywords in the title and description.
  • Save Pins to the relevant board
  • Experiment different pins
  • Pins with relevant links

What kind of content works on Pinterest?

Mainly the following types of content work better on Pinterest:

  • Infographics
  • Guides
  • Products
  • Recipes
  • Quotes

What is the right size for the pins?

Pins in vertical mode work best. The best aspect ratio for the pins is 2:3 or 1:3:5 with a minimum of 600 pixels and 900 pixels wide.

What makes a good Pin?

You can use the following points to make visually attracting pins:

  • Optimal Size of the Image
  • High-Quality Image
  • Correct Logo Placement
  • Texts in Bold
  • Promoted Pins

How much it takes to grow on Pinterest?

Generally, it takes 5-6 months to grow on Pinterest with the help of consistent and strategic Pinterest marketing.