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Pinterest chooses Japan's Rakuten to lead funding, hoping to expand global reach

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Social network Pinterest has just completed a $100 million round of funding led by Japanese e-commerce site Rakuten; the company is now valued at $1.5 billion.

pinterest iphone app 1024
pinterest iphone app 1024

Fast-growing social network Pinterest has just completed a $100 million round of funding, but its lead investor was somewhat unusual: Japanese e-commerce site Rakuten will reportedly be investing over $50 million in the company. According to one source, Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann spoke to several large Asian companies, eventually going with Rakuten because "He just really liked them." According to another, though, it's indicative of a shift away from American tech juggernauts. " "This is another example of how not all ideas are going to flow West to East," the source told Business Insider. "You don't need to bow at the altar of an Amazon or Google."

Silbermann was also allegedly concerned with building a global reach for Pinterest. Along with investment, Rakuten has formed a partnership with Pinterest and is apparently planning to integrate the two services to some extent. If this happens, it could mark the start of a push to commercialize Pinterest, which is now valued at $1.5 billion but has relatively little revenue.